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Mountains As Benchmarks, Revisited


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The previous thread that I had started on this has dropped off the bottom of the stack, so I have to start a new one.


I went in search of SY1866, Boulder Peak, this past weekend. It was a solo trip, but I had to fight amongst three people for priorities, the Benchmark Hunter, the Mountaineer, and the Photographer. All three of us wanted to get to the top for various reasons.


Unfortunately, the Photographer won out on a couple of arguments as to what was truly neccessary for the trip and I ended up carrying too much camera equipment and not enough water to successfully complete the summit attempt. I made it to within 200 horizontal feet of the station, but was still a good 300 vertical feet below it. I was pretty exhausted, had used half my water, and knew I still needed to get back down. I probably could have made it to the summit, but I'd have been exhausted and out of water. So I headed back to camp.


But I still count the trip as a success because I learned a few things that I'll need for my next attempt.


1. The Mountaineer gets veto power over the Photographer and Benchmark Hunter for such searches. Yeah, it'd be nice to have all your toys with you at the top of the mountain, but we're all in agreement that we want to get there.


2. Carry twice as much water and half as much camera gear.


3. Start early enough to avoid the brutal sun and you won't spend as much time drinking water and looking for nearly non-existant shade.


4. Your GPS that was nearly useless down in the tree covered valleys (My etrex hates tree cover.) really comes into it's own up on the mountain slopes. Nine or more stong sattelites and 9 foot accuracy. I don't think I've ever seen it so good.


5. Those nice green patches that look so pretty from down below are harder to navigate than the rocky places. It's difficult to find your footing when the ground beneath is covered by shrubbery.


6. Regardless of how it looks on the map, following the ridgeline generally sucks. You're better off traverseing a bit below, in the boulder fields.


From my base camp at Boulder Lake, I also took some pictures of the ridgeline I followed. My hope is to scan them and use the information to better plot my route for my next attempt.


Just thought I'd share this here first. I'm off to post it as a note at the GC site. I'll have some pictures to add later, once I get them out of the camera.



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Red_Cedars -


Wow, you're a trinity! That's one excellent thing about this hobby - it's compatible with multi-tasking-fun. I have combined mine with antique hunting, beachgoing, vacations, and even my cousin's wedding.


Benchmark hunting on mountains is, as many of us know, the very best of the hobby.

There's nothing like finally reaching the top!

There's nothing like the photographic scenery on mountains, and the tremendous views from the summit.

And, there's nothing like looking around carefully, and suddenly ...... there it IS! :D


Good luck on your next push to the top!

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Nice Trekking!


You may find that a Camelbak or some other brand of Hydration pack would be just what you need to carry the water and gear without compromise.


I wear a 70 oz Military Camelbak during the workday and it makes all the difference in the world. it is just a water bladder, and fits under my Survey Safety Vest. I have so many things to carry, having the water on my back is the best place. Just fill up and go.


Here are a couple options as a for instance:






If you prefer industrial quality Camelbak over sport quality, you'll find it here:




Enjoy, Rob

Edited by evenfall
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You may find that a Camelbak or some other brand of Hydration pack would be just what you need to carry the water and gear without compromise.

Hey Rob,


I think you make an excellent recommendation there. It hadn't occured to me that one of the problems I had was the water bottle swinging around on my belt. It' be a lot better to have something that fit closer to the body. I'll check out the links. I'm pretty sure my backpack is "hydration ready" as well.




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Just as an aside:


My hiking gear of choice is a Vietnam era military ensemble. It consistes of a standard web belt with load-bearing suspenders. I carry a 'rump-pack' on the back, two 1-quart canteens (one on each side), compass on the left front and first aid kit on the right front.


This puts all the weight very low and rear-ward and equally distributed around my waist and off my shoulders.


For those extra long hikes, I wear a 1-1/2 Liter Camelback.


Everything else I need is usually in the pockets of my various vests that I wear.

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R_C, Like Spoo's setup you can add a Bladder, at least, it sounds like that is what Spoo has going on in his set up. It is just handy to reach for the Tube over your shoulder...


If you have a Pack you already like and would like to add a Hydration Bladder, here are a couple options:





Or Military Grade:



I own 2 different Military Grade Camelbaks. They are made from Cordura. One is a straight Bladder for work. I wear it daily. I fill it half full at night and toss it in the spare fridge, in the morning I add ice cubes in the summertime and top it off. I have extra water to replenish it in my lunch pail if need be. I have had it 3 years now and it is still like new. The only failures have been one bite shut off valve under hard regular use. That probably add to over Four or Five Thousand hours of use. The other is Mil Grade as well but I use it as more of a Day Pack, and on the Mountain Bike as well. I feel they have been a very good value for the price. While I have no experience with the sport models, they are similar, less expensive and will likely hold up well, but they are not constructed nearly as heavy.


Good luck with those, they are a great tools for packing and hunting Survey Markers.



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Well, since this has become the "hiking for benchmarks" thread, we will add our two cents: Camelbak stuff rocks! High quality, well thought-out, user friendly. We own four different Camelbaks, for different kinds of hiking. For serious long day hiking, in water poor (or water non-existent) areas, I sometimes start off with a one liter bag with sport drink (GU2O is great), for the electrolytes, in the "gear" compartment" of my Camelbak HAWG, and three litters of water in the normal water compartment. All iced down, of course. Good for 15 miles or 3500 ft vertical, whichever comes first.

Here's a

typical example, about 10 miles and 2000 ft up, as I recall. Couldn't have done it without my camelbak!

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