Ascent of Tip Benchmark on 2020-02-13

Climber: Jeffrey Swain

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Thursday, February 13, 2020
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Tip Benchmark
    Elevation:3895 ft / 1187 m

Ascent Trip Report

Trailhead is at the Buckman Springs Rest Area, a safer place to park the car. Follow Buckman Springs Road until it turns into Sheephead Mountain Road. Turn left to a lumpy road which leads west. This looks like it might have been a serviceable road at some point, but it has been altered, seemingly to prevent motor traffic. Lumpy road leads to a grove of Live Oaks and an arroyo, where the trail turns into a goat path with minor bushwhacking. Ascending from the wash, there is a barbed-wire fence. I contacted the Forest Service regarding the area inside the fence and permission for access, but they were not particularly responsive. In any case, a former road leads up to one of four minor peaks (3550, 3649, 3723, and 3768) that lead to the top of the Tip Benchmark (3895). As a matter of convenience, it is best to follow the peaks to the benchmark, as this path has the least bushwhacking of any of the routes. The last charge up to 3895 is a little steep but not intimidating.

The peak is a curiosity. The actual high point is your usual sumac-covered rock pile, while the benchmarks are a little ways below the main peak at around 3877 ft. Indeed there are three separate benchmarks and a fence post in this area. Two of the benchmarks are near a cairn with quarts rocks to mark the spot. A third benchmark is a little to the north.

I didn't relish the idea of a series of descents and ascents over the four minor peaks, so I chose a route down which lead to the freeway right-of-way. Trip down was a major bushwhack, leading to a dirt easement next to the freeway and practically a straight line back to the Rest Area. Another barbed-wire fence is involved. There is interesting contraband along the freeway, including crack pipes and a bullet clip from a firearm.
Click on photo for original larger-size version.
This is the lumpy road that leads to Tip Benchmark (2020-02-13). Photo by Jeffrey Swain.
Click here for larger-size photo.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:535 ft / 163 m
    Total Elevation Loss:5 ft / 1 m
    Round-Trip Distance:3.6 mi / 5.8 km
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Clear sky, hazy horizon
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:535 ft / 163 m
    Distance:1.8 mi / 2.9 km
    Route:Lumpy Road
    Start Trailhead:Buckman Springs Rest Area  3360 ft / 1024 m
    Time:2 Hours 37 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:5 ft / 1 m
    Distance:1.8 mi / 2.9 km
    Route:Bushwhack then Freeway
    End Trailhead:Buckman Springs Rest Area  3890 ft / 1185 m
    Time:2 Hours 37 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Jeffrey Swain
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
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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