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AlpinistAndrew

[TR] South Sister & Middle Sister- South Sides 9/2/2004

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Climb: South Sister & Middle Sister-South Sides

 

Date of Climb: 9/2/2004

 

Trip Report:

One of my buddies and I decided to head down to OR to climb Jefferson, seeing as the weather forecast looked good for that area. We hiked into Jefferson Park and set up camp, beuatiful area, but we couldn't see the mountain because we were socked in. It rained the whole time, we finally decided to bail and go to Smith, but we opted to wait it out a bit until the next morning. So we woke up at 4am to more rain and hiked out. As we drove into the town of Sisters early that morning, we eyed the Three Sisters Mountains. We inquired locally at the ranger station and we were soon on our way to the TH of South Sister. We hiked to the top of it that day. Great views. That night we drove to the TH for Pole Creek and the next morning hiked to the top of Middle Sister (tons of loose rock). Overall fun hikes with great views. I wanna climb N. Sister, but I think I'll do that when it is covered with lots of snow.

 

Gear Notes:

used: Trekking poles

 

Approach Notes:

S. Sister: Trail all the way to the summit, though strenuous.

 

Middle Sister: Trail part way, then offtrail travel with minor scrambling.

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Define "adequate cover" (i.e. what time o' year?). I can't imagine the approach in the winter when McK pass is closed, so when do you hit it with snow on top yet the pass is open. I'm guessing late spring or possibly the next few weeks or so???

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I was up on Middle Sister Wednesday, and found out what it's like to climb on "inadequate" cover. I camped near the Chambers Lakes and went up the south ridge route. It was a mix of soft snow, ranging in depth from 5 inches to two feet, and the usual extremely loose rock underneath. Around 9,400 feet or so, I became very uncomfortable with this relatively shallow layer of wet snow over the very loose stuff due to the rocky runout below and the fact that crampons and axe would have been useless. I just didn't want to attempt to downclimb that crap, so I turned back. There was not enough snow to kick good steps or plunge-step. I also was traveling solo.

Anyway, the trip still was worthwhile, as it was sunny and I have never seen the sisters looking so good. I was surprised by the volume of snow up there so early in fall.

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Depends on the how heavy the winter is. You can usually go in McKenzie pass by late June/July. Most of the West side traverse is usually snow covered with ridges bare of snow. But if you really want more snow coverage and don't mind a longer approach go in Pole Creek. The trailhead is clear of snow before McKenzie opens. Let me know if you need more info.

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