Ascent of Frog Lake Buttes on 2011-02-21

Climber: Michael Wanberg

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Monday, February 21, 2011
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Frog Lake Buttes
    Elevation:5320 ft / 1621 m

Ascent Trip Report

Cold, but the roads were clear and it had been too long since the last wander through the woods. This wasn't really a trip into the wild, as there were many snow-mobilers zipping around at lower elevations; this TH seems to be a popular one for that. On the return I came across four (or more) families with little ones having a good time sledding.

I followed the road to the south from the Frog Lake Sno-Park, then turned left at the first fork and began a steady ascent. There had been quite a few snowmobiles on the road since the last snow, and it was packed down far too well. It was actually kind of unpleasant, as the snow had no give left, so it was kind of like walking on asphalt, minus the snowshoe treads scraping the aggregate.

I was definitely ready to leave the road when the time came. At just above 4000' I took a bearing and tromped up a (slightly) steeper hill, happily climbing through virgin snow on a course of 30 degrees north of east. I reached the saddle to the NW of the 5294' peak right where the trails there intersect. It was an amusing sight to see two very nice signposts with absolutely no other trace of any trails. I took a picture of them for good measure, then headed uphill toward the 5294' peak. I reached that summit not long after, taking notice of a cell tower and fenced in sheds.

The true summit is NE of the surveyed point on the USGS quad, which (if marked) was either fenced in, buried beneath feet of snow, or both. I took a bearing on the true summit (which couldn't be seen due to trees), and headed off in pursuit. After a few hundred feet the treetops on the real summit became visible exactly where they should have been, which is always reassuring. A few minutes later and I was standing on top of Frog Lake Buttes. It was treed in and very nondescript. I drew an "X" with my poles and took a picture to commemorate this momentous achievement before swallowing a sandwich (Dave's Killer Bread is far more exciting than this peak), snapping a shot of an interesting tree, and tracing my tracks back to the 5294' summit. From there I found the road and followed it back to the TH, the entire time wishing for soft powder beneath my treads.

The likelihood of me returning to this peak is very close to zero. Unless it's on one of your to-do lists (OR P1000'?) or you enjoy the sound of snowmobiles in the forest I think you'll be disappointed.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:1600 ft / 487 m
    Elevation Loss:1600 ft / 487 m
    Distance:5.5 mi / 8.9 km
    Grade/Class:Class 2
    Quality:4 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Open Country, Bushwhack, Snow on Ground, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles, Snowshoes
    Nights Spent:0 nights away from roads
    Weather:Cold, Calm, Overcast
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:1500 ft / 457 m
    Extra Loss:100 ft / 30 m
    Distance:2.5 mi / 4 km
    Route:Road/bushwack to 4340' saddle/5294 smt/open ctry
    Trailhead:Frog Lake Sno-Park  3920 ft / 1194 m
    Time Up:1 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:1500 ft / 457 m
    Extra Gain:100 ft / 30 m
    Distance:3 mi / 4.8 km
    Route:5294 summit / road
    Trailhead:Frog Lake Sno-Park  3920 ft / 1194 m
    Time Down:1 Hours 

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