Ascent of Collins Benchmark on 2016-11-11

Climber: Jim Wick

Others in Party:Larry Edmonds -- Trip Report or GPS Track
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Friday, November 11, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
Peak:Collins Benchmark
    Elevation:4559 ft / 1389 m

Ascent Trip Report

Drove in a high clearance vehicle. It is a long way in on a dirt road with lots of washboard and obstacles (approx 7 miles). Just didn't have the patience to attempt in a normal car. Parked at the Boy Scout Gate**(see note below). Plan was to hike to Collins BM with the possibility of including Knob BM. Started just before sunrise with 6.5 liters of fluids. temps were going to be from 63 degrees at start to mid 80s; with a nice breeze. Hiked a little over a mile down the road; started going cross country when abeam of a large boulder (25 ft) on the east side of the road. The next mile has many steep sided gullies and ravines which require traversing. We took a higher traversal on the way out which had thicker brush (& slower going). Reached a mini head wall (N33.37881 W116.55457); there is a large rock with a duck on top. Stashed a liter. Continued a high navigation to the next point which was where an old firebreak starts (N33.37970 W116.54906). The old firebreak reaches a top of a high with great views (N33.38254 W116.54810); which I stashed another liter. There is actually two firebreaks from this point; as we took the wrong one. It is very easy to miss the one to the north. We headed down the firebreak which suddenly ends. Had severe (thick and slow) bushwhacking to traverse to the north route. The route switches from firebreak to gully/wash. At point (N33.38533 W116.54541) head directly to the summit of a nearby (east) point peak 4809; as there is another firebreak to the top. The firebreaks are old and have plenty of dead brush and branches to snare your feet; however don't have to deal with thick-above-head-height brush. At the top of point peak 4809, the firebreak turns right (south). I stashed another liter here. The firebreak continues down the ridge line then turns left (east). At N33.38388 W116.53824) we left the firebreak heading down to the left (northeast) to a relatively flat area below. We had planned to go around point peak 4621 on the north side. This is an easier route as going to the end of the firebreak ends before a steep and very heavy brush area (near the saddle to the west of point peak 4621. We headed down the wash until it joined another wash from the north side. We then headed up the wash to the saddle on the northwest side of point peak 4621. This would be the saddle we would return to if we decided "a go" for Knob BM; thus we wanted a look from the saddle. This starts the first of many false bumps and drops. Lots of ups and downs; and the opposite on the return when you are tired. We climbed the southwest flank of point peak 4695. We reached point peak 4695; has great views and a register. Started down the southeast ridge when I surprised a garter snake and a lizard. I got surprised by the lizard as it charged at me and went through my legs. Guess he/she figured I was a very big hero. The route from here is obvious; traverse the ridge line towards Collins BM. Generally following deer use trail; which we also found large mountain lion tracks. After a couple more false bumps we finally reached Collins BM. There is a summit block; which I wasn't comfortable with the exposure and lack of good holds. The register was on top of the summit block. Larry was signing the register when the pen stopped working. So he climbed down but didn't want to go back up. He had carried an extra register. Which after signing placed in an obvious spot with great markings at the base of the summit block. Someone else can relocate to the top of the block if they choose. Based on time of day, energy level, and the tough route below, we chose not to head to Knob BM. It would easily add another 1.5 miles and 1600' gain; but most important was remaining daylight. We didn't want to be navigating in thick brush in the dark.

On the return, we took more direct routes when possible. In the ravine/gully area as we neared the road, we took the longer but easier wash route to the head wall. I had retrieved my stashed liters; which I ended up not needing. However it is nice to know you have extra water especially when you don't know what you will encounter for energy & temperature. I did fully consume the 3.5 liters I hauled the entire hike. We reached the Lost Valley Road with an hour and a half to spare before sunset. Reached the cars

Time includes stops as well as visit to Peak 4695. Spent 45 minutes at Collins BM.

NOTE: We were given a reprieve from a sheriff game warden for trespassing onto private property. We had started our hike before sunrise and didn't see the no trespassing sign at the gate. He expected us to have a gun as it was deer hunting season; seemed shocked that someone would hike in the area and never heard of Collins BM. He came across us just after we reached the road on the return. Inquiries to the Boy Scouts prior to the trip went unanswered.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:5126 ft / 1562 m
    Total Elevation Loss:5126 ft / 1561 m
    Round-Trip Distance:11.8 mi / 19 km
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Open Country, Bushwhack, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Clear
Descent (To Destination) Statistics
    Gain on way in:2245 ft / 684 m
    Loss on way in:2956 ft / 900 m
    Distance:5.9 mi / 9.5 km
    Start Trailhead:Lost Valley Road Gate  5270 ft / 1606 m
    Time:4 Hours 44 Minutes
Ascent (From Destination) Statistics
    Loss on way out:2170 ft / 661 m
    Gain on way out:2881 ft / 878 m
    Distance:5.9 mi / 9.5 km
    End Trailhead:Lost Valley Road Gate  5270 ft / 1606 m
    Time:4 Hours 39 Minutes
Ascent Part of Trip: 2016 Collins BM (0 nights total away from roads)

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Peak 46952016-11-11 
2Collins Benchmark2016-11-115126 ft / 1562 m
Total Trip Gain: 5126 ft / 1562 m    Total Trip Loss: 5126 ft / 1562 m
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Jim Wick
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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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