Ascent of Belknap Crater on 2012-11-06

Climber: Richard Hensley

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Belknap Crater
    Elevation:6872 ft / 2094 m

Ascent Trip Report

Only one little patch of snow where the trail was shaded by lava.
Approached Belknap from the SE; could see 3 trails to choose from.
I couldn't see where the zigzag one on the right led to, so I went left. The far left one was a bit steeper and appeared to get used less, so I took the middle one. Had solid footing on the cinders until the steeper section halfway.
Good views all around from the top. Too bad many of the Cascade Crest features line up too well at this spot. The Three Sisters block everything to the south, with Middle Sister obscuring all but the west side of the rim and slope of South Sister. And to the north, Mt Washington completely blocks Mt Jefferson. Mt Jefferson can be seen from the lower summit to the NE, which also has a wind shelter.
From the NE summit, took the trail down heading north then northeast. It gets used a lot less than the two on the other side. The first 100ft down was quite steep and loose; easy going down, but up not so fun. It wrapped around the bowl on the northeast side, where it faded for a while, but I eventually found the zigzag trail that finished on the SE side. Along the way, I went off course to look in the two scatter cones on the NE side. Not a lot to see.
Rejoined the PCT and headed for Little Belknap. On the way up, you'll see a couple cave-like openings on the left. The first one is a collapsed lava tube; nothing spectacular. The second one is worth a look though. Appears to be a lava vent with a pit that looked at least 50ft deep. Didn't get close enough to the edge to see if I could see the bottom.
A nice fall day for this hike. Wouldn't want to be on this black lava for several hours in the middle of summer.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1858 ft / 565 m
    Total Elevation Loss:939 ft / 286 m
    Round-Trip Distance:4.6 mi / 7.4 km
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail
    Weather:Pleasant, Windy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1702 ft / 518 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 1649 ft / 503 m; Extra: 53 ft / 16m
    Loss on way in:53 ft / 16 m
    Distance:3.1 mi / 5 km
    Route:southeast side
    Start Trailhead:McKenzie Pass Trailhead  5223 ft / 1591 m
    Time:1 Hours 32 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:886 ft / 270 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 730 ft / 222 m; Extra: 156 ft / 47m
    Gain on way out:156 ft / 47 m
    Distance:1.5 mi / 2.4 km
    Route:north side to two spatter cones
    End Trailhead:PCT - Little Belknap junction  6142 ft / 1872 m
    Time:1 Hours 11 Minutes
Ascent Part of Trip: Belknap Crater (0 nights total away from roads)

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Belknap Crater2012-11-061858 ft / 566 m
2Little Belknap2012-11-06238 ft / 73 m
Total Trip Gain: 2096 ft / 639 m    Total Trip Loss: 2096 ft / 639 m

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