Kendall Benchmark – 13073

RT Length: 4.05 miles

Elevation Gain: 1597’

If I’d known Kendall Benchmark was a ranked 13er, I’d have done it Kendall Mountain. However, at the time I was unaware, so I was back in the area to pick this one up.  I didn’t need to allot an entire day for this hike, so I decided to do it the night before I did the rest of the Kendall Group.  I arrived at Kendall Gulch (11,700’) at 3pm, and it was raining.  It was only supposed to rain until 3pm, so I didn’t think much of it, put on my rain gear, and was on the trail at 3:20pm.

This is a road hike.  I followed the 4WD road for almost a mile until I came to a turn

I then turned left, and followed this road for another three quarters of a mile

The rain didn’t stop, but I’m mentally preparing myself to getting used to being uncomfortable.  I’d like to do a thru hike someday, but with my Raynaud’s the rain is a serious issue.  I figured today would be a good day to test how I did in the rain, when I had a vehicle nearby.  I continued on the road until I saw this

From here it’s a short trek to the summit.  Since it was raining the terrain was wet, and the scree was easy to ascend.  This was choose your own adventure, as all the gullies ‘go’. Here’s my route

And some step-by-step pictures

I summited Kendall Benchmark at 4:15pm

Kendall Benchmark:

Even though the clouds were spitting rain, they didn’t look menacing and I wasn’t hearing thunder.  However, at the summit I felt a buzz between a few rocks and decided to get off that summit ASAP.  I ran down the wet scree, back to the road.

Once back on the road, I followed it back to my truck

I made it back to my truck at 5pm, making this a 4.05 mile hike with 1597’ of elevation gain in 1 hour, 40 minutes.

On to the next trailhead!

Kendall Mountain – 13,353

RT Length:  6.19 miles

Elevation Gain: 2742’

Let me begin by saying Kendall Mountain was not my first intended peak of the day, so my stats and topo map are a little off.  I made it to the Kendall Gulch parking area the night before, and slept at 11460’. 

The next morning I rose late, and was on the trail after the sun had risen, at 6am.  The road was easy to follow, and clear of snow the first half of the way.

I was originally headed toward Kendall Peak; specifically, the gully

Here are some pictures of the way to the gully… I just followed the road to a mine

Once at the base, the route looked simple enough:  I just needed to get up the gully to the ridge, and take the ridge to the summit

I’m really embarrassed to say this, but I wasn’t able to get up the gully.  I made it about half way, and it became too steep.  This was worse than kitty litter over rocks.  It was talus that gave way to rockslides, and tiny pebbles over rock.  Even with microspikes on, I couldn’t get traction, and kept slipping and falling down.  It’s a lot steeper than it looks. I tried several different routes, but was unable to gain traction on any of them.  After my fourth or fifth attempt, I started thinking to myself – who wasn’t wearing a helmet – “This isn’t the way I want to die.”  While I might have been able to make it up (doubtful) going down was going to be worse.   I made the decision to come back in the winter and try this as a snow climb, which should provide more traction.  This was a difficult decision to make, but I knew it was the correct one.

So, I backtracked, and tackled Kendall Mountain.  I hiked back to a junction in the road, at 12.265’. 

From the junction, I headed up to PT 12660

From PT 12660 I turned right and followed the ridge northeast towards Kendall Mountain.

Here’s the route I took to the summit (solid line) and back down (dotted line).  You could go up the way I descended, but it would be steep. 

Here are some close-ups of the route to Kendall Mountain

The tundra gave way to small rocks toward the top

I summited Kendall Mountain at 9:20am

Kendall Mountain:

From the summit, when I looked southwest I could see my truck (circled)

I aimed for it, and the road below.  It’s important to head southwest, because the terrain cliffs out if you head directly south or southeast.  This was steep, but it was easy to gain traction.

I made it back to the road, and followed it to my truck.

Here’s a topo map of the haphazard route I took.