Sunday, February 1, 2009

Squaw Butte Hike

The weather was supposed to be decent this weekend so I figured I would try to go on a solo hike somewhere close to home. I settled on Squaw Butte, a peak I climbed in 2003. I had never hiked its east side, so this choice even allowed seeing some new terrain. Of course I didn't read the weather reports well enough because on the drive over there it became apparent the peak was shrouded in fog. I didn't bring a map either because I figured I could see the peak from the road and easily find my way. Fortunately someone else was hiking the peak that day also, so I parked by his rig and just started hiking uphill.

From the drive over, it seemed clear that I would probably break out of the fog once I got high enough. Sure enough, that's what happened (right as I was starting to wonder if I was anywhere near the peak...). I ascended the southeast rib, the intended route which is popular due to class 3 rock climbing options it provides. I generally avoided the rock, though it was solid and made the route a little less boring. The entire ascent was uneventful, although up high it was rather slippery because above the clouds it was warm and the melting snow had turned much of the ground into mud.

The lookout on Squaw Butte isn't actually the highest point. The highest point (about 20' higher) is over two miles away on the ridge. Because I got such a late start (leaving the vehicle at about 11:40am) going over there was out of the question. I descended via a different ridge which was both less slippery and less rocky than the one used for ascent.

Despite being good exercise, this wasn't a very rewarding hike because much of the ground was muddy, the terrain was totally torn up by cow grazing, and the peak itself is covered in radio towers. I'm probably developing brain cancer as we speak!

Trip stats: 4.1 miles, 4.5 hours, 2200' gain

Squaw Butte Pictures!


MomV said...

Your face looks red and chapped. Did you see the other hiker, whose car you parked behind? Be careful on those slippery rocks. If you mess up your back, it is NO fun. Love, Mom

zdv said...

It was pretty windy up there, that is why my face looks so red.

I didn't see the other group even though they went the same way I did. Such is the power of fog!