Echols Dorm: Brick Wall By Side Door
This will be a second attempt at a gnar trip I tried to send in February that ended up getting postponed because of snow! It will certainly be chilly this time around as well, but we shouldn’t have any issues getting in or out.
Let me summit all up for ya.
The place, Elliot Knob; the agenda, total and absolute ridiculousness.
Other and academically obligatory commitments have me all cooped up until 9 on Saturday night, so the plan is to leave from Echols around 10pm and drive ~1hour to the roadside parking (if we can find it in the dark), where we will begin our venture through the darkness up a grueling 2,425ft in elevation over roughly 4.25 miles to reach the rickety old lookout tower at the top of Elliot’s Knob, reach the tower at or before 2am, and proceed to do whatever feels right for the remainder of the night (this may very well be just knocking tf out). We’ll catch a gorgeous sunrise from the tower @ ~7:30 (i.e sick photo ops) and hike/drive ourselves back to grounds by noon at the very latest.
If those numbers don’t mean a whole lot to ya, let’s just say it aint no chicken shit. It’s long, its steep, and if we all manage to make it to the top in one piece, you’ll probably be ptfoing the minute your pack hits the ground.
If any of this sounds exciting, absolutely nuts, or some combination of the two to you, keep on readin.
Officially, this is an intermediate backpacking trip to Elliot Knob! Ordinarily I would say that a one night backpacking trip would be very beginner friendly and that anybody and everybody should join, but given the nature and destination of this trip (hiking in the dark and up a very strenuous hike) I would not recommend joining if you have not backpacked under similar conditions or at a similar location in the past. If you’ve been backpacking before just not in the dead of night, and nothing about that sounds daunting to you, by all means come along!
If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of summiting Elliot’s fine knob, it is an absolute glory to behold. There is an abandoned old lookout tower perched about 40ft high at the very summit of the mountain that provides 360 views in every direction as it is one of the highest peaks in Virginia, and the last time I brought a group there we actually all ended up sleeping in it together to stay warm turned out to be boatloads of fun. The tower has a hardwood floor so sleeping pads are recommended for comfort, but in all honesty I’m considering bringing my queen size inflatable mattress after my last trip there that a few people would be able to sleep on, so if you join stay tuned about that possibility 😉
More about Elliot Knob + pics of the tower: http://www.hikingupward.com/gwnf/elliotknob/
A campsite below the summit has tons and tons of trees and is ideal for hammocks, the small bald at the top by the tower has sufficient grass for pitching a tent, but I would suggest for both fun and warmth benefits that everybody plans on sleeping in the tower together. At the end of the day tho, it’s totally your call.
FOOD: Everybody will be responsible for bringing something for themselves to eat for dinner and breakfast the next morning. I will be bringing my own stove and small pot to cook my meals with and am happy to share if you would like to bring a meal that requires cooking, but please bring extra water or anything else your meal might require to prepare. Bringing no-cook foods like sandwiches is also an option and is highly recommended. A Clif bar and a piece of fruit make for a quick and easy breakfast.
CLOTHING: It will be COLD!!! The summit is incredibly exposed and winds are supposed to be high Saturday night, and the air temperature will probably just South of 30 degrees, so it could easily feel like less than 20 degrees with wind chill. Think layers, layers, layers. A combo of polyester/wool baselayer, fleece, puffy, and shell will certainly keep you more than warm enough to be comfortable, but you know your needs more than anybody else! On a one night outing, it’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.
-9:50pm Saturday night, meet at Echols to load packs
-11:00pm start hiking
-7:30 sunrise, hike out ~8:30
-leave in cars @10:30, shooting to be back on grounds around 11:30
-sleeping bag and pad
-hammock/tent if you have a serious fear of heights or tower phobia
-good sturdy shoes to hike in (NOT BRAND NEW PLEASE)
-Clothes to hike in; shorts/ leggings, synthetic top
-wool socks if you have them
-warm clothes for the top, IT WILL BE COLD
-Under Armours, fleeces, pants, windbreaker if you have one
-rain jacket/ poncho in case of rain
-water (2+ liters)
-toothbrush and toothpaste
-trashbag/s to rainproof clothes and gear
-stories and a thrill for doing things at an absurd hour
If you need a backpack, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, or headlamp, we can provide that for you! The gear room has all of these things and they can be checked out for one week at a time (see gear room emails). There are a couple other overnight trips in the picture for Saturday night, but since we do not need tents, and I’m going to cap this trip at 8 people, I do not foresee this being a very big issue.
PLEASE CHECK OUT GEAR FOR YOURSELF! I can help picking up things for you if you absolutely cannot make a gear room, as I don’t want for this to keep you from getting out, but it makes things a lot easier for everybody if you are able to check out and return your own gear.
Dining halls are a great place to rob food for putting together trail meals, but if you can’t make that happen I can help you get food! Don’t be afraid to reach out.
-I can only allow 4 people until drivers sign up!
-Drivers need to show up to Echols with a full tank of gas!
-Drivers get priority off the waitlist. The club reimburses for gas +50% tip!