Ascent of Bonny Benchmark on 2019-03-17

Climber: Marcus Lostracco

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Sunday, March 17, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Bonny Benchmark
    Elevation:4574 ft / 1394 m

Ascent Trip Report

V3/V4 boulder route on summit!

I was on my way back to the coast leaving Borrego Springs about mid-day and I remembered Bonny Benchmark was not far off the road so I figured why not just check it out. It was busy down in the town due to the "superbloom" attracting hundreds of people from all over. Nice local art show in the Christmas Circle that morning. I stopped on the side of the road on the S22 at the top of the incline and parked the car there. I used GPS tracks from Patrick O'Neil and Michael Sullivan to help guide me to the Bonny BM. I walked off from my car wearing my running sandals and carrying just a water bottle for the 1.8 mile roundtrip hike.

I started regretting wearing sandals after about 5 minutes when I understood that this would be more bushwhacking and navigating through cactus groves and thorny desert brush! However it made me much more aware of my impact - taking the path of least resistance at all times. Somewhere along the way, my water bottle dropped out of my belt. So much for leave no trace. And now I'm out here with no water. Oh well, carry on. I wasn't about to retrace my steps and search for it.

As I approached the benchmark, I could see the summit was a pile of boulders. As I approached it and got up close, I realized it was quite a huge boulder! I'm sure there could be V10 routes on it if you wanted. I managed to find a somewhat challenging but very doable boulder route up the S/SW side of the rock (basically as you hit it dead-on from the S22). All that time in the bouldering gym paying off!
Pretty fun and rewarding for a small peak like this one! On the way down I found a much easier route off the east side and would recommend this as a summit approach. If I had more time/energy/water/proper shoes I would have continued to Clyde BM -- looked like another cool boulder summit.

I thought the walk back to the car would be straightforward and I could find my water bottle on the way back, but of course, at one point I started following a wash and ended up a little off track and correcting it would mean walking straight through a thick patch of shrubs, or adding too much time to backtrack. It's amazing how easy it is to get off track out in the desert. Constant navigation checks are required. Popped back out on the S22 and found a cool unused HIGH VOLTAGE sticker on the side of the road.

Lessons learned:
- wear proper footwear
- ensure water bottles are secured when bushwhacking
- route checking is important even for small desert hikes
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:300 ft / 91 m
    Grade/Class:Class 3
    Quality:3 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Open Country, Bushwhack, Exposed Scramble
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Clear
Warm day in Anza-Borrego
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:300 ft / 91 m
    Route:From S22
    Start Trailhead:4274 ft / 1302 m
Descent Statistics
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Marcus Lostracco
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Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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