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nutsandbolts

[TR] Three Sisters Traverse - 10/24/2015

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Trip: Three Sisters Traverse -

 

Date: 10/24/2015

 

Trip Report:

We rolled into Pole Creek close to midnight on Friday night, electing to do the push on Saturday so it would be easier to negotiate a ride from Devil's Lake back to Pole Creek. The main issue was that if we left at our proposed time of 330am, we would be operating on a dangerously little amount of sleep that could likely prevent our success. So, we elected to awake at 445am, and left at 515am, hitting the talus field below the Middle/North saddle by daylight after running the first few miles. We made sure to optimize our breaks (if and when they were needed), fueled ourselves with bars when needed, and made sure we had warmed our bodies with a cup of tea before leaving the truck in the morning.

 

3ST1.jpg

 

Starting a little later also allowed us to scope out the route off of North and over Prouty Point a little better. We stayed much closer to the line of ascent, instead of dropping off to the west like our previous attempt. This allowed us to make a direct line up through a rock band, traverse back to the west to avoid unnecessary elevation gain, and line up for Middle. If we had some extra traction (Yaktrax, or screwed soles), it seems possible to drop off to the west more quickly and traverse the edge of the Collier glacier. This would be a less direct line, but would prevent a 300' climb back up the side of Prouty. Something to consider for future traverses...

 

3ST2.jpg

 

From there, it was a cruise up to the summit of Middle, and back down and over to the section leading up to South. We grabbed water off the remnants of the lower Irving glacier.

 

3ST4.jpg

 

Coming up the north side of South Sister was mostly a scree walk with no trail - slow going. The ridge becomes more prominent higher up and we found staying on the top allowed the easiest travel. Once we reached the large buttress of choss, we stayed to the climber's right. For the next 500' feet, the angle steepens and the rock gets incredibly chossy. It would be best not to fall up here. At the top of the choss chute, we topped out on a more solid, grey band of rock. Although it looked like a teetering pile of refrigerator-sized plates, we scrambled up it without much trouble onto the final summit field. The way down was straightforward, in the dark, and beautiful. Ecstasy abounded, even with energy stores nearly depleted, and we were able to slowly jog sections on the descent.

 

3ST3.jpg

 

3ST5.png

 

Beers at the car, brought to us by our amazing friends, were the icing on the cake.

 

Approach Notes:

Lots more detail, GPS links, gear lists, etc are at: http://www.mountainrefugees.com/

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