Sunday, October 30, 2016

Big Cinder Butte

We jammed over to Craters of the Moon at the last minute with one thing on the agenda; get the high point.

Date: 10-23-2016.

Objective: Big Cinder Butte 6,515.

Partners: Deez and the Lego Master.

Stats: 5 miles and 5 hours round trip with 645 feet of gain.

Links: Idaho: A Climbing GuideSummit PostNational Park Service.

Big Cinder Butte from the tree molds trail.

Craters of the Moon is pretty dang cool on its own. Its family friendly and has great camping. Whats more is there are ranked peaks inside the National Monument. All it took as a quick check of the weather to solidify our decision. The forecast called for very light wind, which is somewhat of a rarity for Craters. Our last trip here was a little on the windy side.

We drove out on Saturday, got a camp site and set off to show the youngster the lava tubes and caves and take a quick stroll to the top of the Inferno Cone. After a not too early start on Sunday, we drove to the tree molds parking area and set out on the trail.

Crater rim along the trail.

I wasn't too sure of where to leave the trail and start up the northwest ridge so we back tracked a bit until we found a suitable slope to ascend.

Looking north into the Lost River Range.

The high peaks of the Lost River Range could be seen from low on the peak.
The hike is mostly though sage brush. As usual, I opted to wear shorts, and as usual regretted that once into the thick of it.

Upper slopes.

Even when the brush appeared to thin out, it didn't. All we could do was grin and bear it. Soon enough we reached the upper slopes of the peak and hiked across the cinders to the summit ridge.

Nearing the false summit.

False summit.

We crunched our way to the summit of the high point but we forgot the crunchy Pringles to go with our lunch.

 Let the selfie-fest begin!

Lost River Range.
Crescent Butte.

Big Cinder Butte has big views and the lack of wind certainly did not disappoint us while we lounged on the summit.
Looking south.

Southern end of the Pioneer Mountains.

One more selfie.

We would have stayed longer but we still had a couple more items on the agenda for the day, including the three hour drive home.

Remnants of the crater wall.

There were still plenty of geologic wonders to examine on the way back to the car.

Gas bubbles in the rock.

  There was a system of game trails that we followed to the base of the peak.

Game trails.

Back on the trail.

We skirted the edge of the pahoehoe lava flow in an effort to regain the trail. The day was warm and our spirits were high as we headed off to show the youngster a little more of the park. We still have plenty more to see and do here. While this trip was the true essence of peak bagging, there are many other wonderful options for exploration and adventure.

Happy trails!

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