Lassen: Claustrophobia on the Summit
13 May 2000 - by Ron Karpel
The weather Saturday morning was cloudy, but the summit was out of the
clouds. The road was open for driving to the Bumpass Hell Parking lot near
Helen Lake. From there, a 1/2 hour walk on the plowed but closed road got
us to the upper parking lot. There were 5-8 feet of snow at this area, but
higher up on the ridge there were many bare spots. To gain the ridge, some
of us took a shorter steeper path, keeping a straight line to the summit,
while other gained the ridge a little lower skirting the steep and ice
section on it's right. Another 1 hour or so of following the ridge on
mostly stiff snow got us to the summit. It was windy, and the clouds where
forming a low ceiling above the summit, but we managed to find a place
protected from the wind and the sun popped through a few times to warm us up
a bit for our early lunch break.
We started down, and as we decended, so did the clouds. About half way down
the ridge, it started snowing, and we made the rest of the way to the cars
in the intensifying storm. Hopes for bagging Brokeoff the same day melted
as quickly as the fresh snow hitting the plowed pavement, and with forecast
which expected things to get worst, we headed home. On the way down to Red
Bluff I managed to get a last glimpse of Lassen popping out of the clouds
again, but it was too late.
At least we bagged Lassen which is way better then the previous couple of
years when bad weather turned us back without summiting.
Participants: Arun Mahajan, Bill Kirkpatrick, Fi Verplanke, George Van
Gordon, Jan Nicholas, Linda Smith, Maxym Runov, Ron Karpel, Ted Raczek.
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