Ascent of Hammond Benchmark on 2006-03-24

Climber: Edward Earl

Date:Friday, March 24, 2006
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Hammond Benchmark
    Location:USA-New Mexico
    Elevation:4716 ft / 1437 m

Ascent Trip Report

From NM-288 12 miles E of Weber City, I went 1 mile N on CR W, then turned W on what DeLorme shows as CR 27, though this road is unsigned in the field. CR 27 is little more than a two-track and sometimes has a high center; to prevent my rented Toyota Camry from grounding out I sometimes straddled the track on one side, driving with one side of the car on the center and the other side of the car off the side of the road. After one mile I drove through a gap in a fence, and after an additional half mile I encountered a cluster of buildings on the right (shown on the topo map). The buildings were protected by a lone mercury vapor light and there was no sign any of them were occupied by humans: no vehicles parked, and no lights visible inside through any windows. I drove back toward the fence gap and pulled off the road to sleep for the night.

At the crack of dawn I began the short hike NNW across a pasture littered with thousands of cow patties. With a gain of 70 feet in a little over a mile, the gradient was barely discernible in the field. Due to varying concavity of the surface, the objective hill was not visible until I had covered about a third of the distance to it. At the halfway point I encountered a barbed wire fence. Near the top of the hill is a jeep track and two perpendicular fences. The HP is about 200-300 feet N of the E-W fence and jeep track and about 50-100 feet E of the N-S fence.

According to DeLorme, the section that I had hiked across was state land; in actuality, the area is fenced but not signed. It's hard to tell who the real owner is.

While in the area, I also investigated a possible approach from closer to the Hammond Ranch about 1.5 miles E of the HP. About 1/3 mile N of the ranch compound is a jeep track (shown on the topo) heading W toward the HP. I didn't try it in my Toyota Camry, but 4WD or Andy Martin and his Honda could make it.

About 9 months after I climbed Hammond, John Kirk discovered two unnamed hills on the side of "The Caprock", a steep escarpment near the northern border of the county. Both have more prominence than Hammond, thus Hammond is stripped of its county prom point status.
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