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Mt.Hood and South Sister questions

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Postby rpc » Fri Jul 31, 2009 12:42 am

We decided it would be a good idea to practice hiking uphill at altitude, so since we live in Portland, we thought Mt. Hood would be a good choice.


I was proposing Defiance instead of Hood (in August) as practice hike for SS.
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Postby TheViper » Fri Jul 31, 2009 6:12 am

I think Mt Defiance might be too much for a practice. I think we are gonna do Timberline lodge to whatever is safe to climb (Crater Rock).

Id still like more peoples opinion on the South Sister hike. How rigorous it is, and advice for non-mountaineers, etc.

FYI: I just moved to Portland area from New York State 4months ago, so I dont know a whole lot.
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Postby nicozone » Fri Jul 31, 2009 6:55 pm

I did the Devils Lake Trailhead route on South Sister about 3 weeks ago. The conditions were perfect, with pathes through and around most of the heavier snow fields. Its a great mountain for beginners, which is why my girlfriend and I choose it.

Take your car camping gear and setup camp the night before, then get up early the next day to start. We took 8 hours to get to the top, but my girlfriend is a photographer and not use to large changes in altitude (we were stopping every 20 minutes). But you can definitely take it at a nice running pace and get up there in about 3 hours. Like jschrock said, bring a warm pullover in case the cold winds pick up or your standing around on any of the glaciers, and ABSOLUTELY remember to bring the Deet insect repellant. The mosquitos are horrible during the summer.

Good luck! And let me know if you need a partner sometime. I'm still pretty new myself.
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Postby jfer45 » Fri Jul 31, 2009 7:13 pm

SS is not a techinical climb. Still you should be carful. I am not sure about the conditions currently, but when I was up there about 2 months ago, some solo climber fell partially into a small crevasse/mote off to the east of the ridge between the Clark and Lewis glaciers. I walked the same snow and found it to be stable, but he must have hit a weak spot. If you stay on the ridge though you should be fine.

You might want to get some info on the snow conditions because I found crampons to be very helpful during certain portions of the climb. I probably could have circumnavigated the steeper slopes, but this would have taken time. For example, there is a hill just north of Moraine Lake which was icy and steep in the early morning. Without crampons I was sliding on this hard snow, but the slope was a breeze once I put them on.

Also, I had snowshoes which were very helpful for the approach and return.
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Postby nicozone » Fri Jul 31, 2009 7:40 pm

During the weekend of July 11-12, the snow conditions were pretty easy to navigate without crampons. I think I spent a total of 25 minutes on snow and that was just because it was easier to go across than around.

Good hiking boots and some toe stepping made it very easy to pass over. But if your worried about snow, I'm sure there are huge path of snowless ridges all the way up now. We could have avoided all but 100ft. of snow had we stuck to the top of the ridges and that was in mid-July.
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Postby Cascade Scrambler » Sat Aug 01, 2009 7:30 am

The post by Billisfree is spot on. Your risk of any kind of rockfall below crater rock is next to nothing.
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Postby MountaingirlBC » Sun Aug 09, 2009 7:02 am

We spent a night acclimatizing on Hood at about 8500 en route to Shasta last week. There was some pretty serious looking rockfall at least twice while we were up there including one very late in the evening so be careful.
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Postby billisfree » Sun Aug 09, 2009 9:59 pm

Does aclimatizing REALLY work?

8500 ft - sounds like kinda low altitude for that. You prob got more musle toning than aclimatizing.
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Postby nartreb » Mon Aug 10, 2009 12:34 am

I hiked up south sister a few days ago with EastKing (see album "Teardrops on South Sister"). Only objective danger was heatstroke. No snow on the trail (standard south ridge route from devils lake/moraine lake) at all.

Going from sea level the day before to 10,000 feet, I could feel the difference but it wasn't a problem.
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Postby MountaingirlBC » Mon Aug 10, 2009 5:08 am

billisfree wrote:Does aclimatizing REALLY work?

8500 ft - sounds like kinda low altitude for that. You prob got more musle toning than aclimatizing.


My research seems to indicate that a night at that sort of elevation is a a good idea.... especially when you are coming from sea-level which a lot of people who climb the cascade volcanos are.
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Postby calebEOC » Tue Aug 11, 2009 1:29 am

jschrock wrote:There is no reason to fall into ANYthing up there right now. It is a hike on dirt and scree. No crampons, no ice axe, no helmet, no rope, etc. needed.

Not that anyone here is...but there is no need to over-complicate this. If you can hike you'll be fine.

LOL! I have seen several people fall into the teardrop pool up there this time of year, typically intentional though.
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Postby TheViper » Thu Aug 13, 2009 4:04 am

Thanks everyone for all the responses.

2wks ago we did Mt. Hood...we climbed up to 10,000ft, the base of Crater Rock. It took a little over 5 hrs to climb that. It was pretty difficult, we climbed on the Rock and dirt the whole way up. The way down was real fast, as we came down on the snow starting at the top of palmer. Last week we did Dog Mountain which was real easy. So I think I got some good training in.

Tomorrow we leave for Sunriver in an attempt to summit south sister Friday morning. I'm really looking forward to it.


Last question...I have heard that you can fill your water up near the top, in glacier water. Is this true? Is that water safe to drink?
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Postby nicozone » Thu Aug 13, 2009 3:46 pm

TheViper wrote:Last question...I have heard that you can fill your water up near the top, in glacier water. Is this true? Is that water safe to drink?


Yeah, its probably pretty safe from Teardrop Lake. But just like any water out on the mountains, its usually a good idea to use your best judgement and bring the purification tablets just in case.
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