Forum Index > Trip Reports > Estes Butte - 24 nov 2019
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kitya
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PostMon Nov 25, 2019 10:26 pm 
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I felt very republican yesterday.

You know, real independent man, going alone into wilderness, just me and my hybrid electric car and a small pink hand saw. I donít need that pesky federal government to do road maintenance, I can do it on my own!

First two trees across the road where small enough, that I could drive over first and pull to the side the second.

Third tree I actually had to saw through. It took a few hours. Because my hand saw is not long enough, I had to push it around and gradually chip away from all sides. Even after I managed to cut out a big chunk of wood, it was yet another adventure slowly pushing it inch by inch on an icy road to get it off the road surface and into the ditch. I have never realized before how heavy these things are.

Anyway, third tree I started sawing at night and by the time I was done and very proud of myself, sunrise was already shining bright like on a road to heaven.


And then after driving 1000 more feet I got blocked by yet another tree and started to feel that federal government could be kind of useful in a case like this.

I just left the car right there and walked 3 more miles on Chiwawa river road. There were at least 15 more trees across.

Surely, someone will eventually come and cut them with a chainsaw, I thought.

Nope. When I was walking back at night all the trees were still there. Plus, it started snowing.

This was the last of 15 trees before the car on the way back. At least it was easy to remember where I parked.


Estes Butte trail is described as 'seldom maintained with many trees blown down across the trail'. Most of the trail is actually very pleasant. First half a mile is along an old road. Than there are many gentle switchbacks gaining to the ridge. There are 10 or so blowdowns on the switchbacks, but nothing specially hard.

But once you get to the ridge, it quickly becomes a completely different story. First there is at least a hundred trees down across the trail right after the switchbacks (before the lookout).


Second there is another pile of basically the whole forest down for about half a mile in the gap between the lookout and the main summit.


Originally I wanted to continue to the Old Gib, but due to all the time wasted and additional walking due to trees on the road, I decided to make it a short 20miles winter day and turned back after the Estes Butte true summit (about 2 miles after the lookout site). The ridge walk has just amazing views there, with open views to Entiat on the right and Chiwawa river valley on the left. Just gorgeous. It is shocking that with the views like this, trail gets barely any use or maintenance and there is barely any information about it. There is also shockingly little snow for almost December now in the mountains, but thankfully it started snowing later at night and on my drive back Stevens pass was true winter wonderland: about 20 crashed and spined out cars in the ditches along the hwy.


P.S. Should I get a chainsaw? What does everyone use for cases like this?

P.P.S. Any beta on Old Gib? Since I didn't get to it this time, is it better to get there from Phelps Creek TH? I find conflicting information about how hard Old Gib is - from class 4 climbing to class 2 scrambling in different reports frown.gif What is a good route for it?
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Bosterson
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PostMon Nov 25, 2019 11:02 pm 
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Great TR and pics as always!  up.gif

kitya wrote:
I felt very republican yesterday.

You know, real independent man, going alone into wilderness, just me and my hybrid electric car and a small pink hand saw.

cool.gif

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We must move forward, not backward; upward, not forward; and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom!
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RichP
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PostTue Nov 26, 2019 7:20 am 
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Here's my report going out to Old Gib. I only found some class 2+. There is also a report attatched from Justus via the Carne Mtn side. Too bad about all those trees.  frown.gif

http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8027329
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kitya
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PostTue Nov 26, 2019 7:53 am 
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RichP wrote:
Here's my report going out to Old Gib. I only found some class 2+. There is also a report attatched from Justus via the Carne Mtn side. Too bad about all those trees.  frown.gif

http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8027329

Thanks. Coolest picture of the fawn ever. Do you happen to have a map of your route?

Looks like you approached from Estes Butte TH. I fear it will be too boring for me now to go all the way through the trees one more time and I was wondering if going to Old Gib from Carne Mountain is easier/better.
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Riverside Laker
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PostTue Nov 26, 2019 9:15 am 
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I don't recall Old Gib being too scary, back in about 2002. https://www.wta.org/go-hiking/trip-reports/tripreport-2002070613
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RichP
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PostTue Nov 26, 2019 4:08 pm 
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kitya wrote:
Do you happen to have a map of your route?

I don't but it was on trail the whole way until turning off for the summit of Old Gib.
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fourteen410
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PostTue Nov 26, 2019 4:39 pm 
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Now that's some persistence! Too bad that trail hasn't seen much TLC recently.
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Roly Poly
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PostThu Nov 28, 2019 9:37 pm 
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You and Cookie are definitely hard core!  Well done on battling all those downed trees.  I always enjoy your trip reports and your narrative.    Keep them coming!
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Brian R
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PostThu Nov 28, 2019 10:02 pm 
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Decent TR, but, as asked above, why the political stereotypes?
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neek
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PostFri Nov 29, 2019 5:27 am 
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What you do is find a mountain lion to ride, they can just leap over the trees. I've been eyeing that trail for a while, thanks for the report and perseverance.
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Brushbuffalo
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PostFri Nov 29, 2019 4:58 pm 
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Consider a battery chainsaw. I generally carry one in the truck and with at least a 14" bar and  charged 40 A. battery ( 60 is even better) you'll be ready for those smaller fallen trees.
Battery saws require no warmup or gas ( only bar- chain oil).

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Passing rocks and trees like they were standing still
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Sky Hiker
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PostSat Nov 30, 2019 7:49 am 
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Eaaa Who wrote:
kitya wrote:
P.S. Should I get a chainsaw? What does everyone use for cases like this?

No!  You obviously enjoy being dependent on the Government.  To bring your twisted politics into a trip report to complain about a wind event?   So sick of it.

Where did that come from, you read way more into it than was portrayed
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pcg
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PostSat Nov 30, 2019 8:06 am 
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Brushbuffalo wrote:
Consider a battery chainsaw.

Since you have a small 2wd vehicle I agree that is the best option. With that vehicle you will eventually find a tree you cannot deal with anyway (you would need a bigger vehicle to chain up and drag the pieces away) so no point in carrying a larger saw. Just be reconciled to the fact that there will be trees you will not be able to get around, so be prepared to deal with a situation where you might become trapped behind one.

I have a large 4x4 so have the capability to drag large cut logs out of the way. I carry a saw with a 24" bar and 1-1/2 gal. fuel in a vapor-proof can, along with bar oil, wedges, hammer, and chaps. This will let me get through almost anything, and gives me piece of mind knowing I won't get trapped behind a downed tree. It can take weeks to get roads cleared by public employees, especially in the spring when they are overwhelmed with clearing trees on roads that are melting out. Sometimes a private individual wink.gif will come along and do it before then. I'm registered independent and tend to vote progressive.
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Sky Hiker
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PostSat Nov 30, 2019 2:26 pm 
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Sometimes? Most of the time. The USFS relies mostly on individuals to cut of clear out roads as they don't have the personell to do so. I personally cut alot of roads open thru out the year. Chainsaw operation can be dangerous if you don't know what your doing.
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