Dutton Cliff, also known as Dutton Ridge, is another excellent summit that surrounds Crater Lake. The summit is part of the Oregon top 100 (officially rank 76th in the state of Oregon) but rarely sees hikers in large part because it is overshadowed by Mount Scott and Garfield Peak. The name derives from the large northern cliff that lower almost 2000 feet down into the lake. Like all mountains that enclosed Crater Lake this summit as amazing views of not only Crater lake but Mount Bailey, Thielson and McGloughlin as well. Unlike some of the peak in the park this summit really has no trail or even boot-path to the summit.
In late spring when the East Rim opens up this summit is mostly a snow hike. The slope up from the south is not very steep at all and the needed for an ice axe seems very optional for this summit. In August and September the snow melts and the views begin from this great summit. This peak is also very doable in winter but it turns from a short 4 mile off trail hike into a much longer 14 mile trek.
Start from the East Rim turnoff on the highest part of the ridge. The total hike and round trip distance from the road is 2.6 miles and 800 feet of elevation gain. From here go directly uphill over the very open land. Unless it is foggy you should have easy time navigating yourself up the pumice soil to the summit. One thing to key in mind if you are attempting this summit while it is snow free is that the soil is pumice sand. That means that has you are going up your foot will sink deep into the soil every time you take a step. This will make your ascent much tougher than expected and you descent much easy that expected.
Once you hit the true summit (a stunned tree will mark the actual summit and I did not see any register on the summit) You will be greeted with great views off of Dutton Cliff. Use caution when you are getting near the slope. Pumice sand tends to give way and a fall off and the drop on Dutton Cliff is very deadly. Views here from the true summit are excellent but is well worth it to continue to hike all the way to the north outcrop of Dutton Cliff where view become more spectacular. From there enjoy the excellent view and then return the way that you came up.
Essential GearIn summer trekking poles are excellent to help with the pumice soils. Wearing gators even if it snow free is also recommended. I did not and I had a lot of sand in my shoes.
In winter, bring snowshoes or nordic skiis, food, water, and extra clothing. It is highly important that you know the avalanche report and carry an avalanche beacon in winter because to get to the route up Dutton Cliff will require crossing some avalanche terrain if the road is not open.
Weather ConditionsTemperatures from January to March average 19°F at night and 36°F during the day. Temperatures from July to September average 40°F at night and 70°F during the day. Keep in mind though this is at the headquarters and tends to vary based on elevation. In summer keep an eye on the sky because thunderstorms can pop up without much notice. That being said the summer months have the bulk of the good weather in the park. It should be noted that it has snowed during all months of the season at Crater Lake Park and Dutton Cliff has an elevation that is very close to timberline.
o Average annual precipitation: 69 inches
o Average annual snowfall: 533 inches
o Minimum annual snowfall: 243 inches (1991-92)
o Maximum annual snowfall: 879 inches (1932-33)
o Maximum recorded snowpack: 252 inches (1983)
Click the Satellite picture for a video loop of current weather