Ascent of Saddle Butte on 2008-07-06

Climber: Edward Earl

Date:Sunday, July 6, 2008
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Saddle Butte
    Elevation:5880 ft / 1792 m

Ascent Trip Report

From the main forest road junction that lies 1/8 mile NE of Misery TP (a key point in navigating to the Diamond and Asotin county HPs), I headed SE on FR-40. Just 0.1 mile later, I turned R at a junction. The road is rough but probably still OK for most street legal vehicles. After 4.5 more miles the road reaches a saddle where the USGS topo map shows a BM with elevation 4906. This point is unmistakable, because the road, which has so far kept to the W side of a ridge, switches to the E side and there is a trailhead. I parked here.

From the parking area, the base of the ridge heading S up toward Saddle Butte seems impossibly steep, brushy, and heavily forested. Once I stuck my head into the forest, however, I found it to be relatively open. It was steep at first, but I very shortly gained the crest of the ridge where the gradient eased. I continued up the ridge, which was usually wooded but there were occasional open areas with rock outcrops astride the very crest. I found that it is best to always climb on top of the rocks as soon as possible, because the top of the rocks was always smooth, open, and easy going, without exception. At about 5350', one such rock outcrop is a 20' high fin that requires a scramble to surmount, which I did on its right side with help from a tree. At about 5700', the ridge broadens into the rounded summit plateau. Vines covering occasional deadfall characterize the forest floor until the forest ends at 5800'. One last stand of trees is crossed before arriving at a shack and antenna in the middle of the broad, treeless summit.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:974 ft / 296 m
    Round-Trip Distance:1.2 mi / 1.9 km
    Route:North ridge
    Trailhead:4906 ft / 1495 m
    Route Conditions:
Open Country, Bushwhack, Scramble
Ascent Statistics
    Time:1 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Time:1 Hours 

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