Elevation: 7,097 ft
This peak is not in the book. Published November 2019
Gas Benchmark is a ranked summit located in the Sheep Creek Hills south of Montpelier, Idaho. This area is mostly private land but there are access roads through it to reach BLM land (to the east and south) and National Forest land (to the north). If you stay on the main roads, the driving is easy and can be done with a passenger vehicle. If road conditions permit, you can drive to a BLM pullout at the base of the west face of Gas Benchmark and have a short, easy hike to the sagebrush-covered summit. USGS Montpelier Canyon
West Shoulder, Class 1
From the stoplight at the south end of Montpelier, ID (on US-30), drive south on US-30 for 2.1 miles. Turn left/east onto [signed] Bear Hollow Road, a good gravel road. Bear Hollow Road heads east then turns right/south to reach an unsigned junction at 0.9 miles. Turn left/east here onto [unsigned] Banks Valley Road, another good gravel road. Drive 1.0 mile on Banks Valley Road to reach a signed junction. Go right here to remain on Banks Valley Road. Head southeast on Banks Valley Road for just over a mile to an unsigned junction. Go right/south here and drive just over a mile (passing underneath powerlines on the way) to reach another unsigned junction. At this final junction, go left/east and drive about a mile to the BLM boundary (BLM Road #081) and a large parking area. Park here. The elevation here is 6,260 feet.
If you are unable to drive all the way to the BLM boundary, park along Banks Valley Road and do a rather enjoyable road hike as I did. I parked just before a rocky, rutted section of the road where I did not want to potentially get stuck. I did a road hike of about 2-1/2 to 3 miles to reach the BLM boundary. The best map to visualize the roads is the Caribou-Targhee National Forest Map/Montpelier Ranger District. It is an excellent way to visualize this approach and stay on the correct roads.
West Shoulder, Class 1
From the large parking area, hike straight east up an obvious old jeep track that is now closed to motorized vehicles. This road is quite steep but makes for good hiking. The road becomes very weak once you reach the summit cap but there is a faint track leading to the high point. The summit cap has thick sagebrush all over it. There is no summit cairn but there are triangulation posts laying on the ground, so the surveyors were here. I could not locate the USGS benchmark amongst the thick sagebrush, which probably now hides it well (unless it has been removed). Wander around a little bit to satisfy yourself that you have stood on the high point.
South Face, Class 2
Same as for the west shoulder
From the brushy summit, descend straight down the south face to reach BLM Road #081. Follow the road west back to the large parking area at the base of the west face. The terrain on the south face is steep sagebrush with a loose scree/gravel base. Certainly not a good ascent route and not a very good descent route when you have the old jeep road as your descent option on the west shoulder. But at least it is a different route from the rather boring ascent route.