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Ascent of Shake Butte on 2017-08-13

Climber: Steve Fountain

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Sunday, August 13, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Shake Butte
    Location:USA-Oregon
    Elevation:7134 ft / 2174 m

Ascent Trip Report

This turned out to be the final peak and culmination of my three-day Dead Timber Tour of summits in the southern Fremont NF. It may or may not be worth noting that there are two constants in this part of Oregon - lots of dead trees which translates into lots of logs across roads and trails, and a lot of unmarked roads. The more obscure roads may have survived what appears to be a campaign against signs, but a map is pretty essential to navigation. (And if you think I am exaggerating, start counting the number of bare wooden posts or absent fiberglass road markers. If you look close, some of those posts have been decapitated with an axe or hatchet - I counted seven with obvious chop marks in my wanderings. I also found a "this road closed" fiberglass sign stuck in a stump 150 yards from the nearest road. This isn't standard shoot up the signs stuff.)

I followed Road 200 that appears on both the Fremont NF driving maps and the older topos to the site of the former lookout on Shake Butte. Seeing that someone had driven around a downed tree at the start of the road gave me a bit of hope that I might be able to do this one as a drive-up and maybe squeeze in one more summit before heading for home. Alas, the next downed tree was less than 50 yards around the corner. It was looking like another tree-hopping exercise and it was. On my way back I counted 351 downed trees across the road from the corner where I rejoined.

Anyway, as I neared the corner where the road turns south to ascend the final slopes, I could see the green summit shack through the trees. I left the road a few yards short of the corner and made straight for the building. Crossed the road on my way up through the final few feet of brush and boulders to arrive on the top of the mountain. The old lookout foundation was immediately to my right/north and the summit rocks a few feet past that.

A northern summit appeared to be very close to the same height, so after locating the three USGS markers on the south summit (none on the actual high point), I scrambled down and up to the northern summit. Once there, it seemed pretty clear to me that while it might be the equivalent height of the main southern summit marker, the real high point immediately north of the lookout foundation blocks was a few feet higher. There are plenty of nails, melted glass, and wire on that second summit to indicate that something was there at one time too. Found an intact old bottle on the slopes on the way up and left it there. Plenty of other debris on the flat below this summit - including what looked like old chair springs, what was left of an old battery, some crockery, and more that were probably part of the original burn pile. In fact, there were nails, glass, and wire strewn from one summit to the other.

driving directions (all decent, graveled, 2WD roads):
0.0 - Sandhill Crossing Campground
1.8 - turn north/right onto unmarked Rd 3323
7.3 - turn west/left onto unmarked Rd 011
8.8 - stay right at fork & immediately cross cattle guard to stay on Rd 011
9.1 - turn right at "split fork" onto unmarked Rd 167
10.8 - hairpin turn
11.2 - decommissioned Rd 200 on right/north (surprisingly, marked)
(11.4 - road ends at large turnaround)
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:304 ft / 92 m
    Elevation Loss:304 ft / 92 m
    Distance:1.5 mi / 2.4 km
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack, Scramble
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:254 ft / 77 m
    Distance:0.7 mi / 1.1 km
    Route:Rd 200
    Trailhead:Rd 110/Rd 200 junction  6880 ft / 2097 m
    Time Up:38 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:304 ft / 92 m
    Extra Gain:50 ft / 15 m
    Distance:0.8 mi / 1.3 km
    Route:via northern summit
    Trailhead:Rd 110/Rd 200 junction  6880 ft / 2097 m
    Time Down:53 Minutes



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