Stewart Benchmark (NV)

Stewart Benchmark (NV)

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Least visited peak in Nevada

Until recently, there were several other mountains or peaks that could've vied for the "least visited" peak title but since pages for them have been posted on summitpost, that has changed quite a bit. On that list would be peaks such as Shingle Peak, Moody Peak, Butte Mountain, Ray, Kern and perhaps Hannum and Seven Throughs. These are still rarely visited but the ones who are chasing the Nevada P2k list is growing and so visits to them are happening. Anyway, this mountain is in an area that is just very isolated and it is recommended that a second vehicle is a good idea in case of a breakdown as cell phones don't work out in this area. This album will contain pictures and maps that will allow me to put together a summitpost page for this one so most likely I will delete this album when I can make the effort for a full mountain page for this one.

Where is this one at? is the best resource at the moment since it has a couple trip reports and GPS tracks. OK,  I'll give you a hint or two. The closest non town is Denio Nevada which sometimes has gas and sometimes doesn't.  Fill up in Winnemucca or Fields Ore  or in Gerlach Nevada.  Its very close to the Summit Lake Indian reservation (no gas, no services).  This is one where two vehicles is the smart way to travel.  It is a long drive on dirt roads so plan accordingly.

From Denio

Ken and I went in from Denio. We followed the roads on the Nevada Benchmark mapbook (page 31) and aimed for Santa Claus Springs. You really need to do your own research on this regarding maps and waypoints but this is what worked for me. However, my comments are only suggestions since I cannot take responsibility if you get lost back in there. Proceed at your own risk. From Denio, we went west for about 10 miles and turned off on Knotts Creek road, which led to the Knott Creek Ranch after about 14 miles. Going on past the ranch (this is decent road to this point) to a turnoff with county road 202 (can't remember if it is signed or not). We went right and found our way to Santa Claus Springs near a lat/long waypoint of 41.5943 118.9567
From Santa Claus Spring, it is important to make sure you take the correct road. Just beyond the springs, there is a road junction and a sign. We went south (or left) and headed toward Dry Lake Springs (see signs 2 & 3 map) as shown on National geographic topo. Benchmark shows it as just Dry lake. When we reached the junction, there were two signs. One directing travelers toward Summit Lake and another toward Barlett Creek Ranch. Turn toward the ranch, not the lake.  It is about 2.6 miles from here to a turn off on a lesser road that goes towards Stewart BM.  I've described this below.

The road continues east and drops after a while into Horseshoe Bend. It is a fairly steep drop down to a creek crossing and you might find 4WD necessary to get back up this grade on your return. Don't even think about it in wet weather. Shortly after passing the creek, the road heads uphill and you pass a sign telling you about the Lahontan Trout Wilderness area. The turn you want isn't much further past this sign and it is a rougher track that heads uphill to the right (south). The road gets a lot rougher and you will come to a gate that you will need to open and close. Keep going straight. When you get to a saddle near point 7644, you will see your goal across the valley ahead. Continue driving as far as you are comfortable and then park and walk up to the summit. A road tops out on point 8288 but you need high clearance, 4WD to get to the end. You might find it best to park at the base of this road and walk it. You'll pass a derelict of a vehicle that is still a reminder that not all vehicles are lucky.

Summit visits

They are rare as indicated in the first section but at latest count, it looks like 13 people in 16 years (as of 2015)

1999 - Gordon MacLeod and Barbara Lilley of Simi Valley Calif
2004 - Tom Roundtree of Minden Nevada
2005 - John Vitz of Oceanside Calif
2007 - D. Frierson of Medford Oregon
2008 - Don and Betsy Palmer of Minden Nevada
2009 - William Bock of Paradise Nevada and Kevin Lutes of Elko Nevada
2012 - Dennis Poulin of Medford Oregon
2014 - Ken Jones of Seattle Wash and Dean Molen of Lehi Utah
2015 - Bob Sumner of Hawthorne Nevada

Others may have been here such as hunters and BLM people but these are the only ones who have signed into the register found on the summit.


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