Monday, May 19, 2008

Big Cinder Butte

I'm really into goals, the more obscure the better. I'm working on climbing the 11th highest volcano on each continent. So far I've done one... but hey, it's a life goal.

For this year I've set a myself a somewhat less lofty, but still obscure goal: "climb" the highpoint in each of Idaho's wilderness areas. . Climb is in quotes because truthfully none of them are really all that difficult. Beautiful, challenging at times because one must place on foot in front of the other for more times in one day than some Americans do in a month*, but not hanging off rock faces challenging. With any luck I'll summit all the Idaho Wilderness Seven Summits before the snow falls again.

Idaho Wilderness Seven Summits
Wilderness AreaHighpointElev. (ft)
Craters of the MoonBig Cinder Butte6,515
Gospel-HumpBuffalo Hump8,938
SelwayRanger Peak8,817
SawtoothThompson Peak10,751
Hells CanyonHe Devil9,409
Frank ChurchMount McGuire10,082
White Clouds**Castle Peak11,815

* Research studies estimate the average American adult may take less than 3,000 steps a day, which adds up to roughly 34 miles, so I may be exaggerating a little, but not much. The average Texan may be more accurate. A number of these peaks will require a round trip distance greater than 34 miles, though I will span the effort across a couple days.

** Ok, so the White Clouds isn't a Wilderness yet, you got me. But it's a great climb in a great location. Plus I'll already have achieved the metric just in case it ever gets approved.

The most difficult are Class III scrambles in remote terrain, the easiest is a short skip up a petrified zit. So I started with the zit, though I did choose to go before the park opened up the roads and part of the Butte was still snow covered to make it a wee bit more interesting. I invited the folks in Idaho Mountain Recreation to tag along and two of them took me up on the offer.

Big Cinder Butte Highlights

Big Cinder Butte
Looking ahead

Big Cinder Butte
That is a really, really strange landscape

Big Cinder Butte
The mars rover has to be around her somewhere

Big Cinder Butte
A strangely habitable "summit"

Big Cinder Butte
On top with Big Southern Butte in the background

Big Cinder Butte
Red lava fingers

Big Cinder Butte

Big Cinder Butte
Red rock I took a lichen to

Big Cinder Butte

Big Cinder Butte
Blue lava

Big Cinder Butte
Intestinal lava

There's more...
View Slideshow | View Photoset | Google Earth (kml)