Ascent of Corral Benchmark on 2020-11-01

Climber: David Sharg

Date:Sunday, November 1, 2020
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Corral Benchmark
    Elevation:6407 ft / 1952 m

Ascent Trip Report

Hot Springs Mountain, Peak 6400 and Corral Benchmark

Total distance: 11.4 miles
Total elevation gain: 3,000 ft
Total time: 6 hours 20 minutes
Start time: 8:25am
Trailhead: Los Coyotes Reservation Campground; about 10 miles from Highway 79 in Warner Springs by Camino San Ignacio Road
Accomplishments by list: HPS #85, California CoHP #7

Difficulty of hike: 8 out of 10. The first 2 miles are moderately steep, but then it flattens out. After passing the lookout tower, it becomes a bit steep again, but it's a pretty short section. The summit block at Hot Springs is pretty difficult to climb. Peak 6400 starts off a bit difficult, but once you get on the rocks, it becomes fun. Corral BM was more difficult than I expected.

Views during hike: 9 out of 10. Not many views away from the high points, other than San Ysidro. But when the views open up, they are really good. Everything is visible from the Salton Sea, to Villager and Rabbit, to Toro and Santa Rosa, to Desert Divide, to San Jacinto and San Gorgonio behind it. The observatory on Palomar looked like it was an arm's length away. To the south, Cuyamaca and Vulcan ranges look great. The views from Peak 6400 and Corral BM were similar to Hot Springs.

Ascent on the descent: About 150 feet from the road to Peak 6400, followed by another 250 feet from the saddle between 6400 and Corral to the Corral summit.

People seen on the hike: about 10-15 total. Two hikers that I met on the summit of Hot Springs wanted to come with me to the other lesser known peaks, so I led them for the rest of the hike. It was fun!

Animals seen: none

After not being able to hike Hot Springs last year, I finally made my way back this year. I made sure to call them ahead of time to make sure there was no event. Note that the phone number on the HPS website, 760-782-2790, no longer works. But the number for the reservation, 760-782-0712, works to get information about the hike.

The climb on Sukat Road is pretty steep, but gets better after the intersection with Hot Springs Road. The higher I went, the windier it got, and quite windy at the watchtower and summit.

The summit block has one of those 20-30 foot boulders that reminded my of Marion Mountain from earlier this year and Cornell Peak last year. When approaching this stone and circling it clockwise, you first reach a red and blue rope that go up a Class 5 route, not something I wanted to do. To the left of that was a narrow Class 3 chimney. After taking off my bag, I was able to barely squeeze in there, and climb halfway up, then reach the red and blue ropes to ascend the rest of the way. All this turned out not to be necessary, though, because there's also a ladder on the far side. Using the ladder and a few Class 2 moves, you can get to within 10 or so feet of the high point, but the rest is a difficult Class 4 or more. But I did come down that way.

At the summit, I met two other hikers, that do a lot of local hikes in the San Diego area. We hiked together the rest of the way. We went back to the tower for the views, and then kept going to the other two summit. We had lots of discussions about hiking in the area.

For Peak 6400, the trail started out a bit difficult to see. There's some Class 2 climbing to get on top of the rocks, but once up there, the rest of the climb is not very steep, and a fun scramble. I enjoyed this one more than the others. For Corral Benchmark, there's a bit more defined use trail with basically no bushwacking, but it was quite steep. At the summit, there was a register, unlike Peak 6400.

A couple of places that were not visited. I downloaded the tracks for Obie Benchmark, and it didn't look that bad from the main road, the TR I read said that the bushwacking got worse, and I didn't want to lead other hikers that direction. In the end, this was the right decision, as we were pretty beat after Peak 6400 and Corral Benchmark. Inbetween 6400 and Corral BM, there was a faint trail that ran downhill towards Peak 6080 and Cougar Canyon. We decided not to go that way, as it would have been an extra 10 miles. To the south of Corral Benchmark, there is Peak 6354, which looks stunning from Sukat Road. There is no information about this peak on Peakbagger, so I had no tracks for it, but if anyone has any info about how to best climb it, they should post it. And finally, my plan was to stop by Eagle Rock on the drive out from the reservation. I could see it in the distance, but there was a fence claiming private property between the road I was on and Eagle Rock. So I'm still not sure how to reach it.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Unmaintained Trail, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ascent Part of Trip: Hot Springs

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Hot Springs Mountain2020-11-01 
2Peak 64002020-11-01 
3Corral Benchmark2020-11-01 
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

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