Broken Top by Livingston Douglas

Elevation: 6,058 ft
Prominence: 188

The summit cairn atop Broken Top with Big Cinder Butte in the background. Livingston Douglas Photo

This peak is not in the book. Published December 2019


Date of Climb: May 31, 2019

Broken Top is a crumbly hill with thick brush and trees on its North Side. It lies in the shadow of the much more impressive Big Cinder Butte to the south. Broken Top sits above Buffalo Caves, a popular spot in Craters of the Moon National Monument. The Broken Top Loop Trail provides access to all four sides of the peak. The easiest line of ascent is via the Northwest Face. USGS Inferno Cone

The summit cairn atop Broken Top with Big Cinder Butte in the background. Livingston Douglas Photo

The summit cairn atop Broken Top with Big Cinder Butte in the background. Livingston Douglas Photo

North Face, Class 2

Access

Drive up the Craters of the Moon NM Loop Road to a signed turnoff for the Tree Molds Trail. Drive 0.6 miles S on this road to a nicely-shaded picnic area on the L/E side of the road just before the road reaches a sharp right bend. Park in a pullout here (5,850 feet). This is a short-cut route to quickly reach the Broken Top Loop Trail. Alternatively, you can drive farther along the road to reach the official trailhead for the Broken Top Loop Trail and hike up from there.

The Climb

From the picnic pullout, bushwhack S up through dense forest to quickly intercept the Broken Top Loop Trail. You will find the remnants of an old trail to help you with this short bushwhack through the forest and brush. Cross the Broken Top Loop Trail and bushwhack S up through thick sage and prickly brush to reach the rocky open summit of Broken Top. From the trail crossing, it’s only about 100 vertical feet to the summit. The summit had no cairn, so I built a decent one and left. The summit area is just a flat hump of red lava talus/scree.

South Face, Class 2

Access

Same as for the North Face Route.

The Descent

From the summit, descend the open, easy South Face on lava scree and gravel. You will quickly reach the Buffalo Caves at the base of the South Face. The Broken Top Loop Trail is also here.

Climber Trip Reports

Mountain Range: Snake River Plain

Longitude: -113.54249   Latitude: 43.42909

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