Amazing winter climb of 11 o'clock couloir on Broken Top
Finally got back out in the mountains. It's been an incredibly stressful winter and I needed to take refuge in a tent, and on a mountain in the middle of nowhere. My choices for a weekend climb were Mt Hood or Broken Top, a 9175 ft. Volcano near Bend OR in the Three Sisters Wilderness. I opted for Broken Top and was very happy that I did. It was beautiful and exactly what I needed. I went with a guide and we were the only two people anywhere near the mountain. A lot of snow shoeing on the approach.
Horrible weather at night. So bad we were making other plans on what to do for the day. The weather cleared up and we snow shoed over to 11 O'clock couloir, a 500 ft stretch of 40 degree snow/ice. Hardest climbing I've ever done but I loved it! Crappy snow and rock and we were pitch climbing the entire time.
Got to the top of the couloir, traversed the other side of the mountain, saw every volcano from bachelor to hood, and climbed the last piece to the summit. The last 10ft were the scariest but coolest thing ever. The snow was so bad I couldn't get my crampons to bite without pushing out my steps. Finally I scrambled up and made it! Really, unbelievably beautiful!
I realized a few things about myself. I love hard climbing. Way more interesting than walking up glaciers. And there is no question, my happy place is by myself on the side of a beautiful mountain with amazing views and a blue sky. Such an amazing experience!