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chris54

climbing all three sister in one weekend

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On memorial weekend we want to climb all three sisters. Does any one know what the conditions are like this time of year? I also was wondering the best place to start the climb? thanks for the info.

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Start at Pole Creek. It may or may not be clear to the TH. I'm heading there the weekend after this one, so if no one else has any beta I can let you know.

North Sister is going to be the crux, and it will have snow on the summit pinnacle. Expect steep snow/ice for the last bit ~70 deg. Middle Sister will be the EASIEST of the three. South Sister's N. Ridge is a shit show, hope for lots of snow/ice covering the shit that makes up the rock on that mountain.

 

Are you skiing? Where do you plan to camp?

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we don't plan on skiing do you think we need snow shoes to travel our travels. I am also winging the camp sites to i don't know the area. Thank you for the info

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From Pole Creek to Devils Head TH is is just a tad under 18 miles; that is a bit long IMO to chance not needing slowshoes. It is a really 'fun' traverse, and honestly skis would make it AWESOME. You should also check on the status of the Cascade HWY, the HWY that connects Bachelor to 58, because if that is not open then you won't be able to get to the other THs (but for a little extra milage you could connect Broken Top and D. Flats into it and come out at Bachelor). I will be up there next weekend, and will let all know what the trails/snow are like.

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You will really not be dissapointed with this trip. Best time of year to be in there. Pole creek is a quick way in, even with the road snowed in a couple miles out. You can make a basecamp below Middle sister at the treeline that can easially access all your climbing. South sister has two options. The NE ridge is prefered, but perhaps a little harder. If it's not what you want, the NW ridge is not much further walk and should be jsut a snow slog.

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Yeah I forgot to add that the nicest and probably easiest place to camp is going to between Middle and South. I have done the North ridge (same as Luvshaker's NE ridge) and while it was fun, I did it in september so it was all rock or errrr should I say mud/gravel.

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luvshaker-this is not the best time of year to do a traverse, whether one or multiple days. Have you done it?

 

It may be the best time of year to be there for one mountain, but the traverse (especially sans skis) will be very difficult. Like thomas said it's 18 mi from Pole Creek to Devil's Lake with 9800' vert. If you have to hike the last few miles of the road each way that will make your trip SUPER long and you will need to be VERY VERY fit. And that is with hard snow.

 

Also, the N. Ridge (NE) is high 4th class to low 5th on volcanic mud. I've heard of people using ICE SCREWS to protect the ROCK. This is one of the few advantages of doing the traverse with snow on it.

 

You need to plan your camps. Decide how fast you will be able to move...avg time TH-Summit of North is ~7hrs...and plan to camp one or two nights. Start early so you can make camp early as well. Familiarize yourself with the map/area. Route finding is a huge part of this challenge. If you're not skiing, bring slow shoes...don't chance the success of your traverse on saving a few pounds.

 

 

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As far as "best time of the year" to climb the traverse, it really depends on being able to ski out. While Rocky Joe is correct about it being quite a feet without ski's, he's not if you have ski's/splitboard. Skinning in will save lots of time/energy, plus you get to ride down the SE ridge of Middle(will save you at least 1 hour) and down the S. side of S. Sister which will save you a ton of time.

 

I couldn't imagine being back there without flotation devices right now. Road to Pole Creek TH should be melted out within 1-2 miles after all the rain.

 

Sounds like there will be a lot ofus out there next weekend. Maybe we should team up for a safety meeting?

 

JL

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Jlag is right. If you guys ski well...ski. No question. It will make the way up Middle and down all three way faster, easier and more fun. Skiing down middle and south would be sublime. I don't mean to be a nay sayer...but after having done this traverse, I was definitely humbled. It should not be underestimated.

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Also, the N. Ridge (NE) is high 4th class to low 5th on volcanic mud. I've heard of people using ICE SCREWS to protect the ROCK. This is one of the few advantages of doing the traverse with snow on it.

Assuming you mean N. Ridge South Sister, one can avoid any 4th class by traversing up and right at the red band. Horrible scree but never technically difficult.

 

This is talking about September, of course, when you can go for it in shorts, t-shirt and running shoes. A spring attempt is a whole other ball of wax. Probably not much scree though.

 

avg time TH-Summit of North is ~7hrs

This seems a bit slow. North is frequently done from Pole Creek in under 3 hrs. I'm sure it's been done under 2hrs. Are there really people taking 11 hours to summit? Sounds like torture.

 

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Assuming you mean N. Ridge South Sister, one can avoid any 4th class by traversing up and right at the red band. Horrible scree but never technically difficult.

 

This is talking about September, of course, when you can go for it in shorts, t-shirt and running shoes. A spring attempt is a whole other ball of wax. Probably not much scree though.

