Ascent of White Butte on 2016-10-16

Climber: William Musser

Others in Party:Karen Musser
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Sunday, October 16, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:White Butte
    Location:USA-North Dakota
    Elevation:3506 ft / 1068 m

Ascent Trip Report

Karen came with the idea of getting 3 state HPs on our trip, so after doing NE and SD, we drove all the way up to Bowman and embarked upon ND too. Off of US 85 we looked for the roadway to Stewart Lake and turned instead right (or east) on to well marked gravel road 74th st SW and headed 4 miles. Along the way we saw about 7 pheasant that were beautiful running through the tall prairie grass. What colorful creatures. White Butte is off to your left (north) visible as we turned at the 4 mile mark and headed north on 140th Ave for 5 miles and then turned left (back to the west) on 69th st SW. At 0.8 miles we found the designated spot.

Luckily for us, Daryl (the land owner) was there with his son working on a fence post and they were talking to a man that had just summited their peak and was about to leave. The sign with the "road closed" was still there and the mailbox for payment was out. I introduced myself to Daryl and thanked him for allowing access to the peak and told him this was my 38th and Karen's 21 st SHP. He answered a bunch of questions about hay, sunflowers, corn, and other things Karen was curious from driving through the prairie and ranchlands of SD and ND and he laughed at some of the questions. He had us park so that his neighbor could get around. I started to put the envelope with our $20 donation and a kind note in the locked mailbox but he said, that I could hand it to him directly and he took it and the money and thanked us. Strangely, although there was him, his son, and another hiked there when we arrived, when we got down, it was empty - void of all vehicles and people. And when I went to photograph his locked mailbox where the money goes it was gone. I think he took it with him back to the house. I am not sure what to make of the "standard procedure" and he did not offer any explanation when we had met him earlier in the day so all I can say is the following:

1) the gate was open but signed "road closed" and he does want you to "walk from there" up to the butte which is about 0.6 miles each way.
2) you can park off to the side of the gate fence but do not block the drive
3) there was a mailbox to put the money in when we got there but it is mobile and disappeared when we got down?
4) the internet talks of paying $5, $10, and $20 to be permitted to hike the land. I handed him $20 and he accepted gladly and did not say it was the right amount of the wrong amount. $20 certainly was appreciated as a donation.
5) when you hit the second gate, stay right next to the old prairie house and head to the butte.
6) there are a few small cairns showing the way and the trail is well used and easy to follow

It was windy up there - gusts to 45 and 50 mph. We saw a ribbon snake but no rattlesnakes and it was 55F but a heck of a wind chill. Nice views.

Click on photo for original larger-size version.
The landowner Daryl asks that you park before this gate and walk the 0.6 miles up the private drive to the TH (2016-10-16). Photo by William Musser.
Click here for larger-size photo.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:488 ft / 148 m
    Extra Gain:25 ft / 7 m
    Round-Trip Distance:3 mi / 4.8 km
    Route:private driveway to cairn trail
    Trailhead:interection of 69th st SW and private drive  3068 ft / 935 m
    Quality:4 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Open Country
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Cool, Very Windy, Overcast
55F and very windy!

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