Broken Top

August 21-22, 2010

A group of five Obsidians made the drive from Eugene to arrive at about noon at the Green Lakes Trail Head. The early afternoon was pleasantly cool, with a breeze and intermittent clouds, for our hike up Fall Creek to the beautiful Green Lakes Basin. Though we were carrying overnight and climb gear, the great majority of users were day hikers. I don’t think I have ever seen so many cars in the parking lot. Even the overflow parking was full nearly to capacity. The popularity of this trail is understandable, but it hardly seems like a “wilderness” experience to hike such a heavily used trail.

After reaching the lakes, we soon left the crowds behind as we turned east off from the main trail and started up the gentle slope toward Broken Top’s northwest ridge. We had plenty of time for a leisurely afternoon. After setting up the tents on the rise above the spring some opted for a hike around the lakes (And, for the really hardy, a swim. Brrr!) and some stayed in camp to relax and enjoy the world class scenery. Our evening was very enjoyable and the sunset clouds blowing about the Sisters were truly spectacular.

There had been some question about the weather but morning dawned bright and clear. The breeze was light and the day cool and fine for our hike up the ridge. We took our time and moved carefully on the loose rock. At the base of a small cliff just below the summit we put on our harnesses and used a rope for protection for about fifteen feet of vertical climbing. One of our party decided to stop just below the cliff. The other four proceeded without further need of a rope, walking carefully up the exposed, sloping ramps that lead up the crumbling cliffs to the summit.

The view from the top is phenomenal, and sharing it with a group of friends, new and old, is a great pleasure.

After savoring the climb and posing for the obligatory photos, we started back down the ridge, again taking our time to pick our way carefully down the notoriously loose and steep slopes that are the trademark of the Cascade’s volcanoes. There were no problems in the descent and we had plenty of time to pack up camp and head back toward the cars. By the time we arrived, tired but contented with our successful climb, the weekend crowds had all but disappeared.

Thanks to my fellow climbers who made this a very enjoyable trip. Special thanks to Wayne for his help and support and to Sue for generously sharing her van which allowed us all to travel together in one car.

Climbers were Sean Breslin, Sue Carey, Wayne Deeter, Bistra Hristova and Doug Nelson, leader.

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