Only the east Butte. I scoped out the west Butte, but it's fairly impenetrable without aid.
Props to Brian, Sarah, Dom and Noah for climbing the west!
Although, the staircase on the east was cool.
After swearing this off I was convinced to head back out with some folks. This time we climbed the south face using a ladder to breach the lower, overhung portion of the wall. Very scary and crumbly free climbing led to the upper slopes and the summit. It was pretty cool to be back and was not surprised that nobody signed our register from last year. Also headed over for the East Butte as well.
Eight of us breached the western butte using an assortment of aid tools including nails, stakes and a 30 foot ladder! Our route required a short but gutsy lead up mud rock. Wacky but fun! Zipped up the easier (and more scenic) eastern butte afterwards.
Went with Brian. Read his post right below mine. Very frightning aid lead. If anything blew I would of been sent to the ground in a ground fall. The wall has erroded even more since 1969 and is now overhanging. The gear is also hanging out at least 3 inches to 9 inches. You wonder, how far is it in there? Carefully weight it......All of it was moving. Some of the gear more then others. All rusted and erroded. Mandatory couple of 5.6 moves. All in all, dangerous.
East butte was solid and a quick sramble up but snow made it a little more interesting.
After some helpful info, Noah and I made a successful ascent of the east and west buttes. The west butte is a dangerous route as the pins have deteriorated severely. We agreed the face impossible to freeclimb and the aiding was precarious. The steepest wall overhangs slightly and a fall would send you straight to the ground even with screamers. The rotten nature of the rock/mud makes gear nearly impossible to place. We left an ammo can register on the summit and there were no signs of recent ascents. Would love to know more info on other ascents past or present. Please approach this climb with EXTREME care.
Beautiful photography opportunities. Take the camera and lots of water.
Went out to the Buttes today with David. Very cold day but the wind was calm luckily. A lot of snow made the climb up the chopped steps kinda made it sketchy. We only had one ice axe so I had to throw it down for alex to use. Going down was more annoyng but overall a good outing. Unusual climb.
Glad I did it once, as I no longer see the need to do it again, unless I have protection. You do get a nice view from the top (http://www.joeandfrede.com/colorado/pawnee_buttes/pawnee_buttes.htm?photo=7)
Went out to the Buttes today with Alex. Very cold day but the wind was calm luckily. A lot of snow made the climb up the chopped steps kinda made it sketchy. We only had one ice axe so I had to throw it down for alex to use. Going down was more annoyng but overall a good outing. Unusual climb.
EDIT 5/7/16, returned to climb the West Butte via the scary pin/rebar ladder.
While in high school two buddies and myself became obsessed with climbing the West Butte. At that time (1967-1968) there were four or five rusty old iron spikes mid-way up the central east face of the Butte. After many attempts we were successful in climbing the West Butte - without any technical mountaineering gear or knowledge. That we were able to do so six subsequent times (the first was March 17, 1968 and the last December 14, 1970) without bodily injury is a near miracle. We had no idea of what we were doing. When you are 17 you are invincible. I looked for these spikes about 10 years ago, but was unable to locate them. Perhaps the USFS removed them when the Grasslands were created. Even if they were there now, I wouldn't touch this route! We used the spikes for crude protection, and as hand/footholds - making the rough rating on this climb about 5.7R, A0. The ranchers to the northeast of the Buttes told us they believed we were the 7th party to make the ascent; with the Sterling, Colorado Fire Department first, in about 1909, using ladders. This country holds great memories for me.
Ha! Your report confirms that a couple of the ideas that I had for getting to the top of the West Butte did indeed work!
I've lost count of how many times I've scrambled up to the top of this wonderful little butte. When I first climbed it the little summit pillar was about 15 feet high. It's one of my favorite things to do in the spring.
I have climbed this Butte many, many times since 1967, having been raised in Fort Morgan. This was the area that my buddies and I explored extensively. You used to be able to drive right up between the Buttes from the North - that option is long gone; and given the popularity of the region a good choice by the USFS. The last time I climbed the East Butte, (probably 5 or 6 years ago) there was (still) a crude iron bar above the foot holes on the north face. This can be used for a belay if necessary, and if still there. Once above the footsteps, just work your way around clockwise to the south face, where many scambling options take you to the top. The top of this Butte used to be adorned with a 20 or 25 foot rock stack which was climbable via the north side YDS 5.2, or so. Didn't know about ratings, et al, when I was a high school kid in 67-68. This is a great area, worth exploring, and worth saving. The Pawnee Buttes introduced me into the climbing world. Still at it 40 years later. Tread lightly.
Nice winter hike and climb, even had a little snow.
Climbed this with Scott Roberts and Erik Wainionpaa back in college. A great little summit out in the middle of nowhere!
The chalky hand and foot holds with no protection were too much for my comfort level. I climbed half-way up the "ladder," then decided that without a rope, I might not make the descent. Someday, maybe ...