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GaliWalker
Have camera will use



Joined: 10 Dec 2007
Posts: 4098 | TRs
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GaliWalker
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Have camera will use
PostSun Mar 03, 2019 8:15 am 
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Icebound (Virginia / West Virginia border, March 2, 2019)
Big Schloss and Tibbet Knob

Straddling the Virginia / West Virginia border are two of the nicer viewpoints in the mid-Atlantic: Big Schloss and Tibbet Knob. Even though I'd been up both perches in the past, it had been a while and I wanted to do photography more than I wanted to push myself on a challenging hike. I left the house at 2:30am, but the drive took me longer than expected due to some snowy roads, so I only reached the parking lot around 6:50am. The same parking lot serviced both hikes: Big Schloss to the north, and Tibbet Knob to the south. I decided to tackle Big Schloss first.

Big Schloss
4.2mi, 1000ft elevation gain, 3.75hrs

The night before my trip, an ice storm had hit the area. The entire forest glittered, with every tree and every bush sheathed in a stifling coat of ice. Tree branches creaked and groaned under the weight. (I had been careful to park my car away from the edge, just in case a branch snapped off and fell on it.) My boots made whump whump noises as I crunched my way up the crusty trail.

I ascended up the flanks of Mill Mountain. About halfway up I put on my microspikes for better traction. As I gained the ridge I was enchanted by the conditions on display; it was pure winter wonderland with the icy trees and a swirling fog, airbrushed a delicate pink-blue by the morning sun.

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4- GaliWalker in wonderland
4- GaliWalker in wonderland

I picked my way past the drooping trees, along the ridge, until the turnoff for the Big Schloss vista. A quarter mile hike deposited me at the perch. Words cannot do justice to how beautiful it was up there, so I'll let the pictures do the talking.

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9- That's ice on the trees, not snow
9- That's ice on the trees, not snow
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I spent more than an hour up top, before reluctantly heading back down. In this time the temperature had risen above freezing and entire forest was shaking itself free off its blanket of ice. Chunks of ice began to crash down all around me, so I kept my rain jacket on and its hood up for protection. Thankfully I was able to make my way down safely.

Tibbet Knob
3.2mi. 1000ft elevation gain, 2.5hrs

I made my way up the trail in a hail of ice. No, the hail did not originate from the sky, but was raining down from the trees, as the rising temperature released its hold on every branch, every berry and every leaf.

15- Hail of ice
15- Hail of ice
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Just below the summit, two short rock scrambles have to be tackled, which were spicier than normal, due to a thick carpet of ice chunks that lay on the rocks. The ice was akin to ball bearings, which I had to kick out of the way before each step.

The view from Tibbet Knob's summit was great. Unfortunately, a cold wind had picked up and my hands were freezing, since my gloves had got wet from the scrambles, so I didn't linger for long.

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'Gali'Walker => 'Mountain-pass' walker
bobbi: "...don't you ever forget your camera!"
Photography: https://www.flickr.com/photos/shahiddurrani/albums
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monorail
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PostMon Mar 04, 2019 3:06 pm 
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Amazing photos of an amazing place.

As it happens, this is the exact location where my quasi-religious reverence for mountains began (Big Schloss, Tibbet's Knob, and some smaller less-visited outcrops along Great North Mountain). I love the mountains of the northwest, but I still feel there's something very special about that area---   a presence that I've never encountered anywhere else. Anyway, I really appreciate your trip reports from that region.
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GaliWalker
Have camera will use



Joined: 10 Dec 2007
Posts: 4098 | TRs
Location: Pittsburgh
GaliWalker
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Have camera will use
PostMon Mar 04, 2019 5:45 pm 
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monorail wrote:
Amazing photos of an amazing place.

In the most amazing conditions imaginable for it. I feel extremely fortunate to have experienced them. Going up I was really worried that I would never get above the fog, and that there would be no views. It ended up being perfect. My favorite winter trip for a couple of years.

Big Schloss is a great viewpoint. Itís my second favorite one in the region, just behind North Fork Mountainís Chimney Top, in West Virginia.

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'Gali'Walker => 'Mountain-pass' walker
bobbi: "...don't you ever forget your camera!"
Photography: https://www.flickr.com/photos/shahiddurrani/albums
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RichP
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PostMon Mar 04, 2019 6:06 pm 
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Yes, the age and weathering of those mountains make the Cascades seem like newbies to the scene.

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Without obsession, life is nothing. John Waters
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Gil
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PostMon Mar 04, 2019 6:38 pm 
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Nice report!

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Friends help the miles go easier.
Klahini
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