Panamint Butte


By: Bill T Russell


Our trip started at the large flat spot about one mile SW of the Big Four Mine. It is marked with a large arrow on the peak guide map and is noted by Lou Brecheen in his report in SAGE 189. We all slept there Friday night and got underway at 0700 the next morning. We hiked up the road into the canyon and then up a feeder ridge more or less as shown in the peak guide map. The road can be driven for about 0.4 mi by most cars and skilful 4wd'ers could get all the way up.

The feeder ridge looked ok from the bottom but it turned into loose rock on hard dirt and fractured rotten rock leading to a delicate set of moves through a ten foot rimrock. A much better route, which we followed on descent, goes by the Big Four adits. It starts at the end of a stub road that goes from the road on the topo, north to the toe of the slope below the adits. As we were climbing the feeder ridge, first one participant, then another and then a third decided to drop out, each for a different reason. They met at the canyon bottom and had a good time exploring until mid afternoon. Steve Smith, Tom Eng and I continued up the main west ridge to the plateau and then over to the summit. We reached it shortly before noon. The climbing is easy in places and hard work in some of the steep spots. It has some places with unstable grapefruit sized talus, sane with uncertain scree and sane with bad sized gravel on hard dirt. One can see the whole route from all along the route and there is no vegetation to soften the view. It is 4200' from the foot to the top of the escarpment and one does get a feeling of accomplishment from making this climb.

We had lunch on top and watched Steve make the walk over to Pt 6580' which is 0.4 mi to the south. We left the summit at 1245 and were back to the cars in a little over 21/2 hours. It was hot down in Panamint valley but quite nice at the Butte. A light breeze helped a lot. This is a worthy addition to the list. Participants were: Tom Eng, Frank Goodykoontz, Bill T Russell, Pat Russell, Steve Smith, Dave Wash.

Detailed information for visiting one or more peaks mentioned in this article can be found in the
Desert Peak Section Road and Peak Guides

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