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Ascent of Elk Benchmark on 2009-05-20

Climber: Edward Earl

Date:Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Elk Benchmark
    Location:USA-South Dakota
    Elevation:5669 ft / 1727 m

Ascent Trip Report

On US-16 2.8 miles E of the WY-SD state line, I turned S on Dewey Rd (AKA CR-769), which is well-graded gravel. Call this point mile 0.0. At 1.9 miles I veered R at a fork. At 3.0 miles I turned R on Elk Mtn Rd. At 4.0 miles I entered the Black Hills NF where a brown fiberglass wand said I was on FR-123. The road was quite narrow but still smooth and negotiable by any street legal vehicle. At 5.2 miles I crossed into WY. At 6.0 miles I passed through an open FS gate. At 6.5 miles I entered SD and a faded FS sign said I was now on FR-118. At 6.6 miles I entered a burn area. Most of the rest of the approach was through a vast burn area of scattered snags. At 7.3 miles was a water hole on the L. At 7.7 miles I went R at a fork. At 9.3 miles I parked at a turnaround area near the fire lookout tower. A small red car (belonging to the lookout attendant) was parked here.

I climbed the fire tower and chatted with the lookout attendant for a while. However, the ground around the tower is not the highest summit. I walked a few minutes W to bag the 5660+ area which may be higher than Elk BM. I then drove 0.4 miles back down the road to where it makes its closest approach to Elk BM itself. The hike to the BM took about 5 minutes O/W. Both hikes were over burnt deadfall.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:69 ft / 21 m
    Distance:0.3 mi / 0.5 km
    Trailhead:FR-118  5600 ft / 1706 m
    Route Conditions:
Open Country
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:5 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:5 Minutes



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