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Climbing Broken Top, a traditional mountaineering summit

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Broken Top and small lake.

South Sister.

Middle and North Sister from Broken Top 
Northwest Ridge.

Broken Top's Northwest Ridge.

Further up the the Northwest Ridge.

Nearing the summit pinnacle.

The crux ("Nose") with crack and 
handholds on the face.

Alternative crack and holds 
about 20' to the left.

Broken Top summit block.

Southeast Ridge and Ball Butte 
from Broken Top summit.

South Summit of Broken Top and Mount 
Bachelor from Broken Top summit.

Broken Hand and Tam McArthur Rim 
from Broken Top summit.

Looking down at the Crook Glacier 
from the summit.

Southeast Ridge and Broken Hand 
from Broken Top summit.


South Sister from Broken Top summit.

Northwest Ridge from summit.

Looking down the Bend Glacier headwall.

Scree slope descent.

Looking up the scree slopes.

View of summit from Green Lakes.

Fall Creek.

Copyright© 2001-2003 by Paul J. McClellan. All Rights Reserved.

Route: Northwest Ridge via Green Lakes
Start at the Green Lakes Trailhead just off the Cascade Lakes Highway. Take the Green Lakes Trail north along Fall Creek 4.5 miles to Green Lakes. At Green Lakes turn directly towards Broken Top and follow the trail that passes just left of the smaller lake. Just beyond this lake is a creek bed. Find a climber's trail here that will lead you up to and along the Northwest Ridge. The Northwest Ridge is scenic, fun, and straightforward. 

Near the top of the ridge is a red rock band. One can climb this up a short, easy crack/chimney step on the right but one might be able to scramble up the left hand side as well. 

Climb up to a steep rock buttress above the Bend Glacier Headwall. In early season this may require traversing snow with considerable exposure. Just below this buttress is an obvious ledge that could serve as a spacious bivy site but more likely has been created by many people milling about. The buttress only about 10 feet high. Note a crack and good hand and foot ledges just to the right of the crack. Either climb this crack and holds or move about 20' to the left to find an easier route with less exposure. 

Once up this buttress obvious ledges lead across the west side of the pinnacle to a notch. Turn left at the notch and follow another ledge to the obvious summit block. The summit block is straightforward and has some decent rock. 

As always in the Oregon Cascades, test every hold and keep three points of contact with the rock at all times. Hand and foot holds can dislodge at any time. 

On the descent downclimb the Northwest Ridge a short distance then move left onto a trail down the long scree slope. From the bottom of the scree traverse back towards the climbers trail. While descending the climbers trail towards Green Lakes you will pass above a large spring.
--Paul J. McClellan

Webmeister's Note: Paul McClellan gave me permission to post his images of his recent climbs of Mt. Thielsen and Broken Top. Paul has his own website, GlassMountains. He states, "The purpose of this site is to share some of my recreational interests, trip reports, and plans with my family and friends, and to provide links to related resources on the web."

Paul is a very experienced mountaineer, having summitted the Eighteen Major Northwest Peaks. He states, "These eighteen peaks are considered by both the Chemeketans and the Mazamas as the "Major Northwest Peaks" and recognize their members with awards who successfully climb these peaks on club climbs. The Chemeketans include all eighteen peaks; the Mazamas include sixteen of them, excluding Broken Top and Mount Thielsen. Linda joined me on our quest to climb these peaks. We shared most of the climbs together, often leading the climbs in order to get them on the official Chemeketan climb schedule. She successfully completed her goal in 1994 on Mount Baker. I completed mine in 1993 on Mount Shuksan."

Paul McClellan lives in Bend and is a member of Chemeketans, Mazamas and Bend's Cascades Mountaineers Alpine Climbing Club. Visit his site GlassMountains for more great photos and advice from a traditional mountaineer. He can be reached at




Read more . . .
Broken Top winter ascent
Broken Top winter exploratory adventure
Broken Top circumnavigation
Broken Top with Z21 TV
Danny Curran
Prospectus for a Broken Top Circle  Two pdf pages
A cross country circumnavigation of Broken Top in late summer
Prospectus for two day adventure with friends  Two pdf pages
A cross country circumnavigation of South Sister in September

Photos of a South Sister snow-climb in June 2006
Photos of Central Oregon from an ultralight aircraft
Views of the Oregon Cascades in the summer and fall
Views of the Cascades from the ridge above Three Creek Lake
Summits of the Oregon Cascades from Tumalo Mountain in February 2005
A snowshoe summit of Vista Butte off Cascades Lakes Highway near Bend, OR
Mt. Bachelor, the Three Sisters and Broken Top
Photos of the Three Sisters Wilderness Summits form Sparks Lake
Geocaching the Top of Black Crater
Overlooking the Three Sisters from Mt. Bachelor   
Three Sisters summits  
Scott shares his summits of Middle Sister and Mt. Thielsen

Ben Moon, MoonFoto
Bruce Jackson Photography
Aerial photos of the Cascades summits by Mark and Jody Tuttle

Timberline Mountain Guides lead North Sister climbs
North Sister, the Terrible Traverse in September, 1999
Middle and North Sister exploratory adventure   
North Sister and Middle Sister spring summits on telemark skis
North Sister, Scott's solo summer summit
North Sister exploratory
North Sister winter solo
North Sister: crux photos of the Three Sisters Marathon
North Sister by the south east ridge

Middle and North Sister exploratory adventure  
North Sister and Middle Sister spring summits on telemark skis
Middle Sister spring summit

The Fall Creek Trail to Moraine and Green Lakes near Bend Oregon
Photos of a South Sister snow-climb in June 2006
A cross country circumnavigation of South Sister in September
South sister spring overnight snow climb, gear and skills
South Sister Summer Summit
South Sister climbers trail relocated
South Sister Spring South Ridge Summit

Hiking to the glacial tarn below Broken Top in the Three Sisters Wilderness
A cross country circumnavigation of Broken Top in late summer with friends
Broken Top north side, with Z21 TV
Broken Top winter summit with Eric Hoffman
Climbing to the summit of Broken Top
Climbing Broken Top with Eric Seyler
Todd Lake, a gateway to Broken Top
Broken Top circumnavigation
Climbing Broken Top in the winter

North American Pond Skimming Contest at Mt. Bachelor
Mt. Bachelor ski and summer resort during the Atta Boy 300
Atta Boy 300 dog sled race start and finish from Mt. Bachelor
Overlooking the Three Sisters from Mt. Bachelor   
Mt. Bachelor from Tumalo Ridge
Photos of the melted snow pack near Mt Bachelor

Summits of the Oregon Cascades from Tumalo Mountain in February 2005
Tumalo Mountain across from Mt. Bachelor
A spring climb of Tumalo Mountain near Mt. Bachelor

Climbing Mount Hood in May
Mount Hood, south side route in June
Climbing Mount Hood in July
Mount Hood, Eliot glacier ice travel practice
Recent accident on Mt. Hood

Mt. Jefferson winter summit Eric Hoffman

Climbing Three Finger Jack, a deceptively dangerous fifth class summit
Three Finger Jack

Geocaching the summit of Belknap Crater in the Mt. Washington Wilderness