Ascent of Crystal Benchmark on 2020-08-14

Climber: Brad Darnell

Date:Friday, August 14, 2020
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Crystal Benchmark
    Elevation:10488 ft / 3196 m

Ascent Trip Report

I paid the $5 fee for Pikes Peak Toll Road (smaller fee if you are not going all the way up) and parked at a cutout across from FR 331, though it is not signed as such but there is a gate. It is the first road on the left side past Crowe Gulch Picnic Area. I followed the road which narrowed to a single track at around a mile. At an open meadow I lost the trail and opted to bushwhack while still gaining elevation. I eventually picked up the trail again (note: if you keep to the left of the meadow you will regain the trail at the forest edge, something I learned on my descent). The trail gains elevation gradually and a few switchbacks. On the Pikes Peak Atlas (and Google Maps) this is still considered FR 331. I followed it to the "end" per the maps and found a couple of cairns seeming to point me up the steep boulder-strewn slope to the summit. I carefully picked my way through the rocks and enjoyed the summit to myself. In fact, the last log book entry was from 2.5 months earlier, on 28 May 2020. I did notice some entries listing their routes (via Barr Trail & via Green Mountain Falls) which shows other options for enjoying this summit. After taking in the 360-degree view of Pikes Peak and the surrounding area I carefully picked my way back down the boulder field until I hit the trail again. Total mileage was 7.36 with 1880' of elevation gain.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Unmaintained Trail, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles

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