Brokeoff Mountain Lassen Volcanic National Park

  • Updated: July 02, 2017
  • Post By: Matthew Hengst

July 2nd, 2017
Broke Off Mountain NW Summit (9,200')
7 miles, 2700'

This was the third day of a big 4th of July road trip where we visited Trinity Alps, Lassen Volcanic National Park, and the furthest north of the Sierra Peak Section list.  Writeups of the other days can be found here.

After spending a really pleasant night near the top of the road leading to the Weaver Bally Fire Lookout we packed up in the morning and headed for Lassen.  (Fortunately driving down the dirt road in a passenger car was a lot easier than getting up it.)

It was just a few hours drive from Weaverville to Lassen and we arrived a little before 11 am.  Having never been there before we made the first stop the visitors center where a rather...interesting park employee told us to expect 25 foot snow drifts if we climbed Lassen and recommended crampons and ice axes.  Looking out the window I had my doubts.  There was still snow visible but it looked pretty patchy and the weather was really warm down here.

As of last week the road had only been open to the Sulphur Works but now they'd cleared it as far as the bumpass Hell parking area.  This was great for us since it meant we would save several miles and one thousand feet of walking a road.

We drove up to the Bumpass Hell parking area and found the main source of entertainment people were getting was taking pictures in front of a single large snow drift.  Sadly the trail down to Bumpass Hell was closed as it wasn't melted out yet and the park was concerned about people falling in and boiling alive.  So that was out.

Brokeoff Mountain on the left from Bumpass Hell parking lot the following day

Looking at the options available we decided to do Brokeoff Mountain that afternoon since it seemed to promise the best views of the park and then plan to start up Lassen early the next morning.

The trailhead for Brokeoff is a small lot on the side of the road just outside the southern Lassen entry station.  While you don't have to pass through the entry station the sign warns you that you have to pay to hike from here.  Fair enough.

We could see some snow up above but the bottom was dry and green so we decided to start hiking in our light boots and just carry snow boots.  (All Jen has for snow boots are plastics and it's rather hard to walk on dirt with them)

I should amend the statement about it being dry.  Once we were up a switchback or two there was water everywhere.  And once we gained a little altitude what wasn't running water was patches of snow.

And before long the snow was unavoidable and we switched to snow boots and gave up trying to follow the trail.

The climb to the southern ridge was steep at times and we could hear people off to the left yelling back and forth trying to get down the cliffy terrain.

Once on the western flank the snow coverage varied.

After a very large switchback the last section of trail to the summit was completely bare.

Jen celebrating reaching the summit of Brokeoff

Views from the summit were awesome and I'd argue better than what you get from Lassen itself.  If you're only going to be in the park for a few days and want to hike I'd strongly recommend doing this vs any of the other options.

There's a second small summit to the northwest and seeing as how it appeared on Peakbagger and several friends had climbed it we had to divert to take a look.

The views were even better from here since Brokeoff (the summit is in the back)

Heading down we glissaded where we could which made for some nice shortcuts.

We found the section which must have been about where we'd heard people yelling on the way up.We just had to backtrack slightly to the north and found some rocks to climb down.

Once down we decided to head over to Chester in the hopes of getting a shower as it had been a sweaty couple of days.  We also decided to splurge and eat out assuming we could find something open late.

That turned out to be The Locker Room which was open late, had beer, and decent food in addition to some interesting decor.  Also the menu showed a BBQ Sundae which seemed to be all the various BBQ sides combined together in a jar.  I was sad I couldn't convince Jen to get it.

Sadly the pay showers were located at a laundromat which closed early so we were disappointed when we wandered over after dinner.

Much more content if still slightly smelly we drove the 30 or so miles back to Lassen and found a place to camp off 29N22 south of the park entrance.

Next up, Lassen Peak itself!

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