Forum Index > Trip Reports > Estes Butte Lookout Site/Estes Butte/Old Gib June 13-15, 2018
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RichP
here and there



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here and there
PostSat Jun 16, 2018 7:36 am 
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I've been wanting to check out the old trail that goes from the Estes Butte Lookout site to Carne Mtn for years. A recent trip to Basalt Ridge gave me a good view of the summit of Old Gib so I was inspired to finally give it a go.

Old Gib.
Old Gib.

I knew that the Chiwawa River Rd was gated at the end of pavement so I brought a bike for the 4-miles to the trailhead.

Ready to ride the 4 miles to the Estes Butte Trailhead. The Chiwawa River Rd is gated at the end of pavement.
Ready to ride the 4 miles to the Estes Butte Trailhead. The Chiwawa River Rd is gated at the end of pavement.

After about 1.5 miles of riding I met a FS employee who declared that he was about to open the gate. I rode back to my car while he did a bit of clearing of debris from the road and waited for him to open the gate. Soon enough I was at the trailhead.


I started up the trail which passes by Rock Creek and then on a short section of old road before heading up to Estes Butte Lookout site.

Rock Creek.
Rock Creek.
The trail follows an old road for a short section.
The trail follows an old road for a short section.

This is definitely a horse trail with many long switchbacks. I could see bits of the old trail as I hiked but stayed on the newish trail built in 1995 according to 100 Hikes. I came across a fawn curled up in the middle of the trail.

I tried to use my most soothing human voice to let this fawn lying in the middle of the trail know I was only going to pass by without harming it.
I tried to use my most soothing human voice to let this fawn lying in the middle of the trail know I was only going to pass by without harming it.
Basalt Peak across Rock Creek drainage.
Basalt Peak across Rock Creek drainage.

At the summit I spied a hunter's camp and there was a small snow patch to keep me hydrated so I set up here for the night. The wind howled and this site is protected by trees.

My home for the next two nights just steps below the Estes Butte lookout site.
My home for the next two nights just steps below the Estes Butte lookout site.

In the morning I walked up to the Estes Butte Lookout Site and started on the trail to Estes Butte proper. There is a 500'+ drop to the low saddle in between and this is where I found lots of brush and blowdown in an area of dead forest.

Estes Butte Lookout site in the morning.
Estes Butte Lookout site in the morning.
The ridge out to Estes Butte summit. The trail drops to 4840' at the low saddle.
The ridge out to Estes Butte summit. The trail drops to 4840' at the low saddle.
The low saddle between the lookout site and Estes Butte has the worst section of brush and blowdown. It is only about 50 yards though.
The low saddle between the lookout site and Estes Butte has the worst section of brush and blowdown. It is only about 50 yards though.
Looking back to the lookout site while ascending Estes Butte.
Looking back to the lookout site while ascending Estes Butte.
Estes Butte summit ahead.
Estes Butte summit ahead.

From Estes Butte I could see the rest of the traverse to Old Gib. it looked far from here but I was determined to see if I could make it out there at least to get a close up view of it.

View across the Chiwawa.
View across the Chiwawa.
The ridge out to Old Gib from Estes Butte, 5942.' The trail again drops to the 5300' level in between.
The ridge out to Old Gib from Estes Butte, 5942.' The trail again drops to the 5300' level in between.
The Old Gib Trail fades in and out in meadowy areas but always stays on or near the crest of the ridge.
The Old Gib Trail fades in and out in meadowy areas but always stays on or near the crest of the ridge.

The trail was easy to follow despite being abandoned and I saw some recent brushing so somebody still cares for it. I spent quite a bit of time clearing what I could by hand wishing I had brought my saw along.

I reached the point where the trail drops down to the west side of Old Gib before contouring back up to Carne Mtn. From here it was cross country up the ridge.

The cairn on the lower left marks the point where the trail goes north contouring around the west side of Old Gib and on to Carne Mtn.
The cairn on the lower left marks the point where the trail goes north contouring around the west side of Old Gib and on to Carne Mtn.
Now off trail and heading to the south ridge of Old Gib.
Now off trail and heading to the south ridge of Old Gib.
First view of the summit of Old Gib.
First view of the summit of Old Gib.

