Ascent of W Butte on 2015-06-01

Climber: Gustav Sexauer

Others in Party:Katrina
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Monday, June 1, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:W Butte
    Elevation:4450 ft / 1356 m

Ascent Trip Report

Hiking the W Butte (not West Butte) requires gaining permission from the Dinstel family. Rather than driving an extra six miles on dirt roads with two cars, one being a Toyota Corolla, we were thankfully able to get their phone number from Mr. Caldwell, the Powder River highpoint landowner. There is a report on that says the Dinstel's are in the phone book, but a thorough search at the Cashway Cafe in Broadus turned up nothing as the phone book did not cover that area.

Coming from the south, we parked on the turn to the west of the W Butte about where the power lines cross the road. We began hiking with the intent of following the power lines and skirting the quarry to the north and wrapping around to reach the butte's top via the north face. We immediately found the benchmark "17 MFS" just off the road, and due to it's rural and non-summit location, it was the most pristine benchmark I had ever seen! We continued on up, seeing a few predatory birds perched on the cliff faces of the butte scanning the horizon. In the distance we saw a group of five pronghorn slowly crossing the road. We went straight up until it got too steep, and so we used a cow path terrace to get onto the north face before we made it up to the eight foot high cliffs. In one or two class 2 moves we were up on top (the minor scrambling is avoidable if you find one of the breaks in the cliffs). It was a quick walk over to the benchmark where Katrina brought up an interesting highpointing topic. If a dried cow pie is the highest point, shouldn't it count seeing as it is can act as soil for plants and is obviously part of the composition and development of soil in many places. Although the cattle may be present due to humans, does this non-human soil modification cause the highpoint to shift from a lower, but more older and established soil? Additionally, at the top we were able to see a small aircraft banking turns and plainly just playing around off to the east. On the way down we took a different route off the west face south of the quarry where we didn't cross a cliff band. In every direction we enjoyed excellent views, including what was Katrina's first sighting of Devil's Tower.
Click on photo for original larger-size version.
The W Butte as seen from the northern Powder River County Highpoint to the south (2015-06-01). Photo by Gustav Sexauer.
Click here for larger-size photo.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:260 ft / 79 m
    Total Elevation Loss:260 ft / 79 m
    Round-Trip Distance:0.6 mi / 0.9 km
    Grade/Class:Class 2
    Quality:4 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Open Country
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:260 ft / 79 m
    Distance:0.3 mi / 0.5 km
    Route:Power Pole Line
    Start Trailhead:Below BM 4195  4190 ft / 1277 m
    Time:14 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:260 ft / 79 m
    Distance:0.3 mi / 0.5 km
    Route:West Face
    End Trailhead:Below BM 4195  4190 ft / 1277 m
    Time:17 Minutes

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