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Hiking Stats as of 11/14/2018
Total Trips:
Total Distance:
Total Elevation Gain:
 325
 3,891.68 miles
 1,060,050 feet

Jul 9, 2016 - Lassen Peak / Brokeoff Mountain

 

Partners: Kyle Breen

Distance: 13.64 miles

Elevation Gain: 4,705 feet

Trip Time: 6:30

Maps and Stats:
Lassen Peak had been on my radar now for a few years, both as a county high point and as an ultra-prominent (over 5,000 feet of prominence). Kyle and I had hoped to do it a couple of years ago as a warm up for Shasta, but trail work was being done and we had to settle for a couple of nearby peaks instead. This time we would make a day of it by combining it with a separate hike of the nearby Brokeoff Mountain, itself a county highpoint. This would be a most productive day, upping my COHP total to 49 out of 58 in California.

After walking the dogs I met up with Kyle at his place and we carpooled up to Lassen Volcanic National Park. I had purchased the annual interagency pass while visiting Alta Peak (Sequoia and Kings NP) the previous week, and as such, avoided the $20 entry fee. As we drove in the scene looked more like mid spring the early summer. Helen Lake was still mostly frozen over and Lassen itself still held some snow, with the summit looking mighty cold buried in cloud cover. The parking lot was barely half full, not to say that there weren't a ton of people around, but rather that the parking lot is massive, with the potential to hold a couple hundred cars.

The trail going up is easy to follow, and with the exception of a few snow patches, was in prime condition. What was giving us a bit of trouble was the fierce winds. They were strong near the bottom, but as we ascended they became very uncomfortable. Despite this, there were a few people hiking in shorts, wildly unprepared for the weather. The clouds were blowing in from the west, hitting Lassen and then rising up and over the peak, howling all the way. As the trail wound around off the ridge the winds died down, and a few views opened up. After about an hour we reached a plateau where most hikers seemed to be satisfied with the days effort, despite still needing to do some more work to get to the summit. We crossed the snowfield, with the well worn trail through the snow making the crossing easy. Across the way we could see the crater of Lassen, which while not the summit, held the wildnerness HP and we would visit a bit later. But first, there was an easy scramble up the rocks to reach the high point of Mt. Lassen, where we located the benchmark.

We had some great views of the surrounding country, staying a few minutes before heading down and over towards the crater and the wilderness HP. We took a circular route around the crater, crossing a snowslope before ascending a steep scree field and walking along the crater rim. From there Lassen was periodically disappearing from view due to the clouds, but we were largely protected. We made a quick descent back down, taking about 45 minutes to get back to the parking lot.

We then drove over to the Brokeoff TH, for what actually is a longer hike than Lassen. The hike is a bit longer and has a bit more elevation gain, albeit at lower altitude. There is a nice trail through the forested lower slopesPhoto Description, which gives way to rocky, volcanic slopes for the upper portion. There are a few easy creek crossings and the hike itself is quite enjoyable. Once we emerged from the forest we could see the peak, still well above us. The trail switches back nicely, never becoming too steep, and results in a nicely graded track to the top where fantastic views of Lassen (at least the part not in the clouds) awaits. The views from Brokeoff are nearly as good as those from Lassen, without the crowds. We found the Benchmark and took some time to look around the volcanic slopes before calling it a day and heading back down, through a couple of snowfields and down to the forest.

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