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Ascent of Agate Benchmark on 2015-05-23

Climber: Edward Earl

Date:Saturday, May 23, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Agate Benchmark
    Location:USA-Montana
    Elevation:3725 ft / 1135 m

Ascent Trip Report

On Sarpy Rd (MT-384) mile 40.1, which is ~15 miles S of I-94, I turned W on gravel Burnt Creek Rd. Call the turnoff point mile 0.0. At mile 4.7 is a large unsigned triangle intersection where I turned L (S) on a road which is identified in deLorme as Iron Springs Rd. A sign soon after the intersection advises that the road is impassible when wet or snow covered, though it is OK for any street legal vehicle when dry. At 5.1 miles is a house on the R with the name "Barnes" in cast ironwork. At 6.0 miles the road tops out at a point where the 24K topo shows a 4-way intersection where the road headed W (R) would pass very close to your objective. In reality, this road does not exist. I continued downhill, passing by an earth dam on my R, then climbed until mile 6.5 where the road topped out at point 3444 on the topo. I parked here.

I hiked up the ridge to the W across open rangeland. The only animals present were wild deer. After ~15 minutes, I encountered a barbed wire fence. It was more difficult to cross than most others I have encountered, as it was much too high to step over, and its lowest wire was much too low to crawl under. I had to scout along it until I found a point where two intermediate wires were just barely far enough apart to spread farther apart and squeeze through. I continued uphill, then traversed L across a shallow basin before intercepting the grass road that passes a short distance N of the summit. It actually does exist at this point. The remainder of the way to the summit is simple and straightforward.

On the descent, I decided to stick with the road a little longer to see if it would be of use. It does indeed cross a gully W of "Well 3463", but then, instead of continuing NE, it turns again and continues to follow the gully SE. At this point I left it and crossed a few more gullies back to my truck.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:381 ft / 116 m
    Extra Gain:50 ft / 15 m
    Distance:3 mi / 4.8 km
    Trailhead:Iron Spring Rd  3444 ft / 1049 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Open Country
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:45 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:40 Minutes



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