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Ascent of Big Butte on 2013-06-20

Climber: Craig Willis

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Thursday, June 20, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Big Butte
    Location:USA-Washington
    Elevation:5010 ft / 1527 m

Ascent Trip Report

This was my second hike/summit of the day, but their locations give an odd appearance on maps for ascents on the same day. Early that morning I had hiked Peak 5082 in Hells Canyon while we had a bunch of hours to kill waiting for our jet boat pickup. After we arrived back in Clarkston that afternoon, we headed south towards Enterprise and Joseph.

When we got to Anetone, there was a small sign saying "Big Butte Lookout: 9 Miles" (or something like that). We headed east on Mill Road, which is paved. We then headed southwest on West Mountain Road, which was excellent gravel. That road eventually became a dirt-only forest road for the final 2.5 miles or so to the Big Butte spur road. The dirt road section leading to the spur road was very drivable for our car but would not be fun in wet conditions.

We could have driven our car a short distance along the lookout spur road, but it really was not necessary. It was a quick ascent. My wife stayed back at the car, exhausted from a long two-day span. I was excited to visit Big Butte. The lookout tower is damaged about 2/3 of the way up the tower. It looks like several wooden beams are completely broken through, and several others are on the ground.

In advance of our trip, I had contacted the Pomeroy Ranger District. According to one of the rangers there, the lookout tower is currently *not* planned for demolition or removal. In fact, I was told that there is a proposal to fix the tower but there is currently no budget for the repairs. Upon being told this, I commented, "So what that probably really means is that there is no budget and there won't be a budget in the foreseeable future. So either a budget appears or the tower falls down, whichever comes first. And the most likely scenario is that the tower will fall down before a budget for the repairs can be generated. Correct?" The reply back to me was, "Well, basically..."

Just in case the tower never gets repaired, fire lookout aficionados should visit this one while it lasts.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:250 ft / 77 m
    Trailhead:4760 ft / 1450 m
    Quality:1 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Open Country
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Overcast
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:0 Days 0 Hours 8 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:0 Days 0 Hours 7 Minutes



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