Broken Top

June 7-8, 1997

Seven adventurous souls set out on skis from the Mt. Bachelor Nordic Center, carrying overnight packs and equipped with all the climbing paraphernalia necessary to climb the steep couloirs inside the bowl of Broken Top. The beautiful weather and the relatively short time required to ski to the base of Broken Top made for a leisurely, pleasant ski with frequent snack/snooze breaks along the way. We camped in the trees at the edge of the open meadows just below the open bowl, and enjoyed the sunset as we finished dinner.

We awoke to crunchy snow conditions, and six of the group headed into the bowl. The group divided into two teams of three; the goal of one team was to climb into the Eleven O’clock Couloir, the other team’s destination was the Nine O’clock Couloir. Normally, the Eleven O’clock is the more difficult climb of the two, with a longer continuous stretch of steep climbing; however this time it turned out that the Nine O’clock was the more challenging route, with a 15-foot overhanging bergschrund that proved to be impassable. The Nine O’clockers backed off, and made a stab at climbing an adjacent snow ledge (too soft) before abandoning the attempt and returning to the middle of the bowl to wait for the other group. Meanwhile, the Eleven O’clockers successfully ascended their couloir in good time. When they reached the top, they looked for the other group and noticed them back at the start of the climb. After some shouted communication, the Eleven O’clock people decided that they would skip the summit and return to the bowl, having completed the most technical part of the route, so as not to keep the other folks waiting. They descended by rappelling over the overhang into the bergschrund in the Nine O’clock Couloir, then climbing out of the bergschrund. For those that had carried skis into the bowl, the consolation prize after not reaching the summit was a fine ski back to camp. We packed up camp and skied out to the Cascade Highway.

Participating were Maryanne Reiter, John Leavens, Ken Ball, Michele McCall, Julian Pefialoza, Brian Hoyland and Susan Sullivan, leader.


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