Ascent of Pigeon Butte in 2021

Climber: JohnE Sarna

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Pigeon Butte
    Elevation:543 ft / 165 m

Ascent Trip Report

This started out as a relatively straight-forward hike along Mill Hill Loop Trail, then east along unimproved trail to Cattail Pond, then over a grassy field and up north side of Pigeon, finally getting thru a short brushy stretch to get to the top. The ridge west from there to Maple Knoll started out as a nice walk, eventually along a fence line, but I ended up going down to the rock quarry to the south to catch a trail down to the "saddle," thus avoiding a very steep downhill stretch on the ridge. I left this trail to go up Maple Knoll's west ridge to top (easiest way I found to get up Maple Knoll thus far), and continued west over this flat ridge to ensure I hit the high point, eventually turning north near the edge of Finley WF, aiming for Mill Hill. I passed an old dirt road going east, which I should have taken to find the easy walking back to Mill Hill Loop Trail that passed near Beaver Pond, but I instead continued directly toward Mill Hill (going north) to find myself blocked on the wrong (south) side of the marshy pools of Gray Creek. Knowing Mill Hill Loop Trail was only another couple hundred yards north, I continued toward it, but the going was most difficult due to the swampy ground of the striated Gray Creek, needing to use a couple skinny logs to cross where the water was deep, then eventually just slogging angle to knee deep through the water covered muddy channels to avoid the thorny blackberry bushes amid thick brush around me, until I reached the trees on the north side of Gray Creek where it was relatively easy to get uphill to find Mill Hill Loop Trail. From there, it was easy cross country I'd taken before to get to the top of Mill Hill and then my usual trek back to the car at the visitor center.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:398 ft / 121 m
    Total Elevation Loss:170 ft / 51 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack
    Weather:Drizzle, Cool, Breezy, Overcast
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:398 ft / 121 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 228 ft / 69 m; Extra: 170 ft / 51m
    Loss on way in:170 ft / 51 m
    Distance:1.7 mi / 2.7 km
    Route:MHLoopTrail to north side over grass then brush
    Start Trailhead:Overlook just before turnoff to visitor center  315 ft / 96 m
Descent Statistics
Ascent Part of Trip: Pidgeon-Maple-Mill (0 nights total away from roads)

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Pigeon Butte2021398 ft / 121 m
2Maple Knoll2021275 ft / 84 m
3Mill Hill2021350 ft / 107 m
Total Trip Gain: 1023 ft / 312 m    Total Trip Loss: 1023 ft / 312 m

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