Wedge Butte

Elevation: 5,706 ft
Prominence: 637

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Livingston Douglas provided the updated route information and additional photos found below. Update December 2019


Wedge Butte is located on the North Edge of the Snake River Plain just east of ID-75. It is a distinctive summit from most angles. The butte rises abruptly from the plain and is capped with a rocky crown. Wedge Butte can be climbed from almost any direction. Lines up the East and Southeast Faces encounter cliffs. However, routes from North and West have the fewest obstacles. USGS Shoshone Ice Cave

Wedge Butte from Peak 5273.

Wedge Butte as viewed from Peak 5273.


Access

The peak is accessed from ID-75 where the Picabo Desert Road (a BLM road) leaves the highway. This junction is exactly 7.0 miles south of the US-20/ID-75 junction. The BLM road goes over a cattle guard and runs east along the southern edge of the butte. The road is signed and is on the east side of the highway. This road receives occasional maintenance but will be difficult to navigate when wet. When the road nears the southeast edge of Wedge Butte, there is a fork. Follow the left fork, which leads toward the peak’s eastern slopes.

Northeast Gully/North Ridge, Class 3 by Livingston Douglas 

Date of Climb: June 7, 2019

Access

See above.

The Climb

Follow the Picabo Desert Road E then NE to an early, unsigned road junction. After this junction, the road bends L/NE and follows a dry gully that separates Wedge Butte from Peak 5273. Follow this road north for about 1-1/4 miles up this gully to a point just past the steep East Face of Wedge Butte where there is a prominent gully (to your L/W). Leave the road and scramble NW up a shoulder to reach the Northeast Ridge.

The terrain is a mix of rock (boulders, talus) and scrub. It is a bit tedious. Follow the rounded ridge SW up through sage/grass initially. The ridge narrows, steepens, and becomes very rocky. It has cliff bands, steep face rock, and blocks to navigate (Class 3). The rocky summit of Wedge Butte has 3 USGS benchmarks in 3 separate boulders and a tall post in a nearby cairn.

The Southwest Face of Wedge Butte as viewed from the prominent South Gully. Livingston Douglas Photo

The Southwest Face of Wedge Butte as viewed from the prominent South Gully. Livingston Douglas Photo

West Face/South Gully (Descent), Class 2 by Livingston Douglas

Date of Descent: June 7, 2019

Access

Same as for the Northeast Ridge Route

The Descent

From the summit, descend NW at the top of the summit cliffs until the terrain eases and allows you to descend the West Face to the head of a prominent gully at a saddle (4,980 feet). It is a rock-and-scrub scramble down to the saddle. Find an old jeep road at the saddle and follow it S down the gully to intercept Picabo Desert Road. Follow the road back to your vehicle. This is a much easier route than the Northeast Ridge Route.

The “Rocky” USGS Benchmark atop Wedge Butte. 2 other BMs are nearby. Livingston Douglas Photo

The USGS “Rocky” Benchmark atop Wedge Butte. 2 other benchmarks are nearby. Livingston Douglas Photo

The South Face of Wedge Butte as viewed from Picabo Desert Road. The South Gully is to the far left and leads to a saddle at the base of the West Face. Livingston Douglas Photo

The South Face of Wedge Butte as viewed from Picabo Desert Road. The South Gully is to the far left and leads to a saddle at the base of the West Face. Livingston Douglas Photo

Wedge Butte. Dan Robbins Photo

Wedge Butte. Dan Robbins Photo.

Mountain Range: Snake River Plain

Longitude: -114.29439   Latitude: 43.24169

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