Ascent of Towne Benchmark on 2013-11-16

Climber: BMS 914

Others in Party:Joel Brewster
Karen McCann
James Morehouse -- Trip Report or GPS Track
Rich Stephens -- Trip Report or GPS Track
Matt M
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Saturday, November 16, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Towne Benchmark
    Elevation:7287 ft / 2221 m

Ascent Trip Report

For the preceding info on this outing, please see my trip reports for Towne Benchmark (first incidence), and Panamint Butte.

From the valley, the slope up proved both more solid and less steep then our descent route. While steeper than it it looked, it still was better, and would have been a better way to go on our outbound trip as well. Once up, we stopped and waited for Joel, who didn't show up. Turns out he sidehilled and was waiting for us further down the ridge toward Towne. He yelled and waved, but no one heard him for a good while. We all took off and caught up to him. Near Towne Benchmark, Rich started heading down the slope to the west. He had turned his GPS off and it seemed the right way to go, but we quickly figured it out. If we had continued in that direction it would have lead to an airplane crash site and visible wreckage.

Rich later researched the crash, an SA-16 Albatros flying boat, which took place in the 1952. Seems the whole crew (who were apparently CIA) bailed out due to failure of the port engine, but the plane went another 20 miles before reaching its final destination. The crew walked the 14 miles to Furnace Creek and were picked up the next day. Luckily, it was in January, or the scorching heat would have got them. It would have been fun to investigate the wreckage had we not been going to Panamint Butte that day, but it would have added a good 1.5 hours to our already long outing.

We made it back to Towne Benchmark, and without stopping this time followed our ascent route down. It got dark as we descended the steep, boulder covered slope to the vehicles, but a full moon and great night vision allowed me to leave my headlamp in my pack for the last 25 minutes or so.

Overall it was a long, but fairly easy hike with decent views at the two summits.

GPS route shown is for the entire outing.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2283 ft / 694 m
    Total Elevation Loss:3140 ft / 956 m
    Round-Trip Distance:6.2 mi / 10 km
    Grade/Class:Class 2
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Open Country
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Sunny but hazy
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1893 ft / 576 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 1469 ft / 448 m; Extra: 424 ft / 129m
    Loss on way in:424 ft / 129 m
    Distance:2.7 mi / 4.3 km
    Route:North Ridge
    Start Trailhead:Saddle with Panamint Butte  5818 ft / 1773 m
    Time:2 Hours 17 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:2716 ft / 827 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 2326 ft / 709 m; Extra: 390 ft / 118m
    Gain on way out:390 ft / 118 m
    Distance:3.5 mi / 5.6 km
    Route:Southeast Ridge
    End Trailhead:Turnout off Highway 190  4961 ft / 1512 m
    Time:2 Hours 23 Minutes
Ascent Part of Trip: Towne_Panamint (0 nights total away from roads)

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Towne Benchmark2013-11-16 a3060 ft / 933 m
2Panamint Butte2013-11-16 b1079 ft / 329 m
3Towne Benchmark2013-11-16 c2283 ft / 696 m
Total Trip Gain: 6422 ft / 1958 m    Total Trip Loss: 6422 ft / 1957 m
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by BMS 914
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
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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