After refueling with some Mexican food in Borrego Springs, we decided to swap out our next planned peak. Originally, I thought about hiking Hans Benchmark, but instead, I suggested we go for Lute Benchmark. If you have ever climbed Villager Peak, the sloping shelf off to the west as you make your way toward the Villager Ridge is where Lute Benchmark sits. So we parked at the Villager trailhead and set off. Following the path along the desert floor north, we reached the turn-off to begin the east climb along the slope. It was weird looking at Villager and the other peaks in the Santa Rosas in the middle of the day. Usually, we are taking in this view at dawn. We kept heading west until we finally spotted two cement pedestals upon which the benchmarks were mounted.
After taking our photos, we started back down. Almost at the junction with the Villager path, we met two other hikers making their way up. We chatted a bit before parting company. With that our 5 peak adventure was over. While I did entertain doing Hans Benchmark, I was just beat enough and I was also the driver. This was a fun day hopping around Anza-Borrego and kicking the New Year off right.
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, 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.