Ascent of Keany Benchmark-North Peak on 2015-11-29

Climber: Dan Baxter

Date:Sunday, November 29, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
Peak:Keany Benchmark-North Peak
    Elevation:5381 ft / 1640 m

Ascent Trip Report

I climbed this wilderness area HP last February. Or so I thought. At the time what is now called "Peak 1605" was listed on as the WAHP, and there we went. It appears John Vitz did his homework and found this higher point, and ascended it about a month after my ascent of the now known false highpoint.
I was in this area anyway so I made a side excursion to ascend this relatively easy HP, certainly easier than was Peak 1605.

Bob Burd has excellent photos and his route map posted and this was helpful. His actual report is not yet written and on his website as his ascent was quite recent.

Our approach was via the Cima Road exit off the interstate then N on nicely paved Excelsior Mine Road, along which we camped for the night.
We turned R on unsigned Powerline Road, which we found between the two northernmost of the four lines of power lines.

Note from last February's experience I do not recommend approaching from the east (i.e. Primm area0. As I wrote back then:

"Afterward we hoped to continue on the powerline road to Excelsor Mine Road to go to the N Mesquite Wilderness area, but there was a section with a heavily eroded ditch parallel to and in the middle of the road which even I in a Jeep Wrangler was afraid to straddle. So we went back to Primm and west on I-15 to the Cima Road exit.)"

Powerline Road is relatively well maintained, as it is the access for four rather large powerlines, which pass by the huge solar power generating plant in Calif. just W of Primm. There are a few minor washouts that make high clearance vehicles preferred, however. I drove back on the return in 2WD in my Jeep. I believe we drove 8.9 miles east on Powerline Rd, although my writing is very scratchy as I wrote this figure while on the move.

About 100 yds past (E) of Keany Pass there is a side road going down the hill and then briefly up for access to the northernmost powerline. We parked there and began walking literally under a power pole (labeled MCCVIcI371)

From there we headed N onto a small ridge at the end of which is a trivial 20 ft drop, then basically N on the ridge then ENE as the ridge bends and then traversed to the NW side of Keany BM knoll, aiming for the saddle between it and the WAHP knoll to its NW. We actually ended up highed than the saddle and as it was only another 15 feet or so of elevation gain we first went up Keany BM. This last minute of ascent had the only easy class 2 boulder meandering, the ascent up to this point being a steep class 1 shlep.

Keany BM knoll is slightly higher than the WAHP a 5 minute walk to its NW. Here we found the benchmark, and the classic red can register a few feet away. The register had only one sheet with four names - John Vitz and Donna on 3-18-15, and Bob Burd & Bob Sumner on Nov 8th. Nice views of Clark Mtn, Avawatz, the solar power plant etc.

A trivial walk with perhaps 15 feet of prominence gain brought us across the wilderness area boundary onto the lower knoll that is the WAHP. Here I found no register, nor any significant change in views etc.

The walk down was uneventful, and like the climb was really more of a saunter filled with photography of plant life and birding, highlighted by a LeConte's thrasher.

The wilderness area boundary can be seen at:

Click on photo for original larger-size version.
Keany Benchmark knoll is the pointy summit at center photo. The knoll that is the wilderness area HP is just to its left. As seen on the approach along the SW/S ridge (2015-11-29). Photo by Dan Baxter.
Click here for larger-size photo.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:631 ft / 192 m
    Extra Gain:20 ft / 6 m
    Round-Trip Distance:1.8 mi / 2.9 km
    Route:SW ridge
    Trailhead:Tower near Keany Pass  4790 ft / 1459 m
    Grade/Class:class 2
    Route Conditions:
Open Country, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Cool, Calm, Clear

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