Monument Gulch Triple Play by Livingston Douglas

This multi-peak climb and ridge traverse covers Peak 6188 (Boyer Gulch Peak), Peak 6130 (Middleman Peak), and Peak 6291 (Monument Gulch Peak). Each of these peaks lies west of Monument Gulch. The climb begins and ends at a pass at the head of Monument Gulch. The elevation at this pass is 5,660 feet. This multi-peak climb and ridge traverse covers 11.7 miles and entails 2,300 feet of elevation gain. USGS Dempsey Meadows

Date of Climb: October 12, 2019

Access—Monument Gulch/Bliss Road

Monument Gulch Road is accessed from ID-20 at Hill City. Like all roads in the Mount Bennett Hills, this road may be rough or muddy at times. From Hill City on US-20, drive south at the intersection signed for the Camas Prairie Centennial Marsh (Swamp Road/1300W) for 3.1 miles to a road junction. Turn L/E onto Stokes Road/600S and drive 0.7 miles to an [unsigned] road junction at the base of Monument Gulch. This is Monument Gulch Road. Turn R/S drive 2.9 miles south up Monument Gulch Road to a cattle guard at a pass. Park in a large parking area just past the cattle guard on the R/E side of the road. You can even make this area work as a dispersed campsite, if you so desire.

The Climb

Please note that the Mountain Home BLM Map fails to show many of the roads that exist in the area of this climb. The USGS Dempsey Meadows quadrangle DOES show the roads/trails so the USGS topo map is a MUST for this climb. It even shows the main road (used for hiking much of the road mileage) in RED, so it is particularly useful!

From the pass at the head of Monument Gulch, follow Monument Gulch Road south for 1.2 miles to an unsigned road junction. Go R/NW on an ATV road/trail and remain on it as it gradually climbs a gulch then flattens out and turns W then SW, dropping into a second gulch. The old road/trail then turns R/NW and climbs the second gulch to reach a saddle just E of Peak 6188. After hiking about 3-3/4 miles on this ATV road/trail, leave the road before reaching the pass and hike up a weak 2-track jeep road (not shown on any maps) up a side gully of field grass and scrub to reach the Southeast Ridge.

Once on the Southeast Ridge, bushwhack N up through thick scrub and sagebrush to reach rocky Point 6113 (cairn here). Continue NW along the torturous ridge for almost ½ mile. The mix of scrub and boulders is tedious and a series of false summits will unnerve you. The summit of Peak 6188 is at the very north end of the summit ridge. From the summit, descend the scrub-covered East Face to reach the ATV road/trail at a point above where you left it earlier.

Follow the ATV road/trail southward. After the road jogs to the east, it reaches a meadow. There is an unsigned road junction here. An old jeep track heads NE up a wide gulch. Follow this old road about ¼ mile. Leave the road and bushwhack diagonally upward and NE to reach a rocky point just south of ridge Point 6091 on the South Ridge of Peak 6130. You may find a cattle trail(s) to help you weave your way up through the sagebrush on this upward, angled endeavor. Either skirt the L/W side of the minor ridge point or climb up over it and then drop to a small saddle just S of Point 6091.

From the saddle, scramble N up over rocky Point 6091 then drop to a brushy saddle, crossing a stiff cattle fence on the way. Work your way through some boulders and thick scrub/brush to finally reach easier going high up. The summit of Peak 6130 is either the 10-foot rocky outcrop just S of the gentle summit hump or is the hump itself. They measure of equal height, according to my altimeter, so stand on both just to be sure.

From the summit, descend a shoulder SE to a cattle fence. Cross to the S side of the fence and follow it through thick sagebrush to reach a narrow gap/pass with a good jeep road crossing it from north to south. From here, scramble eastward up the R/S side of the fence row through sagebrush. Move to the L/N side of the fence row after a short distance in order to have easier, less thick scrub to maneuver through. The cattle fence eventually disappears in a gully. Continue scrambling up the wide open, rounded ridge to reach Point 6253. The true summit is another ¼ mile away (to the NE) and you must drop a sizable 100 feet to a scrub-filled saddle and then climb a final ridge section E to reach the gentle, open summit of Peak 6291.

From the summit, follow the tedious, “chunky” (ground talus + clumpy scrub) terrain on the ridge southeast to a scrub-clogged saddle. From the unpleasant saddle, climb SE up easier scrub to reach the 6-foot cairn atop Point 6269. From here, descend S and cross the upper reaches of a gully. Cross the gully and follow a cattle/game trail to contour onto the East Shoulder. Follow the R/S side of the shoulder in a gully of tall, thick sagebrush (with gaps and some minor cattle trails), aiming for the pass at the head of Monument Gulch and your parking/camping spot. Cross a final cattle fence to reach Monument Gulch Road and the parking/camping area.