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Ascent of Thunder Butte Block on 2019-05-18

Climber: William Musser

Others in Party:Dan Conners
Date:Saturday, May 18, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Thunder Butte Block
    Location:USA-Colorado
    Elevation:9340 ft / 2846 m

Ascent Trip Report

Ok this may have been the best climb of the Thunder Butte day so why not enter it? The route up the county HP is nice but a lot of downed trees from the fire. And even though we deliberately aimed for every class 3 or better feature along the way, Thunder Butte is not a scrambling playground like the south peak presents. Along this fun ridge of Thunder Butt is hard rock granite with few down trees and after a very satisfying scramble up and down the south peak we spotted this pinnacle of rock at the very end of the ridge. We knew from the topo that if kept heading south we would cliff out. But at the end of the ridge is a large cubic chunk of rock that makes a big block that guards the exit to the ridge. This block of rock looks imposing and un-climbable from the ridge so I presume most do not try it. But the chunky step rocks in the area is inviting to anyone that likes a good scramble so we ventured over to see. HC had a sore ankle so he dropped below the saddle marked point 9287, while Dan and I scampered and scrambled up the class 2+ and 3 rocks over to the imposing cubic end piece.

Scouting all sides of the formation, there is class 5 walls and on the south end a cliff drop that is quite impressive. But on the west side of the block is an obvious weakness in the side wall where a climbable chimney presents itself. Depending on how you climb it is class 3/3+ or 4. Dan of course made it into an unnecessarily harder exposed class 4 and I veered left and would call it class 3+ From the top there are views in all directions. As we hiked down to meet HC we noted that the block of rock looks un-climable in all directions so it is definitely a fun little extra credit climbs along the ridge if you want to break up the monotony of stepping over downed logs on your way up or down the county HP.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:53 ft / 16 m
    Round-Trip Distance:0.1 mi / 0.2 km
    Route:see GPS track
    Trailhead:saddle between peaks  9287 ft / 2830 m
    Grade/Class:3, with a summit of
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Scramble, Exposed Scramble
Ascent Part of Trip: Thunder Trip

Complete Trip Sequence:
OrderPeak/PointDateGain
1Thunder Butte2019-05-18 a1486 ft / 453 m
2Thunder Butte South Peak2019-05-18 b255 ft / 78 m
3Thunder Butte Block2019-05-18 c53 ft / 16 m
4Sheep Nose2019-05-18 d744 ft / 227 m
Total Trip Gain: 2538 ft / 774 m    Total Trip Loss: 1039 ft / 317 m



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