 

This seems a bit slow. North is frequently done from Pole Creek in under 3 hrs. I'm sure it's been done under 2hrs. Are there really people taking 11 hours to summit? Sounds like torture.

 

When we did the traverse we were in fantastic shape, I was running ~40/week and my buddy was at ~70/week. We pretty much jogged the whole way to and up the ridge. Still made the summit in 6.5 hrs. There was a group of two ahead of us. They left PCTH at 2 (2 hrs before we did) and said they also took about 6.5 hrs. I know that some people may summit faster, but not frequently.

 

Yeah South will be covered in snow, so I suppose the scree won't make much of a difference, but if these guys make the same mistake we did and take the NE ridge, it is difficult. However it may not be near as sketchy this time of year.

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Frequently done from TH to summit in 3 hours? My ass.

 

 

Of course it's been done, but not frequently. You would have to be in really, really good shape to get up that in that amount of time. And if you were going for all 3, that pace would destroy the average person. That is unless you live in Bend and are a marathon runner or some sort of uber athlete.

 

JL

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what ever, I do it every time. When I want to push it I do it in 2.5 hrs.

 

 

 

 

In my sleep...lol

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I know many who are not marathoners or uber anything who've done it in three hours. We did it in 2.5 when we did the traverse and I couldn't run a 3.5 hr marathon if you paid me $500.

 

Don't know about the NE ridge on South but the N ridge, which I thought you were talking about, is class 2.

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Just looked at my notes. We were actually only a bit under 3 hrs not 2.5 hrs,from Pole Creek to summit of N when we did the traverse.

Regardless, I doubt 7 hours is the average time.

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bullshit wimsey. unless you were one of the people on the record holding traverse...which would either make you Max King (an elite 3000 steepler), Dave Clark (an ultra-marathoner) or Mitch Thompson.

 

So, on the side of 3 hr avg...we have wimsey, a world class runner, an ultra-marathoner, and a superb back country athlete.

 

On the side of logic...everything else. Oregon High, me, letsroll, jlag, SummitPost, etc, etc, etc.

 

CC.com-ers. You decide...is 3 hrs the avg time to summit N. Sister?

 

 

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Just looked at my notes. We were actually only a bit under 3 hrs not 2.5 hrs,from Pole Creek to summit of N when we did the traverse.

Regardless, I doubt 7 hours is the average time.

 

6 miles and 5k vert gained in 3 hours? By that math you can do the South Side of Hood in 1.5 hours, since it is half the distance.

 

And this does not look class 2 to me....

DSC00574.JPG

 

DSC00591.JPG

 

 

 

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bullshit wimsey. unless you were one of the people on the record holding traverse...which would either make you Max King (an elite 3000 steepler), Dave Clark (an ultra-marathoner) or Mitch Thompson.

 

So, on the side of 3 hr avg...we have wimsey, a world class runner, an ultra-marathoner, and a superb back country athlete.

 

On the side of logic...everything else. Oregon High, me, letsroll, jlag, SummitPost, etc, etc, etc.

 

CC.com-ers. You decide...is 3 hrs the avg time to summit N. Sister?

 

Hey! I never said the average time is 3 hours, just that 7 hours seems slow. (for an average) Here's what I'm thinking:

 

Enough people climb North Sister that the times are roughly normally distributed. If 7 hours is the mean, then as many people take more than seven hours as take less than seven hours.

 

Since I know many people who've climbed it, most taking fewer than 5 hours, a handful less than 3 hours, and none in more than 7 hours, I'm fairly certain that 7 hours is not the mean.

 

Regarding Max King and party, they did the 3 Sisters plus Broken and Bachelor, which is 30+ miles and not really comparable.

 

Bachelor (~2miles, 3K feet gain) is climbed in under 30 minutes after biking 20+ uphill miles from Bend. Granted, this is by uber athletes, who should have no problem summiting North (5.5 miles, 5K feet gain) in well under 2 hours. 3 hours is entirely reasonable for an experienced and fit but non uber climber.

 

If your are questioning my honesty, I am happy to PM you references that will easily satisfy you.

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And this does not look class 2 to me....

 

 

 

 

Happy to wager you or anyone else any amount over $250 that that ridge is class 2 by this definition:

 

Class 1 Easy hiking - usually on a good trail.

Class 2 More difficult hiking that may be off-trail. You may also have to put your hands down occasionally to keep your balance. May include easy snow climbs or hiking on talus/scree.

Class 3 Scrambling or un-roped climbing. You must use your hands most of the time to hold the terrain or find your route. This may be caused by a combination of steepness and extreme terrain (large rocks or steep snow). Some Class 3 routes are better done with rope.

Class 4 Climbing. Rope is often used on Class 4 routes because falls can be fatal. The terrain is often steep and dangerous. Some routes can be done without rope because the terrain is stable.

