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Ascent of Saddle Butte on 2010-09-11

Climber: Craig Willis

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Saturday, September 11, 2010
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Summit:Car
Peak:Saddle Butte
    Location:USA-Washington
    Elevation:5880 ft / 1792 m

Ascent Trip Report

This was my fourth of four CoGPPs summited in one day. I was able to drive my passenger vehicle to the summit, although I had to stop *numerous* times along FR-470 to remove hidden rocks. This was yet another example of me taking my passenger car on terrain that it really did not belong. High-clearance vehicles *strongly* recommended, and some might even say required.

Awesome Animal Sightings:
During my descent, I saw a cougar running down FR-40 from the slopes of Saddle Butte. I also encountered the largest bird I have ever personally seen in wilderness: a California condor. At first I could not believe it, but there was no mistaking the species (as I had previous seen them in captivity, in books, and on television). Some people I initially told about the sighting thought I was mistaken, as California condors had not been in Northwest wilderness areas for many years. I did some research after returning home and found out the Oregon Zoo had released 10 California condors (including three from the previous year). I contacted the Oregon Zoo and informed them of the GPS coordinates where the sighting occurred; I was informed that it is likely I saw one of "their" released birds, as several had been released west of the Blue Mountains... although they wish I had been able to see the bird's number on its wings. It was likely a once-in-a-lifetime bird sighting for me, and not one I will soon forget.
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