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Posted (edited)

Mostly curious about the "terrible traverse" and "bowling alley" section of north sister. Want to know if there is still snow in that section, so I can decide whether I'll need crampons/ ice axe or not. 

If anyone has been up there recently or has an idea of conditions please let me know! Looking to be up there on Saturday.

Edited by Alpinestrawberry

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Posted (edited)

Was up (down?) there July 20.  Terrible Traverse is a challenge.  There is snow across most of the face.  In the AM it was very hard, not ice, but hard snow, definitely crampon/ice axe territory.  One of us traversed on front points.  I went up into the moat.  The moat goes most but not all of the way across.  Both of us wound up on a mini ledge on the far side and rapped off a flake to dirt. Coming back, we both traversed a little lower, and it worked ok.  Bowling alley is free of snow and not a big deal, fun 3rd/4th class scramble depending on the route you take.  Just make sure you take the right fork in the gully.

Edited by mughjie
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Did the traverse yesterday. 

Beta:

-South Sister: No snow on the south route unless you choose to walk directly across the crater at the top which is flat. North ridge descent route is also snow free but obviously loose and chossy. Maybe 2 distinct spots of 3rd/4th class but not nearly as bad as the entire upper portion of north sister.

-Middle Sister: You can avoid snow on the south ridge route by taking the boulder field to the left of the large snow field on 2nd-3rd class terrain all the way to the summit. Coming down the north side was obvious, make sure to take the skiers left (west) when at the saddle between middle and north to avoid cliffs and go on a gentle snow slope.

-North Sister: The south Ridge is the worst scree I've ever been on but not dangerous (2nd class) until you gain the ridge proper towards the summit block. We stayed almost entirely on the north/east side of the final ridge towards the terrible traverse and that seemed to be the easiest terrain but we definitely made a few class 4 moves. The terrible traverse itself is still full of snow. Didn't see the "mini ledge" to rap off of. I chose to front point across the traverse with my trail runners, ice axe, and strap crampons around 1 pm (snow was soft enough to get 1/3 of a foot in but still relatively hard). I wouldn't recommend this, as it's definitely a no fall zone and 60-70 degree snow? Steepest snow I've been on at least. I can't stress enough how far to the right the bowling alley is around the corner from the traverse because I missed it and had to down climb the gully on the left. I traversed back on the snow lower to get to the dirt below the buttress that marks the start of the terrible traverse as mugjhie recommend which made the snow traverse shorter but no less steep/exposed.

 

Feel free to message me with any questions.

 

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Nice job. The traverse on N Sister is probably "only" 45-50 degrees, but it sure feels steep when you're contemplating your certain doom should you screw up and slip unroped.

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Haha damn, turns out I'm still a wimp on steepish snow. Oh well, good to understand how traversing 45 degree snow feels for the future. Thanks for the info. 😅

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