Rappahannock County Highpoint Trip Report

The Pinnacle (3,730 ft)

Date: August 21, 2003
Author: Gene Daniell

Start at Jewell Hollow Overlook near milepost 35 on Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. Pick up the AT, which runs along the north edge (just below) the overlook clearing. The AT climbs moderately east-southeast for some distance, then swings north and passes to the right of a 15-foot rock pinnacle which is (I hope) a bit lower than the summit. Soon it passes somewhat to the right of the flat, rather briery west summit (3,730 feet), swings to the east-northeast, passes a good outlook to the north, traverses a shallow saddle, and runs along the south edge of the east summit (3,720+ feet) ridge crest. The east summit is a narrow rough rocky ridge with many "teeth" of approximately equal elevation that can be easily ascended from the AT. I climbed several of these teeth, which have good views. From them, the west summit appears to be higher but of course this impression is aided by the somewhat taller trees that grow on the west summit. The east summit ridge is the type of formation which is particularly poorly rendered by a topo map with 40-foot contours, so it is hard to be sure but I think a high-point-bagger's best bet is to brave the briars (definitely not pleasant, but by no means hallacious) on the west summit and visit the several boulders that appear to be potential highest points.

Both John Garner and Roy Wallen seem to be voting for the east summit as the high point but I can't agree, though it would take quite a bit of effort with appropriate tools to be sure and there is that problem with the trees that prevent you from seeing the actual ground of the west peak from the east peak. On the other hand, if you believe that the area at or above 3,720 feet on the east summit is as large as what is shown on the map, then it's quite possible that the summit rocks rise more than 10 feet above the 3,720 foot level. I would recommend that COHP-baggers visit and explore both areas.