Saturday, June 18, 2011

A run up Wolf Butte

Eric Newhouse examines a boulder on way up Wolf Butte 
Eric celebrates reaching the top 
Coming down with the top above him
We took a short hike up Wolf Butte in the Little Belt Mountains Friday, something that has become a rite of spring.
What made this special was that I was accompanied by my former colleague Eric Newhouse, who, with his wife Susie, is visiting from West Virginia where he relocated after retiring from the Great Falls Tribune a year and a half ago.
Over a 23 year friendship Eric and I have had many wonderful excursions into the Montana backcountry in boots and on skis.
He was very much up to the rigors of the 2,000 foot ascent through house sized volcanic boulders, which strew this central Montana landmark several miles east and south of the town of Geyser.
The views from the top reveal mountain ranges in every direction, from as far away as the Rocky Mountain Front, to the Bear's Paws.   Square and Round Buttes dominate the northern horizon.
My pleasure was seeing how much Newhouse enjoyed the hike through the ultra-green grasses and the boulder-strewn hillside.
As was the case earlier in the week we encountered washed out culverts that threatened our arrival at the trailhead, but I was able to push my Toyota RAV4 through the stream to the other side.
While the weather threatened, it was open enough to enjoy a superb day of climbing with a treasured friend.
On Thursday I took a short hike in Sluice Boxes State Park south of Great Falls.  I wanted to check the high water coming through the canyon and enjoy the many wildflowers now in bloom.
The falls coming into the Sluice Boxes State Park


Pat C. said...

Daughter Jannah and I climbed Wolf Butte on June 7th on Tom's route. We rode bicycles to the abandoned homestead, took cow paths and the old jeep trail to the saddle meadows southwest of the peak, then made an ascending traverse across the west face to the northwest ridge. From there one follows the ridge to the top. It is Class 4 in places, and we found only one route which wasn't too exposed. One must bypass the larger granitic outcrops, sometimes on the northeast, sometimes on the southwest side, but always returning to the ridgetop. Once passing the summit outcrop on the southwest side, a bouldery couloir to the summit is masked by a couple of trees. The climb was a little more strenuous than one might imagine, but interesting and worthwhile. We enountered some caves and rock windows. Guiness tastes good on the summit crag. On the descent we left the northwest ridge where we had gained it and headed straight down, always veering left at obstructions. A little steep but open down to a draw meadow that continues on to the homestead valley.

Out there with Tom said...

Glad you liked it, Pat. It is a favorite trip I use to expose folks to the charm of central Montana.