Gasp Benchmark

A recent storm left temperatures a bit below normal, so we decided to hike one of the more moderate desert peaks we needed. We had a handful of options to pick from, but since Ted had injured himself during a running race, that narrowed the choices to either doing the Webo/Ted combination or Gasp Benchmark. We chose the latter. I picked Susie and Alberto up and we were greeted with a wonderful sunrise as we left San Diego.

Soon, we pulled onto McCain Valley Road and then made the turn onto the rough dirt road toward Sacotone Overlook. This is the same road that will take you to the trailhead for Mt. Tule. It has always been a bit rough, but it has deteriorated quite a bit since I last drove it back in December. Once it turned on to the road toward our starting point for Gasp, it became much better. We gathered our gear and set off down the road. It was a crisp 46°, but we knew it would warm up quickly. We cruised down toward Redondo Springs, chatting about recent hikes. This hike is inverted, so we mostly go down to the peak, then get to climb back up to the car.

The miles passed quickly, and soon we were on the rocky ridge working our way carefully toward the benchmark. At times the winds were quite strong. We guesstimated they might have hit about 40 mph. We weaved our way across the steep and rocky terrain toward the summit.

Once there, we hung out a bit, having a snack, snapping some photos, and signing the register. Thankfully, the winds were not an issue. Soon it was time to climb back to the car.

I kept a nice measured pace on the ascent. Susie and Alberto would pause for a bit at times and once I reached them I just kept motoring on. Soon we reached our car and had another peak crossed off our list! Our stats were 6.5 miles in 3:04 and 1,687 feet of gain.

I am an avid peak bagger, sometimes backpacker, and former sea kayaker living in San Diego. In 2019, I became the third person to complete the San Diego 100 Peak Challenge. Not stopping with that accomplishment, I set my sights on the harder San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list, which I completed in 2021. In addition, I have conquered several Six-Pack of Peaks challenges (SoCal, San Diego, Central Coast, and Arizona-Winter). Beyond attempting the San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list a second time, I am looking forward to exploring new summits and new adventures across the southwest. 

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