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Three Sisters ski traverse beta?


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Considering trying to do a May ski traverse of the Sisters and Broken Top. I'm sure this has been done, but I wasn't able to find any beta on it here (other than this link).


Is May a good time? Seems like there should be enough snow to actually get some decent skiing in. A back-up plan would be to just hang out on the Jefferson Park Glacier for a few days.


Thanks for any info. Probably just try to figure things out by reviewing Oregon High, but wonder if the climbing routes would offer up the best skiing options.



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May is THE month to go. If you can find a copy of "Oregon Descents", you will be salivating over all the lines. I'd go in Pole Creek TH and make a base camp somewhere around treeline below the Middle Sister. One line I climbed but never got to ski was the Prouty glaicer headwall. Looks so good! If you have a few days, Jeff pk doesn't even compare for skiing.


For the traverse the obvious diro is N. to S. Then you can ski S side middle, S side of South, and W. side of Broken.

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Checked out "Oregon Descents" on Amazon, yikes! $500! I have van Tilburg's Oregon Backcountry Ski book, hopefully that'll fill in the gaps.


So North to South, eh? That's the kind of info I was looking for. I'm not sure if we'll do the base camp thing... I'm more interested in doing it "alpine" style, even if I'm not a hard man :) Probably just bivy while on the traverse. Maybe a base camp to relax afterwards?


How long for a moderately fit group? I was thinking 2-3 days max, unless the weather is grim.


Any need for protection/rope-wankery? I figured just an ax and crampons should do the ticket. Don't think our group will be too focused on summiting, if the climbing gets sketch we'll likely just try to bypass the difficulties. I certainly don't want to lug around pickets and such. I've not climbed anything in the Sisters, but my understanding was that most of the peaks have walk-up routes unless the conditions are particularly icy.


Thanks for the info!

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The cleanest descents from near the summit pinnacle on N. Sister are Thayer Glacier Headwall and Early Morning Couloir. Unfortunately they don't lend themselves to moving south. You can expect some steep snow/ice and rock with significant exposure to top out on these routes that time of year. If you descend via the standard s. route downclimbing into the bowling alley w/ ski boots and skis could be engaging if there is ice.


It would be possible to pick your way down the west face in a southerly traversing fashion but it might not be as satisfying as the above and you'd be skiing it on-sight. It would put you in a good position for moving on to M. Sister. If you are game for the above descents you might consider Diller Headwall on M. Sister. The SW ridge is the classic descent.


I would plan the # of days not for fitness level but to be skiing the routes at the right time of day.

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Thanks, Lowell, that's getting me more stoked!


Been reading "Oregon High" and "Backcountry Ski! Oregon" looking at possible routes. We're not interested in any speed records, or even necessarily summiting each peak... I just think it'd be a superb outing for a few days.




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