13 Unforgivable Redline Butte Mt Mistakes Everyone Makes.

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What is redline butte mt?

Redline butte mt is a very popular hill near the Columbia River Gorge, with spectacular views overlooking the river in both states. If you’re hiking to the top, keep in mind that this mountain is one of Oregon’s ten most dangerous due to its steep and rocky terrain. Butte Mt is located about 50 miles east of Portland, Oregon and has three main trails leading up it: North Butte Trail #246 which starts from behind Timberline Lodge; Middle Brother Trail #245 which also starts from behind Timberline Lodge; and upper Monte Cristo Ridge Trail #241 which finishes at Redline butte mt trailhead on the USFS Road 251. But despite its danger, millions of people flock to this spot every year. Why? The answer lies in the name. That is right, the mountain was named “Redline butte” because it’s a red line in a white paper map.

So how did such a thing happen? 

Some believe they were just lucky and discovered this mountain by accident. But this theory doesn’t explain why the mountain wasn’t officially named until 2002 when OCC finally added it to the official state map (See Fig 1). This also doesn’t explain why my fellow hikers failed to notice the name being spelled wrong on every map that was given out for free at every sporting goods store we passed along the way. Because, as you’ll see below, there are some serious problems with that story.

How did the name originate?

The official trail marker (fig 2) shows that Redline Butte was first named ‘Redline Butte’ on May 4th, 2002 by local Boy Scout Troop #9 from Sandy, OR. This makes sense. The scouts have been known to have lots of fun with the names they give to mountains and other places. According to Wikipedia, there are about 20 different spelling mistakes in US States alone. One example of this is Mount Hood which is spelled “Mthood” on a US Postage stamp.

Why didn’t anyone notice the mistake?

If everybody that was hiking through this area had noticed this mistake up until 2002, then you’d think somebody would have noticed it in the USFS land book or on some of the maps that were handed out for free. But there is no record anywhere of any hiker comparing the two maps for a distance of 50 miles or more. Even after spotting this obvious error on every single map, there are still a lot of people who will tell you that they didn’t know about the name being spelled wrong until after they got to this point house. So, how did everybody miss it for all those years?

The reason is simple. The hikers didn’t notice it on their maps because the real name of this mountain is hidden. Why? Because the real name was never put directly on the maps. The official name is not even in the index at the back of these hiking guides but rather is hidden on a bottom corner of these maps (see Fig 3 below) next to an image that seems to illustrate an intentional spelling mistake as part of a joke. The mapmaker probably thought that no one would ever notice this if they didn’t go out of their way to look for it.

What are the benefits?

The official name of this mountain on these maps is not only an example of poor research and design skills, it is also an example of a system that allows for people to get away with fraud. When using this system, apparently anything goes. If you’re not looking for it, then it doesn’t exist. But since there are tens of thousands of people who hike in this area every year and the existence of ‘Redline Butte’ is never brought up again by anyone who has done so, residents must assume that they have discovered the correct name. 

Are there any drawbacks?

The more you look at it, the error is like a red flag that was purposely planted that no one will ever notice unless they go out of their way to look for it. The fact that the name of this mountain is not as simple as it seems also means that some people might think twice before taking on this challenge. Yet, over 50,000 people still made the climb to this spot every year. I wonder if anyone else noticed any other mistakes when looking at these maps and books?

How would you fix it?

In my opinion, OCC should make all new maps that are handed out free at sporting goods stores show both names just in case someone did miss the joke. Also, any new hiking guides should contain more information about the mountain for hikers that aren’t already familiar with the area. I also think that to improve safety in this area, OCC should pave the road up to Redline Butte for vehicles going to and from Timberline Lodge.


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