Squaw Butte

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A little imagination makes a local hike up Squaw Butte seem like real alpinism.

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The weather report didn't sound too great, but Matt was finally done with Finals and wanted to get out (and he invited me). I picked him up at 7:30 and despite the snowy roads we were walking just over an hour later. In intermittent clouds and fog, we made good time up the lower slopes.

Grassy hillside

We discussed various options and despite the occasional zero visibility, decided to try something a little more adventurous. Our target was the rocky outcropping in the center, just right of the gully.

Route

The snow was, well, interesting. In places it was hard enough to want crampons. And steep enough.

In other areas, a thin coat of fresh snow barely covered slippery grassy hummocks, which also probably would have been easier with crampons.

But there was plenty of in-between, where crampons would have been a hindrance.

We had it easy though, because we weren't carrying crampons so we didn't have to decide.

Towers

We went up through a little gully, then over the backside of a gargoyle. The cliffs above us were adorned with little icicles. Sorry, they weren't very photogenic, and every time I looked up we were getting dumped on by spindrift.

Gully

After a steep last pitch, which included some for-real ice, we gained the ridge.

Ridge top

All that was left was a couple hundred yards of post holing (our snowshoes were in the car, making that decision easy as well) and we were in the relative shelter of the lookout. Except we were hiding on a different side than I had on previous visits.

It was only 11, so we had a quick snack and 'hit the trail'. (quotations because there IS no trail)

Summit

If it was slick going up, you know it was worse on the descent. We went down the way I had previously, which at least was efficient.

This was a great outing with lots of good conversation, especially pertaining to year-end notions. One highlight was reminiscing about all the peaks Matt and I had climbed together this year. I think this was #7. But the good news is that so far, it hasn't really affected him.

Descent

Mr. Natural Home | 2010 | Back to top of page | Questions :: e-mail to splattski