Elkhorn Peak Comments

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gjagiels - Jun 8, 2007 3:21 am - Voted 10/10


Page & peak, I haven't noticed this one but will definately check it out now thanks to your page, looks like a good peak and it has some prominence.



mountaingazelle - Jun 8, 2007 12:50 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Nice

Thanks Greg, I will be adding a Bannock Range page soon. There are at least 4 prominence peaks in the range. The only mountains that are climbed often are Oxford Peak and some of the peaks near Pocatello. This is a nice area and a great place to escape the crowds.

Dmitry Pruss

Dmitry Pruss - Jun 8, 2007 2:35 pm - Voted 10/10

One was labeled as the Horn and another had an arrow

MG, the arrow is a standart 20th century Reference Mark which helped to verify the position of the benchmark or restore it if it is lost. Survey markers typically have good description in the NGS database, often dating back to the famous 19th century surveys.
But this cairn (NU1591 in the NGS database, the high number indicating that it isn't among the oldest markers in the map grid) is apparently not authenticated by the NGS. Description just reads, "First observed by USGS, 1968". NU1952 is a 1934 issue BM disk with two "Arrow" ref marks, "REFERENCE MARK NO. 1--STANDARD REFERENCE TABLET STAMPED---SOUTH ELKHORN NO 1 1934---, CEMENTED IN ROCK OUTCROP, 10.24 FT. FROM STATION MARK, S 49 DEG 58 MIN W. REFERENCE MARK NO. 2--STANDARD REFERENCE TABLET STAMPED---SOUTH ELKHORN NO 2 1934---, CEMENTED IN ROCK OUTCROP, 24.08 FT. FROM STATION MARK, N 16 DEG 48 MIN E.". Those may have been lost 'cuz 1968 survey placed there, again, a standart BM disk "Horn 1968" (NU1950) with two std "arrow disk" ref marks.
Sorry for the longish comment, I am just partial to the Great Surveys and their marks, and it sometimes gets a tad too arcane :)

Dmitry Pruss

Dmitry Pruss - Jun 8, 2007 2:52 pm - Voted 10/10

actually check it

about 1934 marks being destroyed - at leat RM No. 1 from 1934 was alive and kicking last summer, there is a picture of it on the web. Maybe the other one disappeared? I am just trying to guess why the 1968 crew did what the did ... if they were like clueless then maybe their "first-observed" verdict about the cairn is just as wrong.
But to put some historical perspective on it: the original Oxford BM (NU1562) was, as befits a respected XIXth century mountaintop benchmark, a puny copper bolt (not a cairn), put in place in 1897 (i.e. years after your story), and it was reported missing in the 1960s. So maybe the cairns were the originals but survey descriptions ended up lost by then-Coastal and Geodetic Service?


mountaingazelle - Jun 8, 2007 4:07 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: actually check it

Wow, you know more about this benchmark stuff than I do. The cairn on top was built by the first ascent party. The cairn was probably the original survey since it was a long time ago. All of the bench markers on summit ridge are scattered around the high point. There are two named South Elkhorn Peak on either side of the cairn. The one labeled as the Horn and the one with a marker on it are a little farther south. I guess, in the 1870’s they did not keep track of things very well.

There were two survey teams in the area that including the Hayden Survey and Wheeler Survey. The Hayden Survey wanted to name the mountain West Malade Peak. Oxford Peak across the valley was known as East Malade Peak so this makes sense. Both of those names did not stay though. The Wheeler Survey wanted to give the name Elkhorn Peak to the mountain to the north that would later be called Wakley Peak. This is why Elkhorn Peak has a benchmark labeled as South Elkhorn Peak. Are you confused yet?

Anyway, I thought it was a neat mountain to climb. I recommend it, since this is the kind of mountain that you like. Oxford Peak is also nice and has a long ridgeline. The summit had a cemented box type cairn. Many people climb Oxford Peak compared to Elkhorn Peak each year.

vancouver islander

vancouver islander - Jun 8, 2007 4:18 pm - Voted 10/10

Re: actually check it

I learnt a lot about US bench marks from a thread I started in the general forum a few weeks ago. (http://www.summitpost.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=28902&highlight=bench+marks)

Very nice page. Super pictures too.

Dmitry Pruss

Dmitry Pruss - Jun 8, 2007 7:17 pm - Voted 10/10

in the 1870’s they did not keep track

Yes and now. Tons of handwritten paper records from that era in govt. storage, especially from GLO (now BLM) surveyors, almost none of it digitized though. The Great Surveys were a pretty disorganized affair to say the truth, every explorer wanted to don Louis and Clark's old garb and leave one's mark before others do. So GLO and the military and the govt. geologists all raced to map and explore the West, and they didn't have that much esteem for one another or that much willigness to share the raw data.
The triangulation surveys like Gannett's - even if some folders or pages disappeared, a partial info can often be gleaned from cross-references between triangulation station descriptions. In any case some sort of the overview report must have survived, otherwise how would the info get into this book you cited?

Dmitry Pruss

Dmitry Pruss - Jun 8, 2007 7:30 pm - Voted 10/10

Re: benchmark thread

As I say the subject is very arcane and can be discussed in bundles of threads, but the basic SP connection is very simple.

There are many BMs on the mountains because of line-of-sight advantage for triangulation. Most of the BMs are standard-issue brass disks. However not all BMs are disks (bolts and chisel marks are common but there are dozens of mark types), and certainly not all standard disks are benchmarks (reference marks and azimuth marks are most often disks too, but clearly marked as such. Their purpose is different, although of course laymen call all of them benchmarks, and wonder why they are so many of them).

Another reason for "why so many" is that USGS (the topo agency among other things) does not maintain a national database. NGS does, but it only contains a partial listing of USGS marks. Therefore, other agencies (USDA, USFS, BoR, state agencies) are tempted to "monument" (in their lingo) their own BMs whenever needed for their surveys, instead of sharing the ones which are already there.


Dean - Jul 13, 2009 6:31 am - Voted 10/10

The summit campground

We were surprised to find that this tiny campground (12 sites) was one where all of the campsites were already taken by a reservation system instead of a first come first served situation. We got a site on a friday morning (11:40 a.m.) only because the people who had it reserved withdrew their reservation a few minutes before we arrived. So, don't plan on getting an open camp spot on a weekend. Weekdays may be fine.


mountaingazelle - Jul 13, 2009 10:34 am - Hasn't voted

Re: The summit campground

Thanks Dean, I knew it was popular. I’ve never camped there myself since my family lives nearby. I added your info about the campground to the page.

annerk - Jul 5, 2019 8:10 pm - Voted 10/10

Rough Road

Summitted today. It was really great. Took the north ridge and then headed south, and after much off trailing found the Kent's Canyon trail and ended up making a 9.5 mile loop of it. I would NOT suggest a passenger car try and make it to the trailhead. Our subaru barely made it. Next time we'll just park at the campground and hike the road.

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