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Ascent of Bennett Peak on 2018-07-29

Climber: Dennis Stewart

Others in Party:Marshall Stewart
Date:Sunday, July 29, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Bennett Peak
    Location:USA-Colorado
    Elevation:13203 ft / 4024 m

Ascent Trip Report

The Rio Grande County highpoint (Bennett Peak) is a long way from the nearest paved road, but it is a very pleasant drive through the "backcountry." Make sure you have enough gas for this long trip or you may be spending a few nights waiting for help to drive by! My son, Marshall, and I started our climb at trail marker #873. The coordinates here are 37.47407 N 106.45505 W and my GPS indicated only 1.32 miles to the summit. Later we discovered we probably could have driven farther up the road, but we were glad to have a definite trail to follow in the beginning. We started from an elevation of 11,050 feet, so this left us over 2100 feet to climb. We followed a jeep trail to a point at 37.47261 N 106.44387 W where there was a trail branching to the left that was heading in a better direction to the summit than the jeep road, which had deteriorated to a crude, rocky ATV path. Unfortunately, our new trail did not last long so we just started going cross country across the tundra in a direct heading to the summit. This route did get quite steep, but we reached the summit from the car in a little less than 2 hours after covering 1.9 miles. The summit had a huge cairn with a crude wooden cross stuck in the middle and there were good views in all directions. Surprisingly, just as we were beginning our descent, our solitude was broken when we were joined on the summit with 9 ATV's and 2 dirt bikes. It seems wrong to me for gas-powered vehicles to be traveling across the tundra, but all of these individuals appeared to be staying on preexisting trails for this activity and probably caused less damage to the environment than my son and I tramping across the tundra without a trail. We took a less direct path back to the trailhead in order to avoid the steep descent and reached my car in just 1 hour and 21 minutes after covering 2.5 miles. For a family looking for a summit to challenge their children, but not wanting to make them hate climbing, this might be the highpoint for them!
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles



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