Ascent of Pinta Benchmark on 2018-11-11

Climber: Richard Hensley

Others in Party:Matthias Stender
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Sunday, November 11, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Hi-Clearance Vehicle
Peak:Pinta Benchmark
    Elevation:2950 ft / 899 m

Ascent Trip Report

Matthias mostly led, following detailed directions from Scott Surgent. Kind of a rough start into the canyon, when we should have gone quickly over to the right (S) side, to avoid some unnecessary wash crossing and bushwhacking. Our last instructions, 400ft from the top, were to pass right (S) of a prow, then ascend left (N) across the rib when easy. We each forgot to ascend left! We made a short, mildly risky class 3 climb on the right side of a dryfall. (On return, we tried the other side, appearing to be more regain but only class 2, only to find another short class 3 downclimb, but this one less risky.) When we reached the notch at the top, it looked like a big mistake; at least 200ft downclimb back to Surgent's directions might be needed. The traverse got narrow, with big cliffs on each side, and a big sudden notch could be seen ahead. Fortunately for us, when it all looked cliffed out, we found a nifty ledge starting about 40ft before the notch, on the right (SE) side. It is very exposed, but wide enough to not be concerned. It ended with a pointy class 3+ downclimb, after the exposure had passed. So if you end up gaining the ridge where we did, know that it goes. On return, we decided to stick with the way we came up, knowing what it held.

The night before, we drove over from Tinajas Altas to Tule Well and over Christmas Pass. El Camino del Diablo changes at the CPNWR border, becoming basically 1 lane and sandier but still not rough. From Tule Well to Christmas Pass got very rough, requiring at least 9-in clearance, and very slow going. Expect a lot of paint-scratching. After the pass was mostly smooth with frequent deep sand. Long wiggly sections were in a narrow channel with brush on each side. Reminded me of driving "between the hedgerows" in England; limited sight due to curves, and not wide enough for 2 cars. Fortunately, we encountered no oncoming. Never used 4WD, though CPNWR rules require having it.

We parked near the emergency beacon. We used the cement platform at the beacon as a makeshift picnic table for dinner. DON'T DO THIS!!! Border Patrol has a sensor at the base of the beacon, in addition to the red button. After an hour of incessant alarms, someone drove out to tell us to stay away from it. Oops.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2278 ft / 693 m
    Total Elevation Loss:2278 ft / 693 m
    Round-Trip Distance:18.4 mi / 29.6 km
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Open Country, Bushwhack, Scramble, Exposed Scramble
    Weather:clr; viz 40mi hazy; breeze; pleasant
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2155 ft / 656 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 2032 ft / 620 m; Extra: 123 ft / 37m
    Loss on way in:123 ft / 37 m
    Distance:9.2 mi / 14.8 km
    Route:WNW gully
    Start Trailhead:Christmas Pass Rd  918 ft / 279 m
    Time:5 Hours 17 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:2155 ft / 656 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 2032 ft / 620 m; Extra: 123 ft / 37m
    Gain on way out:123 ft / 37 m
    Distance:9.2 mi / 14.8 km
    End Trailhead:918 ft / 279 m
    Time:4 Hours 47 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Richard Hensley
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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.

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