I finally got a view of Old Gib and decided to go for the summit and see how far I could get. The only beta I could find was from a 2002 WTA trip report by "rubberlegs" aka Riverside Laker on nwhikers. He wrote of the route "becoming class 2 in a few sections," so I was encouraged.

Now on the south ridge leading to the summit.
Now on the south ridge leading to the summit.
It looks like smooth sailing from here.
It looks like smooth sailing from here.
Rock near summit.
Rock near summit.

Just below the summit my easy ridge run was stopped by a narrow fin. It was exposed on both sides, a gully with a steep snowfield on the west and the abyss on the east. I was ready to throw a rock over to the summit and call it good here when I noticed a small ledge above the snow on the west side. I down climbed 50' and saw that it would go.

The ridge narrowed to a fin just below the summit. The rock is smooth and exposed on both sides. I downclimbed 50' and traversed above a steepish snowfield to get to easier ground. .
The ridge narrowed to a fin just below the summit. The rock is smooth and exposed on both sides. I downclimbed 50' and traversed above a steepish snowfield to get to easier ground. .
Now on the other side of the narrow fin just below the summit.
Now on the other side of the narrow fin just below the summit.

Finally on easy ground I relaxed on the summit and enjoyed the great views all around.

Summit of Old Gib Mtn, 7071' looking north. Carne Mtn visible in the foreground left of center.
Summit of Old Gib Mtn, 7071' looking north. Carne Mtn visible in the foreground left of center.
The ridge all the way back to where I started. Estes Butte Lookout site barely visible between the double summits of Estes Butte.
The ridge all the way back to where I started. Estes Butte Lookout site barely visible between the double summits of Estes Butte.
Bonanza and others.
Bonanza and others.
Trinity.
Trinity.

On the way down I descended about 200' and crossed the large gully below the snowfield and then contoured over to the ridge I had come up. This worked out very well.

The basin below Old Gib with Fifth of July, Rampart and Garland.
The basin below Old Gib with Fifth of July, Rampart and Garland.
Rock Creek Valley.
Rock Creek Valley.

It had taken me 6 hours from my camp to the summit of Old Gib so I knew I'd be spending another night out. Luckily I had provisions to do so. The trip back was about as long but I took several breaks and continued with some work on the trail. 10.5 miles and 4300' of gain trip total from my camp.

Almost back to the lookout site and my camp. This turned out to be a 12-hour day.
Almost back to the lookout site and my camp. This turned out to be a 12-hour day.
Home sweet home.
Home sweet home.

I filled up my bottles with snow on the east side of Estes Butte and I'm glad I did. When I got back to the lookout site the snow patch had already melted. The snow on Estes Butte should last a few more weeks with some deep drifts there. A nice campsite is located right at the wilderness boundary close to the summit. Water is scarce on this route when snow banks are gone. Bring Lots.

A long but rewarding trip out to Old Gib. Someday I'd like to walk on to Carne Mtn and see the rest of The Old Gib trail.

18 miles with 7200' of gain.



(On the way out I drove up to see how far the Chiwawa River Rd is open. As of June 15th, you can drive to Atkinson Flat Campground where it is barricaded. There are some washouts that must be fixed up valley before the opening to the end).
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wildernessed
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PostSat Jun 16, 2018 12:17 pm 
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up.gif Looks nice especially the view across the valley looking into 5th of July to Garland.

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Living in the Anthropocene
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olderthanIusedtobe
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PostSat Jun 16, 2018 2:45 pm 
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The pic of the fawn is wonderful.  up.gif   Can't say that I've ever seen one that new and definitely never curled up laying in the middle of the trail.  Did it move as you passed by or did it lay still?
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RichP
here and there



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here and there
PostSat Jun 16, 2018 4:02 pm 
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olderthanIusedtobe wrote:
Did it move as you passed by or did it lay still?

It didn't bat an eyelash. I've seen this once before and it's what they do by instinct from what I understand. Play dead and hope they don't get eaten.

Mom was no doubt close but I didn't see her.
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Nancyann
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PostSat Jun 16, 2018 6:48 pm 
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This looks like a fun and rewarding trip with beautiful views. The frosting on the cake though, is the special encounter with the tiny fawn curled up in the middle of the trail!
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Riverside Laker
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PostSat Jun 16, 2018 7:15 pm 
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Thanks for the memories!
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RichP
here and there



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here and there
PostSat Jun 16, 2018 8:31 pm 
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Riverside Laker wrote:
Thanks for the memories!

