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Pawnee Buttes
Colorado's Eastern Plains
February 25, 2012


The Pawnee Buttes, located on the plains of northwest Colorado [in the middle of nowhere].
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Pawnee Buttes
Colorado's Eastern Plains
February 25, 2012


The group prepares for blast off at the trailhead. Why has a ladder been unloaded from Jim's truck? We're taking it with us of course!
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Pawnee Buttes
Colorado's Eastern Plains
February 25, 2012


Luke, Brian, Pete & Jim take the first round of ladder duty.
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Pawnee Buttes
Colorado's Eastern Plains
February 25, 2012


West Pawnee Butte (far right), our main objective.
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Pawnee Buttes
Colorado's Eastern Plains
February 25, 2012


West (center) & East (right) Pawnee Buttes. The eastern butte is relatively easy to climb but the western butte has seen few ascents.
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Pawnee Buttes
Colorado's Eastern Plains
February 25, 2012
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Pawnee Buttes
Colorado's Eastern Plains
February 25, 2012


We're going to attempt to use this 30 foot ladder to breach the vertcial mud rock cliff band on the south side of the west face. The first ascent of West Pawnee Butte was reportedly done via ladder aid in 1906 by the Sterling Fire Department.
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Pawnee Buttes
Colorado's Eastern Plains
February 25, 2012


You can see Luke standing at the base of the problem cliff band in this photo (left side).
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Pawnee Buttes
Colorado's Eastern Plains
February 25, 2012
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Pawnee Buttes
Colorado's Eastern Plains
February 25, 2012


Time to start trying to make an anchor for the ladder on this wierd slope.
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Pawnee Buttes
Colorado's Eastern Plains
February 25, 2012


Men at work.
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Pawnee Buttes
Colorado's Eastern Plains
February 25, 2012


The group prepares for the shenanigans. This peak is a mud rock mess so helmets are mandatory to protect from the inevitable choss fall.
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Pawnee Buttes
Colorado's Eastern Plains
February 25, 2012


Hoisting the ladder onto its anchor.
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Pawnee Buttes
Colorado's Eastern Plains
February 25, 2012


Ta-da! The large stake is driven nearly a foot into the ground.
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Pawnee Buttes
Colorado's Eastern Plains
February 25, 2012


Brian's the first one up the shaky ladder. Dominic belays him while Jim and Steve help secure the ladder.
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Pawnee Buttes
Colorado's Eastern Plains
February 25, 2012


Brian clipping the ladder to and old pin that he can pull out by hand... because its there. Once he tops out on the narrow ledge above he'll drive in a long stake to better anchor the ladder at the top.
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Pawnee Buttes
Colorado's Eastern Plains
February 25, 2012
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Pawnee Buttes
Colorado's Eastern Plains
February 25, 2012


I missed shooting a lot of the action because I was on belay duty but ultimately Dominic was able to breach the difficulties above the ladder with a short but ballsy aid lead. Long nails and Jim's mom's old 2 step etrier did the trick!
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Pawnee Buttes
Colorado's Eastern Plains
February 25, 2012


Here's a good view of the upper difficulties.
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Pawnee Buttes
Colorado's Eastern Plains
February 25, 2012
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Pawnee Buttes
Colorado's Eastern Plains
February 25, 2012


Pete begins the ladder climb.
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Pawnee Buttes
Colorado's Eastern Plains
February 25, 2012
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Pawnee Buttes
Colorado's Eastern Plains
February 25, 2012


Steve at the base of the climb.
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Pawnee Buttes
Colorado's Eastern Plains
February 25, 2012


Dominic belaying other climbers from the top of the technical difficulties.
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Pawnee Buttes
Colorado's Eastern Plains
February 25, 2012


Luke carefully climbing the choss.
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Pawnee Buttes
Colorado's Eastern Plains
February 25, 2012

Happy Luke.
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Pawnee Buttes
Colorado's Eastern Plains
February 25, 2012


The belay anchor is a nail in the dirt...
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Pawnee Buttes
Colorado's Eastern Plains
February 25, 2012


...backed up by our 30 meter rope wrapped around a huge boulder up above.
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Pawnee Buttes
Colorado's Eastern Plains
February 25, 2012


Pete on the upper slopes of West Pawnee Butte.
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Pawnee Buttes
Colorado's Eastern Plains
February 25, 2012


Pete doing a bit of easy scrambling.
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Pawnee Buttes
Colorado's Eastern Plains
February 25, 2012


View of East Pawnee Butte from the summit.
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Pawnee Buttes
Colorado's Eastern Plains
February 25, 2012


Most of the crew on the summit of West Pawnee Butte. The register Brain left here more than a year ago shows no other ascents.
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Pawnee Buttes
Colorado's Eastern Plains
February 25, 2012


Next up: East Pawnee Butte for dessert.
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Pawnee Buttes
Colorado's Eastern Plains
February 25, 2012


Brian climbing up the steep steps carved in East Pawnee Butte. We found a fixed line here but it was unnecessary.
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Pawnee Buttes
Colorado's Eastern Plains
February 25, 2012


Jim, Buster & Steve at the base of East Pawnee Butte.
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Pawnee Buttes
Colorado's Eastern Plains
February 25, 2012
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Pawnee Buttes
Colorado's Eastern Plains
February 25, 2012
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Colorado's Eastern Plains
February 25, 2012


Circling the final cliff band to a weakness that allows access to the summit area.
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Pawnee Buttes
Colorado's Eastern Plains
February 25, 2012


Our group on top of East Pawnee Butte on a gorgeous winter day.
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Pawnee Buttes
Colorado's Eastern Plains
February 25, 2012


Dominic & West Pawnee Butte.
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Pawnee Buttes
Colorado's Eastern Plains
February 25, 2012


Folwwing the scenic Pawnee Butte trail back to the trailhead.