Broken Top

April 21-22, 1979

This was the Third Annual Broken Top “sit-in-the-snowstorm-and-don’t climb” Climb. It went true to form. In 1977 we reached treeline; last year we made it to the moraine of Crook Glacier; this year we climbed the glacier to reach the North Summit-South Summit col. Instead, we should have stayed in bed!

The ridge was corniced. Climbing under a 20-foot overhang lends a certain interest to a climb. So does rounding a corner and seeing nothing but white—no up, no down, no rocks, no nothin’. In fact, it’s pure unadulterated hell seeing nothing but San Miller’s ugly face at the other end of the rope.

Faced(!) with this horrible situation, I decided to retreat. Ski conditions back to camp were superb, provided you don’t need depth or distance perception. By late afternoon it turned sloppy, making the last few miles to Bachelor a typical slog.

I figure in two more years we’ll reach the summit—next year we’ll reach the base of the pinnacle, and in ’81, the top. Five years is a nice number for finally succeeding.

Participants were Bill McWhorter, Sam Miller, Jack Nitzel, Joachim Prufer, Arran & Parker Riddle, and leader Bert Ewing. Jack and the two Riddles only skied into camp, but did not climb.


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