Hard Butte


A gorgeious fall day offers snow and scrambling on Hard Butte.

Note: click images to see a larger version in a new window

Well, for starters let me say I forgot my camera. So these pictures are from our trip last year to Patrick Butte, which starts at the same trailhead. The first couple of miles follow the same ATV trail, and like last year we rode this section on our mountain bikes. This year, however, there was fresh snow and mud to deal with, unlike the dry trail pictured here from September 06.

So on with the report- after sleeping at Art and Carol's house in Lake Fork the night before, we had a leisurely breakfast (and quite good) at the Hotel McCall, then rolled out of town at about 10:30. We were on our bikes at about noon, dressed in our brightest colors so to offer a premium target to the hunters.




This is what Hard Butte looks like from about 1/3 of the way on the ATV trail. We rode across the Warms Springs Saddle, then headed south (left in this picture) along the base of the mountain. We then ditched our bikes and started walking up the ridge that is just to the right of the summit (not the right skyline). After a very short distance, we were hiking in snow. As we got higher on the north face, the snow became quite deep, as much as knee-deep. Again, this picture is from a dry day last year.

Grassy hillsides

After gaining the shoulder of the ridge, we chose to swing over to the south side, out of the snow. From there, we scrambled up some Class III terrain to the summit. The tiny top is inhabited by a fallen-down lookout with incredible views in all directions.

There was some clouds on the horizon, and also covering some of the summits, here and there. Standing in the wind admiring the view, we decided to scoot about 20 feet down from the summit. Out of the breeze, we sat in the sun while we had a relaxed lunch.

Then we hiked down the south-east face (left of the summit, facing the camera in this picture) , eventually arriving at Rainbow Lake. From the lake, we followed the ATV track back to our bikes. There, we changed back to cycling shoes and rode the 3 miles back to the car. We got back to McCall at about 6pm.

On the drive back to McCall, Tom and I noted how pleasant the say had been, especially since it was slow-paced and relaxed compared to many of our outings this year. No 5am, coffee-infused mad dashes to a remote trailhead. No fervent ground-pounding trying to beat high noon to the summit. No endless slogging back to a remote trailhead, only to be followed by a long, long drive back to the house late at night.

Instead, we rode our bikes back to the trailhead, drove a short ways, had pizza and watched a movie. THIS is the life.

Congratultaions to our good friend Jerry, who became a father today for the first time at age 52. You are a brave, brave man!

Mr. Natural Home | 2007 | Back to top of page | Questions :: e-mail to splattski