Ascent of Menan Buttes North on 2011-07-17

Climber: William Musser

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Sunday, July 17, 2011
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Menan Buttes North
    Elevation:5619 ft / 1712 m

Ascent Trip Report

Trip Report for Menan Butte North:
I got Karen off to the airport and then drove up to the town of Menan. Crossed the Snake River for the 10th time that week and found Twin Butte Road and took the right fork to the east side of the volcano. I kept seeing signs “private property” and “no trespassing” and had to catch a flight myself so I stopped looking for an entry and stopped at nice house along the road and asked the man in his driveway where I could park. He told me folks were friendly around here that the signs were to keep pesky 4 wheelers off their lands but invited me (Mr Wheeler) to park in front of his house. I walked across his manicured gold turf like lawn to his patio and rock wall and ascended stairs that escaped civilization right into a steep slab of volcanic rock with surrealistic knobs of stone with carved out caves and sagebrush. I open country bushwhacked across the BLM lands looking for rattlesnakes as I had been warned that there were a lot in that type of country. I then spotted the big “R” that I had seen from the google earth aerial and knew that I needed to head to it as the true peak was on that side of the caldera.
I eventually intersected a maintenance road to the cell towers on the top. I followed it to the gate and then cross country bushwhacked to the big R which appeared to be pained volcanic rocks on the side of the NE face of the butte. What the heck? As I took the class 2 talus up the side of the R I found 3 golf balls. What the heck? At the top there are some pretty neat volcanic rock ledges but I found a path that required no scrambling as I did not want to get to sweaty before flying. At the top the view into the caldera was really interesting. The towers are junk as usual but there were crazy interesting volcanic rocks along the rim that formed lava caves and all curled inward towards the caldera. I took some interesting shots.
My daughter interrupted me as I was scrambling up one of these features with a question from our summer lodge in Maine. What the heck? I am alone on the top of an extinct volcano in Idaho in rattlesnake country and she is having battery issues with my car in Maine for leaving the lights on all night. Cell service 8 billion miles away on two different planets. What the heck?
Coming down I elected to use the black sand ravine I spotted from the rim. Excellent choice. The soft volcanic sand was easy on the feet and gentle and clear of bushes so I could look out for snakes. I only bushwacked through the bushes a short way to the manicured lawn of Mr. Wheeler and left in the three golf balls as a present at the base of his mailbox.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:759 ft / 231 m
    Round-Trip Distance:2 mi / 3.2 km
    Route:east face bushwhack
    Trailhead:East Butte Road (Wheelers House)  4860 ft / 1481 m
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
68F when started but 75F at end. Desert like sunny and was quite hot

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