South Sutter Butte

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Created On: Jun 30, 2013
Last Edited On: Jun 30, 2013

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Include text here. California: Sutter County High point, June 28, 2013.

Although hiking up South Sutter Butte is illegal its also fairly straight forward. From the center of downtown metropolitan Sutter drive north on Acacia Road for a few miles until it makes a 90 degree left turn and becomes Pass Road. After a few miles you will see on your right a massive white metal gate across the entrance to a paved asphalt road, a gate sturdy enough to stop an oncoming D8 caterpillar tractor. A sign on the gate claims it is equipped with an automatic security system. This is probably b---s---, but to be safe I walked down Pass Road 50 yards and climbed over a barbed wire fence. Dressed in all black like a Ninja warrior I then cut my way through several rows of razor wire, crawled through a mine field, narrowly avoided falling into a pit full of punji stakes then outran a bloodthirsty pack of wild boar before starting up the peak. Yes, the pigs were really there (see report 3 by Peter Maurer). Well, surprise. The road ends ~250 vertical feet below the top. From the end of the road I climbed easily up the tracks of what appears to be a cable railway used for freight hauling. The summit area is packed with so many communication towers, satellite dishes and trailer-sized boxes emitting strange growling noises (and perhaps some type of mysterious radiation?) that it resembles a misplaced Starwars movie set. This is actually a rather spooky spot and I half expected to blunder onto a group of Druids holding a satanic ritual. Thrashing through the brush and rocks over to the supposed high point on the north rim of the summit area is quite tedious even with a headlamp and is probably not necessary.The ground around the base of the highest comm tower appears higher to me.


Contrary to what others told me there is not and probably won't ever be a night time custodian on top. I did, however, trip what I think was a surveillance camera while wandering along a catwalk on the westside of the towers. I don't expect any trouble from this as my photo is not on any Arab terrorist watch list. That is unless whoever looks at the pictures recognizes my middle finger from when I deliberately walked by the camera a second time. Climbing back down the railway is mildly tricky, but a timid person could walk up or down the hillside next to it. Timid people, however would probably not be up there in the dark in the first place though. Fortunately I was not taken out by a drone strike on my walk back down to the main road. The round trip, including the time I spent on top, took me ~2.5 hours. A teen aged kid on a skate board could make the descent from the bottom of the railway to the main road in <5 minutes.


I made my ascent on a Thursday-Friday night with the light of a half moon which was perfect. Even at midnight-2AM there was traffic on Pass Road. I would not recommend parking your car on Pass Road. Get a friend to drop you off and pick you up at the white gate. Although the wild boar didn't cause me any problems they are potentially dangerous. Were I to do this hike again I'd probably take along a stinger missile or several rocket propelled grenades just in case one or more of them decided to become amorous. Have fun! This was a very enjoyable, albiet short ,experience for me.




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South Sutter Butte

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