Ascent of Columbia Rock Benchmark on 2020-08-07

Climber: Christopher Flynn

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Friday, August 7, 2020
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Columbia Rock Benchmark
    Elevation:5031 ft / 1533 m

Ascent Trip Report

Wow, where to start with this one. Ultimately, I was able to cross off Columbia Rock Benchmark, El Capitan, and Eagle Peak. The trip was done on a whim - no training beforehand - with the primary goal of summiting El Capitan. Do not recommend this “planning” method for obvious reasons.

I started around 8 AM from Camp 4. The stairs/path to Upper Yosemite Falls was brutal. Highly recommend some stair master training! Apparently I passed Columbia Rock Benchmark along the way, which was no more than a lookout along the path. If it wasn’t noted in Peakbagger, I would never knew it existed.

Somewhere between the Upper Falls and Eagle Peak trailhead is when things started to turn. I got a cramp in my quad, which slowed me some. Then the same thing happened to my other. I had Gatorade, which was better than nothing, but I’d bring salt packets if I attempted again during summer. While trying to deal with this, I lost the trail and became quite lost in the Yosemite wilderness. No idea how it happened, but it came quick. Contemplated abandoning a few times, but ultimately was able to rejoin the trail; nature’s reminder to come prepared.

Knowing from a trip earlier in the week that dusk started around 7 PM-ish and that I had gotten lost already, I tried to make it to El Capitan by 1 PM, giving 5 hours in + 5 hours back + 1 hour extra. The rest of the path was straightforward, with points along flat granite surfaces marked by man made cairns. I summited El Capitan just before 1 PM.

After ~30 minutes, I made my way back along the trail. Feeling emboldened, I decided to take the Eagle Peak trail to bag another. The sign there said it was 0.3 miles away so didn’t think much of it. Online maps are showing it as 0.6 one-way so not sure what I actually did. I do know that on the way up, I became very aware how exhausted my legs had become.

The trail was very well maintained on the way back, so not sure how I lost it on the approach. I was cognizant that I wanted to preserve what battery I had in my phone to use as a light if, heaven forbid, I needed to so getting back to Upper Falls was a bit of a race. Ultimately I made it back, but the same stairs that were difficult coming up ... they’re difficult going down as well. Knowing that it was very a very defined path back from this point, I took my time.

My GPS log read 17.4(ish) miles when all was said and done.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1159 ft / 353 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1159 ft / 353 m
    Distance:17.4 mi / 27.9 km
    Route:via Yosemite Falls trail
    Start Trailhead:Northside Dr lot (37.7404962, -119.6027413)  3872 ft / 1180 m
Descent Statistics
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Christopher Flynn
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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