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 hiting 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 glimps of Lassen poping 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 truned 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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