Hank and I set out for a day of adventure on Saturday. We got our moneys worth... Our first mission was to reach a large mountaintop arch that I had discovered on a prior mountain biking trip. The front side of the butte was completely shadowed and the low sinking sun was shining directly through the opening. In ten years of coming to this area, I had never seen it before that day. The setting looked amazing!
I wasn't sure if we would be able to reach the location but Hank was ready and willing to try. We ended up circling the entire butte looking for a route. Everywhere we looked was nothing but vertical rock face with no visible safe routes. I was completely deflated by this point. When I was just about ready to give up, my arch finally came into view. There it is!! I must get up higher somehow for a better view. My excitement had put me out ahead of Hank at this point. I was climbing up those rocks like a mountain goat. It looked like an adjoining secondary butte had a manageable route. The initial lower ledge was almost too high. Three ledges later, I was standing on the flat summit of a tower of rock with epic views of the arch and surrounding area. What an amazing setting to experience in person. By this time, Hank had caught up with me at the saddle. With a little persuasion and support I talked him into climbing up onto the butte to see what I was seeing. He just had to see this!
Although we "technically" didn't reach the arch, I was easily satisfied with our accomplishment. I was close enough. I feel there's a climbable route to the arch (maybe) from the south saddle, however coming down safely will require rope and that's assuming there is a good anchor point on top. I didn't like the odds. Do you feel lucky??