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Wimsey,

you may have done the climb in 3 hrs. you may know some people who have done similarly. in those statements there is no statistical legitimacy. your argument is based off too small a sample size for any of your conclusions to hold any water. As well as knowing several people who took ~7hrs to summit, I have read in more than a few locations that the avg time for N. Sister from Pole Creek is 6-8hrs in good conditions (walking, not skinning.) Not the least of which of these was Oregon High. I question your time because of my experience on the mountain...at the time I was VERY fit, running 35-45 mi/week at sub 6:30 pace with workouts in the low 5min/mile pace, and the climb still took me a hair under 7 hrs to complete. Maine-iac was with me, he was also quite fit. Our third, Jon, was running 65-70/week under 6:30s. Our fitness was not a factor, nor was a lack of climbing experience. I cannot see the climb being done regularly in under 5hrs, much less 3.

 

As for the NE Ridge (center of Maine-iac's photo) IT IS 4TH CLASS! No doubt. There is no way that climb was 2nd class or even 3rd. The line we took had fall (tumble) potential of a few hundred feet. The moves required thought and every hold was shit. There were portions of climbing on 70+deg rock, along with sketchy traverse moves on a ledge. If you call that 2nd class, I'm sure you also think Mr. Sharma climbs a mere 5.4.

 

The NW ridge is another story, and I can't speak regarding that, although I have heard it is definitely 2nd class...if that is the part of S Sister you're speaking of, then you are probably right. But the NE Ridge is NOT 2nd class.

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It took Dave and I 7.5 hours from Pole Creek the the summit of North Sis via the Thayer Glacier Headwall. The last 1500 was in utterly miserable breakable crust over powder- we crawled up most of it. I was in plenty good enough shape to do the traverse that day.

 

I can see three hours running/jogging the lower section on dry trail with a light pack. It would be pretty tough in May if the snow wasn't perfect.

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Wimsey,

you may have done the climb in 3 hrs. you may know some people who have done similarly. in those statements there is no statistical legitimacy. your argument is based off too small a sample size for any of your conclusions to hold any water.

 

I've climbed in the PNW since the mid 90's. I worked for a decade as a climbing instructor and guide. You should be careful with such definitive statements about my sample size.

 

If I have a random sample of 10 data points from a normally distributed population, the probability that all 10 are less than the mean is less than 1/1000. With 20, it is less than 1/1000000. You can argue that my sample is not sufficiently random but I don't think you can say it is too small.

 

I made the offhand comment that 7 hours seemed slow as an average time. Perhaps it is, perhaps it's not. I'm not that committed to figure it out one way or another.

 

What is much more interesting is why a couple of extremely fit, experienced guys took almost 2.5 times longer than me, a not especially fit over the hill guy, to climb North

Sister and complete the traverse. And why are they so absolutely certain the North Ridge of South Sister is class 4?

 

Come on guys, pony up and call my bet.

 

 

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Average person is walking/hiking. Not running. Average person takes gear and is not ultralite. I would venture to say that average person goes between 2-4 miles per hour on a trail any faster you would be pratically running. That is not including the "off" trail scrambling speed and altitude. Average person will take breaks.

 

Thayer headwall wallowing will take much longer. So 2.5 hrs longer is not a suprise. Heck wallowing on any route will take longer.

 

Speaking as an average person 7 hrs does not sound off at all. Climbing with average people 7 hrs does not sound off at all. Knowing average people 7 hrs does not sound off all.

 

But what ever, my average may not be the same as you, but I be my average is more average :kisss:

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Wimsey

 

 

Take your holier than thou attitude and shove it up your ass. First you said you knew "many" who have climbed it in under 2 hours. Next you changed it to "a handful"? And now i'm supposed to believe your a statistics guy? Go guide some more clients up Bunnyface, hang at Bellatazza with your laptop and climb Magic Light in your approach shoes.

 

Do i believe you did it in 3 hours? sure, your probably really fit. Do you need to act like it's normal? And that others are below your if they don't? Show some respect dude. It might be one of us "normal" summit in 7 hour climbers that hauls your broken body out of there someday.

 

JL

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Wimsey,

you're a fucktard. You wanna play the stats game? Get a random sample...dipshit. You are right, the chances are slim that randomly selected 10 points would fall below the mean (heard of a convenience sample?) Again your argument holds no water. How about you take 3hrs out of your day, summit the Sister to fetch the register. Call everyone on the list. Have them examine their trip notes and give you the info. You can plot the data (which will probably not be normally distributed, because very few populations are.) You agree to do that...I'll take your wager. otherwise fuck off, you've got 4 people on here (all of whom climb) that have said separately that the climb took ~7hrs and then there's you (whose story changes with each post) saying that (as of most recent post) the avg is around 5 hrs (on mere supposition.) Suck a nut.

 

As for fitness...you run a sub 4:20 mile and we'll talk.

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