Trip Report    

Broken Top/Northwest Ridge

Successful scramble of Broken Top via the Northwest Ridge. This was actually a combo climb that included Mt Bachelor and South Sister, as well.

  • Sun, Jun 24, 2018 — Tue, Jun 26, 2018
  • Broken Top/Northwest Ridge
  • Scrambling
  • Successful
  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Route conditions:

    Day 1 – Mt Bachelor.  We climbed the ridge just left of the Summit ski lift.  We mostly followed the marked trail.  From the upper lift station the true summit is about 15 minutes to climber’s right on an obvious boot path.  We descended on snow to the intermediate lift station, and then took the road/trail down to the parking lot and then TH.

    Time: 2h55m TH to summit; 5h car to car.


     Day 2 – South Sister.  The trail becomes more of an obvious scramble boot path as one ascends.  There are multiple boot paths up the rock and scree slope to the base of the Lewis Glacier.  Boot path switchbacking up the scree slope along the edge of the Lewis Glacier to the crater rim.  Crater was completely snow covered. We descended snowfields down to the large plateau around 6900ft. From there followed the trail back to the TH.

    Time: 5h20m TH to summit; 9h45m car to car


     Day 3 – Broken Top.  We found the climber’s path marked as a campsite by a small stream. Followed the boot path interrupted by snow patches up to the obvious saddle on the northwest ridge.  There are boot paths on either side of the ridgeline pretty much all of the way up to the summit block.  The exposure on the ridgeline was not as great as it looked from South Sister – moderate.  There is a step at the base of the summit block that looks to be 5th class.  We traversed below this band to the notch below the false summit – almost to the saddle where 11 o’clock couloir exits.  We scrambled to the ridgeline from there and then traversed mostly climber’s left along the ridgeline until we got to the standard route along the summit ridge – very exposed on very loose and unreliable volcanic rock.  From there it was an easy scramble to the summit.  We found a good rappel station (2 new slings + rap ring) by following a bootpath below the summit right on the northwest ridgeline. Short rappel with a single 30m rope.  We descended the ridgeline until about 8300ft, then descended scree & snow gulley to about 7400ft, where we intersected our approach path.

    Do not recommend the route we took on the summit block.  There appears to be a climbable break in the rock band a couple hundred feet climber’s right of the ridgeline – we did not explore that band up close.  Alternatively, climbing the short class 5 section directly along the ridgeline would be quicker than the way we went.

    Time: 6h20m TH to summit; 10h25m car to car.


General Activity Notes:
This was actually a combo climb of Broken Top, South Sister, and Mt Bachelor.

We camped at Devil’s Lake campground for two nights.  There are 10 walk-in tent sites, plus one member slept in the car in the parking lot.  Lots of mosquitoes in the afternoon/evening.

Approach conditions:

Day 1 – Mt Bachelor.  We parked at Dutchman Flat TH, but there is actually some limited parking outside the locked gate at the Mt Bachelor Sunrise Lodge entrance.  There is a signed Mt Bachelor Trail sign a couple hundred feet right of the lower Summit Lift station but we just headed straight up under the lift on a boot path.

Day 2 – South Sister.  Well-signed trail from the Devil’s Lake campground.

Day 3 – Broken Top.  Well-signed and well-maintained Green Lakes trail from the Green Lakes TH.  Snow-free to Green Lakes.

Permits required?
NW Forest Pass.

Driving / parking notes:
Plenty of parking available Dutchman Flat, Devil’s Lake TH and Green Lake TH.  Green Lake TH was very full when we returned in the afternoon.

Equipment notes: 
Carried and used helmets and 30m rope on Broken Top.
Carried but did not use crampons/microspikes on Mt Bachelor and South Sister.

Required Skills:
Snow climbing skills. Scrambling skills and comfort with exposure.

Weather Notes: 
Day 1.  Mostly sunny and hazy, with some high overcast.  Breezy on the summit.  Winds from the east.
Day 2.  Mostly sunny and clear.  Windy and cold on the summit.
Day 3.  Sunny and clear, no wind.