Ascent of Brown Benchmark North on 2014-05-24

Climber: Ben Lostracco

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Saturday, May 24, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Brown Benchmark North
    Location:Canada/United States
    Elevation:3541 ft / 1079 m

Ascent Trip Report

A USA/CA Boundary Line westbound hike to 5 Peaks ..... 12km, 6h30 hours RT including all of the summit breaks noted in the Report.

Yesterday morning I failed in my short-cut/attempt to access the Brown Benchmark Ridge from the west side .... the route's bushwack section was very rough and dense and not at all to my liking, I turned around. So today I decided to access the Ridge eastbound on the USA/CA Boundary Line Swath, starting at Boundary Monument 416 and going over the same 2 Peaks of 2 days ago (Boundary Peak 414.39 and Joseph Benchmark). This eastbound route takes me to 5 Peaks, all as per this TR.

My TH was at the very south-end of Chemin Pisgah in ZEC Secteur Louise (the end of the driveable road), 19.1km south of the Accueil. For the driving directions this TH and the Zec's entrance fees see my Mount Pisgah-Middle Peak TR. All distances in this TR are guess-estimates.
The weather not looking good, however it turned out ok ..... I ended up getting a 15 minute light sprinkle.

From my TH I walked the rough/wet woods road south .7km to the USA/CA Boundary Line Swath and Boundary Monument 416 (in a very wet/boggy col). I actually stayed left the last 100+ meters inside the woods to avoid the wet stuff. At the Swath a right (westbound) climbs to Mount Pisgah, I turned left and followed the Swath eastbound, visiting the 5 Peaks in the order listed in this TR.

The Boundary Line Swath overall is moderately-steep and with only one real obstacle ..... a 10 meter ledge just before arriving at Peak 414.13. At the bottom is a moose salt-lick trap and on top of the ledge a hunter's shooting cabin (on the Quebec side), a trail on the Quebec side climbs to the cabin.

For the most part the surface/footing is somewhat rocky/moss covered, nicely maintained with no tall grass/brush to speak of. A good animal path eases the going. The rocky/steeper sections were a bit tricky and slow/tough going, especially for me .... my response "as usual" was granny breaks.

A lot of moose activity is evident (droppings, foot prints, passed-by a rotting moose carcass on the way to Joseph Benchmark, saw 2 moose today-very curious animals). Just about every wet/boggy col or depression has a "Moose Trap" (salt-lick, cabin) with service tracks coming up to the swath, all on the Quebec side ..... what else would you call it, if not a "trap". Quebecers are big time moose hunters .... there is nothing of this on the Maine side of the Swath.
My visits to the different summits are as per following.

BOUNDARY PEAK 414.39 ..... eastbound on Swath, 2.2km, 1h05 hours from TH.
At an obvious height-of-land, right at a bend, is the "USA/CA BM 414.39" embedded in rock, the yellow "Witness Post Survey Marker" is attached to a tree on the USA side of the Swath. There is a small cairn. I passed the cast iron Monument No 415 a few hundred meters to the west in a swampy depression, a "moose trap" is 40 meters east of the summit. Good views of Mount Pisgah to the west. I spent 25 minute on the summit.

JOSEPH BENCHMARK ..... .8km, 15 minutes eastbound from Peak 414.39.
At an obvious peak with the actual high ground on the Canadian side of the Swath. I couldn't find the Joseph Benchmark, I did find "USA/CA BM #414.28", just 8 meters east of the high ground. Took 15 minutes to check-out things.

BOUNDARY PEAK 414.13 ..... eastbound on Swath, 1.8km, 45 minutes from Joseph Benchmark.
Obvious thick grass/moss covered rock-outcrop is capped with "USA/CA BM 414.13" .... I didn't actually see it but the evidence is undeniable .... survey stakes with pink tape, to the west at 60 meters is "USA/CA BM #414.14 and to the east at 15 meters is "USA/CA BM #414.12". The yellow "Witness Post Survey Marker" is on the Canadian side, with the high ground of the Peak on the USA side. Spent 20 minutes on this summit.
10 minutes walk before this Peak is the rock ledge that I talk-about above.

BROWN BENCHMARK ..... eastbound on Swath from Peak 414.13, .8km, 25 minutes.
Located right at the bend of the USA/CA Boundary Line, at "USA/CA BM #414.4" with the yellow "Witness Post Survey Marker" being on the USA side of the Swath. The actual high ground is on the USA side, looked-for/couldn't find the Brown Benchmark. Spent 15 minutes at this summit.

BROWN BENCHMARK NORTH ..... eastbound on Swath from Brown Benchmark, .4km, 10 minutes.
Also at the bend of the USA/CA Boundary Line, the HP on the Line with "USA/CA BM # 413.19". The cast iron Monument No 414 is 40 meters to the west at a lower elevation. This Peak offers an outstanding panorama to the east.
A glass jar canister with register was hung on the USA side, by Netarious Nate on 2009-09-19. No recent entries, I signed-in. I took a 30 minute lunch break.

I backtracked the 6km distance to the TH in 2h05 hours with minor stops. I enjoyed my day, even though these types of "out and back trips" in my quest for the USA/CA Boundary Line Peaks is not the most productive way to do them ..... no choice when one is alone and unsure of the trail that is ahead.

After getting cleaned up I drove home, ending my 4 day outing. I will have to come back a few more times to this Zec for the rest of the Boundary Peaks in this area.

TIED UP LIKE A BLACK VELVET BAND." ......... these lyrics from "black velvet band" were on my mind all day, probably due to our upcoming trip to Ireland.

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:21 ft / 6 m
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Open Country
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:21 ft / 6 m
    Distance:0.6 mi / 1 km
    Route:swath eb from brown benchmark
    Start Trailhead:Brown Benchmark  3520 ft / 1072 m
Descent Statistics
    Route:swath wb to brown benchmark
    End Trailhead:Brown Benchmark  
Ascent Part of Trip: brown-north

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Boundary Peak 414.392014-05-24 a770 ft / 235 m
2Joseph Benchmark2014-05-24 b210 ft / 64 m
3Boundary Peak 414.132014-05-24 c340 ft / 104 m
4Brown Benchmark2014-05-24 d280 ft / 85 m
5Brown Benchmark North2014-05-24 e21 ft / 6 m
6Brown Benchmark2014-05-24 f20 ft / 6 m
7Boundary Peak 414.132014-05-24 g100 ft / 30 m
8Joseph Benchmark2014-05-24 h140 ft / 43 m
9Boundary Peak 414.392014-05-24 i100 ft / 30 m
Total Trip Gain: 1981 ft / 603 m    Total Trip Loss: 260 ft / 78 m

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