Ascent of Benewah Benchmark on 2009-07-29

Climber: Edward Earl

Date:Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Hi-Clearance Vehicle
Peak:Benewah Benchmark
    Elevation:4806 ft / 1464 m

Ascent Trip Report

On ID-5 about 2 miles W of the center of St Maries, I turned S on Cherry Creek Rd. The turnoff is 0.2 mile W of the crossing of Cherry Creek, and about 0.5 mile W of a logging stockyard. Zero or note your odometer at the turnoff. At 0.2 mile the pavement ends and the gravel beyond is well-graded and suitable for any street legal vehicle. There are occasional residences on both sides of the road. At 2.8 miles, pass Cherry Hill Lane which goes L. At 3.3 miles, I turned L into a logging area where orange caution signs warned of logging operations. There were no gates or signs prohibiting entry. The road was rough and climbed steeply through the logging area and soon entered the forest beyond. A vehicle without high clearance may have trouble. At 3.7 miles the road made a sharp R, then L, as it entered another clear cut. At 4.4 miles I turned R at an unmapped junction. At 4.7 miles I parked at a wide spot in the road just before "junction 4024" in the SW corner of section 6 and began hiking here.

The topo map shows that both branches at this junction reach the summit, though neither does so very directly. I chose to turn L. The road gained the NE ridge of the peak, where there was an unmapped junction from which an unmapped road headed directly up the NE ridge instead of traversing the E face, as the mapped road does. I chose the unmapped road directly up the ridge. The road was well-defined for a few minutes but gradually petered out and also left the crest of the ridge and began traversing the E face. When I realized it was of no more help, I turned R off of it and bushwhacked directly uphill, intercepting the mapped summit road just S of the summit. A minute or two on the main summit road broght me to an oblique spur road to the highest ground, which was heavily covered by huckleberry and devil's club. It is anyone's guess where is the highest ground under the heavy brush cover. I tried to find the bench mark but soon realized it was a lost cause. I stepped on every place where it looked like there might be a mound underneath and called it good.

I'm a fan of loop trips, so I hiked back down to my truck via the roads on the W ridge and N face.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:866 ft / 263 m
    Round-Trip Distance:2 mi / 3.2 km
    Trailhead:3940 ft / 1200 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Bushwhack
Ascent Statistics
    Time:0 Hours 45 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:0 Hours 40 Minutes

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