Ascent of Aspen Butte on 2011-06-14

Climber: Michael Wanberg

Others in Party:James Robinson
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Aspen Butte
    Elevation:8208 ft / 2501 m

Ascent Trip Report

Elevation info for entire wilderness trip (4 peaks). More info to follow.

Day 1: TH to Camp (5.5mi, 49#)
Elevations: 5304-5400-5380-5410-5340-7200-6660 (1986+100')

Our TH doesn't appear to be named, but is near the Lake of the Woods. It was a few miles off of Dead Indian Memorial Rd, marked at 5304' with coordinates 42.379N, 122.189W. We were the only entry on the trail register, so the snow must have just melted off for the season.

We began by carrying our snowshoes (James on pack, myself in hand) and hopping logs on the bare trail. We began to encountered snow quite soon, but held off on putting the snowshoes on until just after we crossed the creek, only to find a small bridge just above our crossing point. For the next few miles we hopped from one patch of snow to the next, continually wondering if we should just take off the snowshoes only to hit a long stretch of good snow. We were continually bobbing and weaving around trees and rocky patches while also being sure not to venture too close to often-buried creek. The trail was buried by snow and obscured by tree-fall, so it was of little help.

We eventually departed our intended course, and clouds were moving in as it got later, with light rain falling intermittently. We ended up traversing the southern slopes of Mt. Greylock and came to a few large bands of protruding rock that cut across our path. We were praying for wisdom and a clear path while maneuvering through the first band. I was still planning to finish the traverse, cross over the ridge, and descend to our intended camp when James mentioned that we might not have time to do so. I'd had similar doubts, but had pushed them aside.

We agreed to continue ahead a bit before deciding, but all I could think of was something my dad told me often when I was younger, "discretion is the better part of valor." I kept hearing it over and over, and I finally took it to be the wisdom that we were praying for. After we cleared the band I visually traced out a route into the treeline and we made the call to descend. Not long after we found our spot, set the tent, dug in our anchors, and formed our wind-wall, the light rain became a downpour. As we huddled down in our sleeping bags, James voiced my thought perfectly, "I am so glad we are not out in that!"

The next day, after seeing the very steep descent down the other side of the ridge from atop Blackface(7703'), I was even more thankful we made camp when and where we did. Thank You God, and dad, for the wisdom!

Day 2: Blackface and Harriman (8mi, ~30#)
Elevations: 6660-7703-6700-7979-6700-7400-6600 (3022+50')

Day 3: Carmine and Aspen Butte (12mi, ~30#)
Elevations: 6660-7361-6900-7620-7354-8208-6900-7361-6660 (3274+50')

Day 4: Camp to TH (4.5mi, ~47#)
Elevations: 6660-5340-5410-5380-5400-5304 (90+100')

Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:8672 ft / 2643 m
    Elevation Loss:8672 ft / 2643 m
    Grade/Class:Class 2 (snow)
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack, Stream Ford, Snow on Ground, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Ski Poles, Snowshoes, Tent Camp
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:8672 ft / 2643 m
    Extra Loss:5768 ft / 1758 m
    Distance:30 mi / 48.3 km
    Trailhead:5304 ft / 1616 m
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:2904 ft / 885 m
    Trailhead:5304 ft / 1616 m
Ascent Part of Trip: 2011-06 Mtn Lakes Wld (3 nights total away from roads)

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Peak 77032011-06-13 a
2Mount Harriman2011-06-13 b
3Mount Carmine2011-06-14 a
4Aspen Butte2011-06-14 b

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