Douglas County Highpoint Trip Report
Date: September 2, 2008
Author: Edward Earl
The entry for Thunder Butte in "Hiking Colorado's Summits"
by Dave Covill and John Mitchler is generally good but some conditions have changed
since the book was printed. Dave informed me that there was a fire in 2003.
I saw no power line 0.3 mile from the start of the hike, despite looking
carefully for it. There is, however, an obscure power line at 0.5 mile which I
noticed only on the return leg. This power line consists only of small utility
poles with two wires strung along them. The power line runs through the broad
saddle just before the ridge junction.
I could not find the rock cairn marking the ridge junction. There are a few
natural outcrops in this area but nothing obviously man-made.
All in all, this is a "ridge route", not a "stream route". I tried to cut off
some distance by crossing some side gullies of Shrewsbury Gulch but I still
found myself back on the same main ridge where I was before. It is best to
stick to the ridge crest until it leads you into the slope of Thunder Butte itself.
I then temporarily descended into the gully that heads to the ~9060
foot saddle that lies 0.4 mile south-southeast of the summit of Thunder Butte.
Unfortunately, this gully is now choked with immature cottonwoods that started
growing after the fire. The going was difficult and after just a couple of
minutes I bailed out, climbing slightly up the north side, then heading parallel
to the gully when I found easier going. I gained the summit ridge about 100
feet above the saddle.
The report by Trapper Robbins mentions a gate on CR 9-J and a sign indicating
possible private property concerns but I saw no such evidence of any access problems.