Thanks for your report.  smile.gif

https://www.wta.org/go-hiking/trip-reports/tripreport-2002070613
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Brushbuffalo
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PostSat Jun 16, 2018 8:47 pm 
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So rewarding to follow old abandoned trails, especially if they follow ridges.
That tiny fawn...so sweet!

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Passing rocks and trees like they were standing still
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RichP
here and there



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here and there
PostSun Jun 17, 2018 10:14 am 
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Brushbuffalo wrote:
So rewarding to follow old abandoned trails, especially if they follow ridges.

I'd rate this as a good early season trip. There are many good spots to make camp along the ridge. When the snow is all gone it's completely dry though. The lookout must have had a source somewhere up there but I didn't see any sign of it.

If anyone heads up there, don't forget your snippers and saw.

That fawn.., there's hardly anything cuter on Earth.

As a geologist, Old Gib must be an interesting feature being an old volcanic neck. Would that solid rock on the summit be hardened lava? It was quite different that any surrounding rock.

The ridge narrowed to a fin just below the summit. The rock is smooth and exposed on both sides. I downclimbed 50' and traversed above a steepish snowfield to get to easier ground. .
The ridge narrowed to a fin just below the summit. The rock is smooth and exposed on both sides. I downclimbed 50' and traversed above a steepish snowfield to get to easier ground. .
Now on the other side of the narrow fin just below the summit.
Now on the other side of the narrow fin just below the summit.
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raising3hikers
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PostSun Jun 17, 2018 4:15 pm 
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cool fawn sighting up.gif  I stumbled upon one several years ago and it's amazing how still they will stay

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Brushbuffalo
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PostSun Jun 17, 2018 5:27 pm 
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RichP wrote:
The lookout must have had a source somewhere up there but I didn't see any sign of it.

According to Crowder and Tabor, water was obtained to the east of your now-brushy saddle north of the lookout. That would have been back when the ridge trail was maintained.

quote="RichP"]As a geologist, Old Gib must be an interesting feature being an old volcanic neck. Would that solid rock on the summit be hardened lava? It was quite different that any surrounding rock.[/quote]

Although I have been to the lookout sites at both Estes Butte and Carne Mountain, I haven't been to Old Gib yet. That rock is all volcanic, based on your pictures, the geologic map, and C & T . A neck is essentially the "throat" of an extinct volcano, the rock of which if more resistant to erosion than surrounding rock will stand up in positive relief: volcanic neck.
Old Gib isn't as textbook as Shiprock or Thielsen, but is still pretty interesting.

Your picture "Rock near summit" shows what looks like pillow lava, which is the result of either a sub- aqueous lava flow or sub-aerial flow that enters water. However, I don't know of other evidence that this was the case regarding Old Gib.  I'll do some research.

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Passing rocks and trees like they were standing still
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Get Out and Go
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PostSun Jun 17, 2018 6:51 pm 
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Good update on the Chiwawa gate.  up.gif  I've visited Estes and Carne, but not Gib.  Another one you've been to around here that I want to get up. (Stormy and Big Lou also come to mind.)

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"These are the places you will find me hiding'...These are the places I will always go."
(Down in the Valley by The Head and The Heart)
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RichP
here and there



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here and there
PostSun Jun 17, 2018 8:01 pm 
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Brushbuffalo wrote:
RichP wrote:
The lookout must have had a source somewhere up there but I didn't see any sign of it.

According to Crowder and Tabor, water was obtained to the east of your now-brushy saddle north of the lookout. That would have been back when the ridge trail was maintained.

Ah..., that makes complete sense being the low point of the whole ridge. I may head back up there sometime and clear out this section with some tools. Good to know that there is a water source nearby.
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puzzlr
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PostSun Jun 17, 2018 8:31 pm 
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Great report and photos. Quite a long day despite the high camp. I'm glad you didn't have to turn around 50' from the summit.

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Justus S.
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PostSun Jun 17, 2018 10:41 pm 
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Nice Rich, Old Gib is kind of out of the way. Here's my TR from the Carne Mtn side.
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Estes Butte Lookout Site/Estes Butte/Old Gib June 13-15, 2018
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