Ascent of Dunn Benchmark on 2001-03-10

Climber: Scott Surgent

Others in Party:Andy Martin
Bob Martin
Date:Saturday, March 10, 2001
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Dunn Benchmark
    Elevation:2880 ft / 877 m

Ascent Trip Report

Andy Martin, Bob Martin and I left the interstate on FM-516 into Barstow and then onto FM-2355, which put us near the highpoints. Not surprisingly, this was remote, flat desert, with lots of oil pumps and fences. However, none of the signs said to keep out, and all the gates were open. Andy stowed his car near a pump and rode shotgun with Bob, while I followed. We followed a series of access roads across the plain, parking at a fence line. I couldn't begin to tell you exactly what we did. I just followed Bob and Andy. We were about five miles from the paved roads.

Hopping the fence and walking generally south and west, we had seven areas to wander over to be sure we visited the highest point. One was near the cars and didn't look like anything special at all. Another area was about 500 feet south, and we walked there, too.

The third area was another mile southwest, a large 2,880-foot blob of land with a USGS Benchmark "Dunn". Given the size of this area, and the fact the USGS put a benchmark here, we felt this may be the best bet for the county highpoint. Although the land here was more of the same flat desert, we were at the lip of a band of bluffs facing west, with about 300 feet of drop. So we were definitely on a high region.

The fourth area was east and not as big as the "Dunn" area. The fifth, sixth and seventh areas were tiny and on a general bearing back to our trucks. We walked and stepped on any mound or hillock or pile, anything that looked plausible, but I doubt any of these tiny regions held the highest point. My vote goes with the Dunn area.

We were back to our trucks in an hour, a hearty little hike in the Texas outback. It was nearing 5 p.m., so we drove east and had time to visit one more county highpoint, in Ector County, before camping that night near some oil pumps.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:20 ft / 6 m
    Round-Trip Distance:3 mi / 4.8 km
    Trailhead:2860 ft / 871 m
    Route Conditions:
Open Country

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