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Normanras

Question about the Sisters current conditions...

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I was thinking of trying to hike south sister mid-week next week and was curious if anyone knows what the conditions might be like up on the mountain. I'm from the east coast and my buddy (who lives here) hasn't done much hiking in land (mostly on the coast). Could anyone give us some pointers and tips? We're expecting some snow but didn't really plan for crampon or snowshoe travel... Any advice would be great!

 

Thanks!!

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was just at middle sister this weekend as were others at north. There is lots of snow at 5,500 and up. The road that allows you to drive to SS will open this weekend. The parking will likely be very very limited along the road still, though maybe it is melted more than in prior years.

 

A decent chunk of the higher mnt (from Lewis Tarn [small water body at foot of Lewis Glacier] to summit) is a red ridge that I bet is clear and melted now. You will have lots of snow below that though I am sure. Crampons would be prudent, and possibly slowshoes if it is really hot and mushy out. If that is the case though snowshoes could easily get you up any of the snow sections. Really depends on conditions, if it is soft it can be climbed w/o crampons. I would prepare for worse case if you can then allow yourself to backoff. Consider it a 'winter' climb as far as snow is concerned..you will see very little 'trail'. SS as a 'walk up' in trail runners will be like late July-August? I'll let someone else field but that is my take.

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I would concur with Water. I was over on the N last weekend and what was decent skinning and skiing conditions would have been a miserable suck fest without flotation. With the recent weather you may find either fresh snow or rain saturated slush.

 

If you have limited experience in the cascades I'd definitely recommend flotation of some sort, a single mountain axe, poles and pons if you plan on traveling early in the morning on any steep slopes.

 

Good luck and post up a conditions report if you go.

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I was with 'Water' on Middle Sister last weekend. You can see some pictures of the conditions on my blog:

Loomis Adventures

 

Also, here is a link to my trip up South Sister last year in July. There was a lot more snow last year, but I would imagine the conditions right now might be similar, but probably with a bit more snow.

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must be a different Water, I'm way taller than that guy.

Sean, yes, POLE creek road is open to the trailhead. :)

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Thanks for the info so far guys! Super helpful. We'll be going up there Monday so as soon as we get back later in the week I'll definitely post the trail conditions. The ranger for the area said the road will be open as far as dutchmans flat from the east and elk lake from the south. My question is.... If pole creek is open and without snow, what is there to plow by devils lake? Doesn't make sense why it would be closed. Anyway, should be a good trip and summit attempt!

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no, do not let the mspaint notation fool you, i am a genius.

3_sisters_map.JPG

 

all snow melt is not created equally. some places melt faster than others, get less snow to begin with, etc, more tree cover vs less. 5,000ft accessible in one place does not equal 5,000ft accessible anywhere a road goes to 5,000ft.

 

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First of all, thanks everyone for the help in pointing me in the right direction with South Sister, my friend and I summitted on Tuesday! Here were the conditions:

 

Approach on the 29th: road was closed at Dutchman's flat. Snow shoes were required until a little past Todd Lake where the road begins to descend again. By devils lake the snow was too high to see the trail head signs. The snow was fairly melted, but not slushy. We camped near moraine lake.

 

On the 29th the snow was hard and crusty in the morning all the way to the summit (even the rocky ridge was covered in snow!) besides some patches of fluff. On the way down... Was the worst. By the time we descended below 8000ft the snow was slushy and soft and our trek back to camp was literally a 'slog'. Snowshoes sunk like crazy.

 

On the 30th we headed out early to avoid the slushy snow. Thanks to the guys plowing we didn't need snowshoes at all while walking on the road. The sun was blazing and at some points it looked like a small river in the road because of all the snow melt. I'm sure they'll have the road open in the next few days. I'm going to try and upload a picture with our route to the summit, but I'm not sure if I can do that on an iPad.

 

Thanks again everyone!

 

 

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