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Ascent of Broken Top on 2002-08-17

Climber: Dennis Poulin

Date:Saturday, August 17, 2002
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Broken Top
    Location:USA-Oregon
    Elevation:9175 ft / 2796 m

Ascent Trip Report

I left Medford early and drove to the Broken Top Trailhead for a dayhike of Broken Top. The dirt roads to the trailhead get progressively worse. I thought USFS 370 was bad until I got on USFS 380 which was worse. I eventually manuevered the roads got to the large parking lot at the trailhead. The trailhead has parking for at least 20 cars, has nice toilet facilities and the trailhead is well marked.

The trailhead starts out nice and wide and loses elevation as it heads west towards Broken Top. The trail easily crosses a few creeks that are coming off of Broken Top. These creeks may be a problem earlier in the season when the snow is melting. The trail works its way around the south side of Broken Top and then turns more north as it approaches Green Lake. Green Lake is about 4.5 miles from the Broken Top Trailhead and loses about 500 feet in elevation so the miles go by quickly.

From Green Lake I headed east cross country towards the obvious bowl on the western side of Broken Top. There are climbers trails that lace the area. I picked one and kept heading north and east towards the northwest ridge. The climbers trail heads up to the ridge top and it was somewhat steep befrore I reached the ridge top. The ridge top is only about 1.5 miles and 1,500 ft elevation gain from Green Lake.

The northwest ridge line is easy to follow and it is about another mile to the summit with another 1,100 ft of elevation gain. I stayed near the top of the ridge wherever I could. There are steep drop offs in places along the ridge, so watch your step because there are lots of loose rocks.

As I approached the summit block, I was unsure which way to go. I knew I couldn't climb directly up the summit block so I explored to the right. This was a mistake, I didn't see any easy way to climb the summit block, so I returned to the northwest ridge and went to the left. It was fairly easy to traverse along the east side of the summit block for 100-200 yards until I could see where other climbers had scrambled up to the summit ridge. I would say this was a Class 3 scramble, only I was above the eastern bowl of Broken Top and above the Crook Glacier. It was quite a drop if I fell, so that probably qualifies this as a Class 4 scramble. Be careful going up and coming down this part because there are a lot of loose rocks and they can be dislodged onto climbers that are below. A rock helmet would be a good precaution in this area.

Once up to the summit ridge there is still some scrambling back to the north to reach the summit. The views from the summit are really awe inspiring. The Sisters and very picturesque.

I down climbed the same way I went up the summit block and then returned back down the northwest ridge. I returned to my car the same route that I used in the morning. Total hike was about 13 miles with 3,075 ft of elevation gain. The round trip took about 7 hours including lunch. It was a hot day in August and I was thankful that there was water in the creeks because I drank the gallon I carried with me and needed more before I got to the car.

Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:3075 ft / 936 m
    Extra Gain:370 ft / 112 m
    Distance:13 mi / 20.9 km
    Route:Trail to Green Lk then cross country
    Trailhead:Broken Top TH  6840 ft / 2084 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Scramble
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:4 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:3 Hours 



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