Patrick Butte


We ride our mountain bikes part way, then hike out and climb Patrick Butte.

Note: click images to see a larger version in a new window

It's a long, bumpy road out to the trailhead for Patrick Butte. But then we got to ride our mountain bike for a few miles, which made up for it. For the first two miles, it's an ATV trail (these days, anyway).

Part way up the first pitch

Then there are intermittent rock gardens mixed with rideable trail. We did the ol' off-and-on routine for a while, then finally ditched the bike, fully aware that in doing so, the trail was almost guaranteed to improve.

Top of the first crack

That Murphy feller really knew what he was talking about. The trail got much better, but we were walking. Even so, just about where the picture was taken, we missed a critical junction. No trail, no sign.

We ended up in the wrong drainage and did about an extra hour of walking.

Bottom of the second crack

When we finally got onto the right trail (an hour earlier, we had missed it by less than 100 yards), it was again rideable. At least we were now able to walk briskly and make up for lost time. We finally got a close-up view of our objective, but it was already after 1pm.

Top of the second crack

The top looked a little intimidating.

We avoided the cliffs by traversing low, by about 300 or 400 feet below the ridge on the right. Then we angled up to the saddle, traversed level to a ramped gully, then up the left end of the summit ridge.

Top fo the third crack from the lunch shelf

Our turn-around time was 3pm. We summitted at 3:05. It was a little smoky, with more than a handful of fires burning on the ridge to the west of Riggins. Controlled burns? Smoke is smoke, and we could just barely see the Wallowas.

Approaching the underclings

Even the Seven Devils were a little hazy. This pic has been heavily photoshopped.

Nevertheless, a stunning 360 degree view.

Approaching the underclings
On the way back, we found a better route. When we got to the saddle below the summit, we stayed on top of the ridge, and even dropped off to the east near the end. This was much better, and we made really good time. Approaching the underclings

This picture shows much of our route. The dot is where the car is, and the trail is behind the ridge on the right foreground (which is why it's dotted there). Click for a bigger version.

About where this picture was taken, Carol found a day pack in the trees, completely full of licorice, chips, and empty soda cans. Some poor hiker must have gone into a sugar coma and forgot where they had put their stash.

Approaching the underclings

We cruised back pretty quickly, although we did spend some time investigating the spot where we had missed our turn. Even from above, it wasn't really there. No signs. No connecting trail. About a 200 yard gap between perfectly good trails.

But we put that behind us, found the bikes, and cruised back to the car. This is a fun way to end a long trip.

Approaching the underclings

Mr. Natural Home | 2006 | Back to top of page | Questions :: e-mail to splattski