Nut Basin and Southwest Butte

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Southwest Butte almost makes it a marathon for Michael.

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NOAA wasn't being very supportive, with a 70%POP in the afternoon, and possible thunderstorms. Apparently Michael had not read this, because he said he wanted to go for Southwest Butte. I questioned his sanity and realized that in his state he needed the support of his friends.

So when this snow patch blocked further progress, we were still a few miles from where we had intended to park.

Combined with the fact that Michael had run a half marathon the day before, this promised to be quite the outing.

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The first mile and a half went pretty well, mostly on bare (not dry) road. Then we got to the gravel patch. The other side was all snow, so out came the snowshoes.

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We were out of the trees briefly, so could see both Nut Basin Viewpoint (right) and in the left distance, Southwest Butte.

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Looking south, Patrick Butte was spectacular from this angle.

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Darkening skies. Trailhead

We took some shortcuts as we made our way up "The Nut" (on the right).

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Gospel Humps sit east of this area.

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The 'viewpoint' is an old lookout. Trailhead

Looking north-northwest. There is a lookout on the farthest point.

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There it is zoomed in: Slate Point lookout.

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Looking the other way, there's Chair Point lookout.

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But back to our climb today: there's Southwest Butte. P2K. But notice the slightly confused ridge lines between here and there. Should be interesting. Trailhead
Under the snow, we could hardly follow the road,let alone find trail. But the GPS was working. Golly, there's a sign! Trailhead

At first the ridge was easy to follow. But then came a traverse that I could not snowshoe- the snow was simply too slurpy for my snowshoes to grip on the side hill. So I booted this section while Michael was able to stay on his snowshoes.

Not long after this it started to rain lightly, so the camera went away.

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Due to the ongoing drizzle, I switched to a poncho. Here, I have whipped my camera out from under the poncho to capture Michael laboring away about 200' below the summit.

Just above here there was a short, very steep section. We both took off our snowshoes and I was in the process of leading up, kicking steps, when the wind lifted my poncho over my head. Not only was I now fully exposed to the wind and sideways rain, but just as I really need to see where I was going to avoid a fall, my head was now inside a giant blue nylon bag.

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I swore a little bit, got the spinnaker under control, and pulled myself up onto the ridgetop. Wiping my glasses, I found a rock to stand behind while I changed rain gear. Then, looking up I realized we were not quite on the high point. And where were my snowshoes? ummmm..... Trailhead

We booted through the sloppy snow to get a summit shot, then immediately turned tail.

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Of course, once we got off the summit it cleared up. And the precip dissipated. sigh Trailhead

Another look.

Following a slightly different line on our return, we found a short section of trail tread sticking out of the snow. It appears there is a nice trail out here.

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Following our tracks on the ridge on our return. It's getting lighter! Trailhead

Don't adjust your screen- that really is some bluish-looking sky.

That's Nut Viewpoint ahead. On our return, instead of going back over the to, we followed the road that is doing a dropping traverse to the right.

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Then came the long, long slog back to the car. But we made the most of it, admiring the views and occasionally complaining that we shouldn't be snowshoeing in late May.

Along the way I got this photo of the three peaks I climbed last weekend on my way to Chair Point, on the right.

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