Buttercup Mountain

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John finds us a harder way up Buttercup Mountain.

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The weather hasn't been cooperating much recently. Yesterday we climbed in Nevada because the weather had provided a hole of sunshine over the Winnemucca area. Today, we were heavily influenced by Fadgmo's recent climb of Beaver Peak and his resulting sudden infatuation with this route up Buttercup Mountain.

I was enjoying the 'ignorance is bliss' situation of letting him completely direct the outing. But as I realized our situation (that's the peak waaay over there, with many ridges to cross) I was questioning that wisdom.

Trailhead

 

John knows that I love ridge walks and loops, so he was working his best persuasion on me: "Isn't this cool? Check out the big piece of country we get to explore!"

Yes, John, it is big. I'm just not sure I wanted to know this many ridges today.

Miners Peak

We spotted some elk and took advantage of their trail to climb over and around several more ridges.

South Fork of the Salmon River

After a couple of hours, we finally got to a spur of the ridge that we would actually attempt to climb. Well, at least we were finally in the right drainage.

Then we ran into a series of gendarmes. As we approached, they didn't look too bad. But with hands on, we realized how poor the rock was. We spent as much time going down as we did going up, burning about an hour to negotiate a gendarme that we could have hiked around in 15 minutes. Such is the life of the explorer.

Miners Peak close-up

Here we are finally on our ridge, the one we intended to climb, with the summit in view above us.

Ponderosa forest
It was fun, and threw a few challenges our way. But we opted for the route that required the fewest gear changes and made it up this little slot without getting the crampons out. Snowshoes

From there, it was a steady hike to the summit with only a few postholes.

Really a fun climb, and there was still some blue sky here and there, despite the gray masses of snow-clouds to the north and south. But the wind was up, so we did not tarry long. That and we were headed down a different (unknown) way, so needed to keep an eye on the clock.

Upper ridge and lookout

We were dreading the thousands of false summits on the ridge, but right away, on the first one, we found a way around. Excellent. Especially if you like steep side hilling on loose talus. I don't.

Approaching the cornice

But we found it's a lot easier if you add some snow (not). Snow on the rocks, and snow in your eyes- it was blowing about 20-30mph, which also made the mild spring temps seem somewhat cold and bitter.

Girls

But we soldiered on, continuing in our good luck of avoiding needless bumps on the ridge, and then even finding good elk trails. At one point, we startled a herd of pronghorns, which put on a silly display of semi-avoidance for us.

Then we walked out of the storm, to finish as we started: in bright sunshine with awesome views of a very pretty valley.

Fadgmo's trip report

Summit ridge

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