Ascent of Ode Benchmark on 2016-02-18

Climber: Mark Woody

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Thursday, February 18, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Ode Benchmark
    Elevation:1510 ft / 460 m

Ascent Trip Report

Trip Report for Ode, Kay, Sirens, Tuck, Webo and Ted:

At 7:00 AM I departed the S22 Trailhead with 12 lbs of water + 38 pounds of gear on my back. My intent over the next two days was to get Ode, Kay, Sirens, San Ysidro East, Tuck, Webo and Ted. But even the best of plans don't always work out... I headed across the Borrego Badlands turning up the ridge climbing 600’ to Ode Benchmark (1512’). Since I had a late start, I took on Kay Benchmark (3587’) head on which netted 2000’ of vertical gain. Probably a mistake as I would have made much better time by dropping down the ridgeline a bit and avoiding lots of bouldering the whole route. I found shade at Kay, pounded some calories & electrolytes then stepped off for Sirens Peak (4401’). This required a descent then vertical gain with lots of rock work. It was at the summit of Sirens I painfully realized my late start and error on Kay would prevent me from climbing San Ysidro East Peak before dark. Reluctantly I made the safe decision and searched for a place to rest overnight. Wind was kicking up so I dropped 442’ off the eastern ridge and found a nice rock outcropping with natural shelter from the gusts. I set up my camp just as the sun was starting to set, cleaned up and pulled out the few cactus strikes from the day. Out of curiosity I checked my cell phone and had a bar! So I climbed back up the summit of Sirens and was able to get a text off to my wife to let her know all was well (Verizon cell service). I climbed back down to make dinner and decided to pack it back up the summit of Sirens (this time under a headlamp) to try the phone again. No voice comms but I had my dinner trading texts with my wife watching the ice crystal generated moon rings and stars. It was epic and the only way it could have been better was if she was here with me. The night was pleasant not dropping lower than 38 degrees and listening to the Coyotes singing all across the valley was hilariously entertaining.

On day two I was packed before dawn and had coffee on a ledge watching the sunrise. Soon as there was enough light I headed back up and over Sirens dropping and crossing a saddle over to the western ridge leading up to Tuck Benchmark (3828’). I pressed on to Webo Benchmark (4173’). There was no shade on Webo. It was hotter today and I was rationing my last 2.5 liters of water so I dropped some electrolyte tabs and descended to hit the Ted Benchmark (1804’), the last on my trip plan. I had made good time and had half a day and half my water left so I decided since I couldn’t get San Ysidro I would drop into a wedge gully and climb back up the face of Maidenhair Falls. This was epic and required a lot of problem solving and significant climbing technique to get up the dry water routes. I came across a Bobcat in one of the flats but by the time I got my camera out it had bolted. This added about 1000’ of vertical gain before I ran out of water and had to turn back down to the valley floor then back across the desert to the car.

While I truly enjoyed pushing my physical limits while experiencing the raw beauty of the desert… I am not enjoying the physical soreness of the aftermath. Self-inflicted I know, and well worth the personal reflection and achievement. If you’re going to be alive you might as well live.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:710 ft / 216 m
    Quality:3 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Open Country, Bushwhack, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles, Tent Camp
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Clear, Blue & 22
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:710 ft / 216 m
    Distance:1.3 mi / 2.2 km
    Route:West up predominant east facing ridge from valley
    Start Trailhead:S22 Trailhead  800 ft / 243 m
Descent Statistics
Ascent Part of Trip: Anza Borrego Walkabout (1 nights total away from roads)

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Ode Benchmark2016-02-18710 ft / 216 m
2Kay Benchmark2016-02-182077 ft / 633 m
3The Sirens2016-02-182025 ft / 617 m
4Tuck Benchmark2016-02-190 ft / 0 m
5Webo Benchmark2016-02-19345 ft / 105 m
6Ted Benchmark2016-02-190 ft / 0 m
Total Trip Gain: 5157 ft / 1571 m    Total Trip Loss: 1211 ft / 369 m

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