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Ascent of Big Horn Benchmark on 2020-01-05

Climber: Scott Surgent

Others in Party:Matthias Stender -- Trip Report or GPS Track
Date:Sunday, January 5, 2020
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Big Horn Benchmark
    Location:USA-Arizona
    Elevation:3183 ft / 970 m

Ascent Trip Report

We hiked north on the old track until it petered out, then another nile or so in the sandy wash, which for the most part was open and easy to follow. There were three short dryfall scrambles. We hiked until we could see the peak and its east and south ridges clearly, no foreground peaks blocking the view.

We angled west and hiked up the steepening drainage to a saddle on the south ridge's skyline. The hiking was not complicated: the rocks were solid and the brush not too heavy.

From the saddle, we walked north up and over three rock outcrops, then up a steep rocky spine to the summit. The climbing was steep and rocky, but there was always a passage through. Some parts were loose.

For the descent, we followed the east ridge. This also had a series of rock outcrops. Having the advantage of an elevated view, we could see ways down the rocks that involved class-2 (and lots of butt-scooting). Looking up, and not knowing where to go, it could easily be class-3.

We just followed the wash and road back to the car.

The scenery is fantastic with lots of saguaro, ocotillo, palo verde, creosote and cholla. You get great views of the surrounding mountains and desert. If I had to choose, I'd recommend the south ridge for both the ascent and descent. Both were about the same in terms of maneuvering, but the south ridge was shorter.

Full trip report
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1528 ft / 465 m
    Total Elevation Loss:1528 ft / 465 m
    Round-Trip Distance:7.5 mi / 12.1 km
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Open Country, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1528 ft / 465 m
    Distance:3.7 mi / 6 km
    Route:South road/gully then south ridge
    Start Trailhead:Gate at interstate-8  1655 ft / 504 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:1528 ft / 465 m
    Distance:3.7 mi / 6 km
    Route:East ridge then into the gullies
    End Trailhead:Gate at interstate-8  1655 ft / 504 m



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