Broken Top

August 9, 2008

We started out at the Green Lakes trailhead at 6:20 a.m. The temperature was about 42 degrees and there were a few clouds overhead. After an hour, we left the trail and followed a compass heading toward the saddle on Broken Top’s northwest ridge. As we approached the ridge, low clouds began moving in and wrapping themselves around the summit. To the west, we saw that clouds had also swallowed South and Middle Sisters. At the ridge itself, a stiff, cold wind began blowing from the west, so we tried to stay on the east side of the ridge as much as possible. The Tam MacArthur Rim area east of the ridge seemed to remain clear and warm, but visibility at the ridge was occasionally no more than 25 yards. We made it to the summit block at 10:30, exposed to the full force of the wind, and debated making the 4th class climb to the top. We knew that once we were on the summit block, we would need to set anchors and rope up or risk being blown off balance by a strong gust. Instead, we backed down about 500 feet to take shelter behind a small gendarme and waited to see if the weather would calm down. After 30 minutes, the clouds cleared from the summit, but the wind remained strong and cold and more clouds were on the horizon. At that point, we decided to leave the summit for another day and hiked down the climbers’ trail to Green Lakes. It was a beautiful day at the lower elevation and we met lots of backpackers and day hikers along the trail. We were back at the trailhead by 2:45, looking forward to giving the mountain another try in the future. Climbers were Brian Hamilton, leader, and Larry Huff, assistant leader.

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