Ascent of Bear Butte on 2016-10-16

Climber: William Musser

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Sunday, October 16, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Bear Butte
    Location:USA-South Dakota
    Elevation:4422 ft / 1347 m

Ascent Trip Report

Extra credit trip coming back from the SHP of ND. Saw this high prominence beauty and had to climb her. Later read about this peak in my book on Crazy Horse and Custer and learned what spiritual significance it had to the Oglala Lakota Sioux people and other native Americans, especially in the 1800s. The many multi-colored ribbons from the trees gave a hint of that as we ascended.

We parked at the standard parking lot and Karen said she wanted to go up at her own pace so I went up with the energy and excitement that a steep clear view butte brings, and climbed the 2 mile trek in 38 minutes - a good clip for over a thousand feet of vertical. The views were outstanding. The winds were as strong as any we had felt the entire week in the plains. We had very strong winds on Black Elk Peak, Little Devil Tower, and White Butte, but we had near sit you down type gusts I would guess from 50 to 60 mph at times.

This butte is a pile of rhyolite (laccolith) that never exploded into a volcano but then all the sedimentary rock around it eroded away leaving the molten plug of fine grained magma in the shape of a cone. Interesting indeed.

I then raced down to find Karen who was enjoying her won pace and made that a second trailhead, and re-ascended it again with her and hiked down with her, thus the double summit report.
Click on photo for original larger-size version.
A state park HP with over 1,000 feet of prominence and spiritual significance to the native Americans (2016-10-16). Photo by William Musser.
Click here for larger-size photo.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1082 ft / 329 m
    Total Elevation Loss:517 ft / 156 m
    Round-Trip Distance:2.6 mi / 4.2 km
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
    Weather:Pleasant, Extremely Windy, Clear
55F to 65F but very windy
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1082 ft / 329 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 1047 ft / 319 m; Extra: 35 ft / 10m
    Loss on way in:35 ft / 10 m
    Distance:2 mi / 3.2 km
    Route:standard trail in SP
    Start Trailhead:parking lot  3375 ft / 1028 m
    Time:38 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:482 ft / 146 m
    Distance:0.6 mi / 1 km
    End Trailhead:meet back up with K in trail  3940 ft / 1200 m

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