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Mt.Hood and South Sister questions

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Mt.Hood and South Sister questions

Postby TheViper » Tue Jul 28, 2009 6:28 am

My friends and I are going to try and climb South Sister in August. We arent mountaineers, and we are accostomed to day hikes, although we are all in pretty decent shape.
1)Whats the quickest route up to the summit, where you start the highest?
2) For people of our fitness (as stated above), what kind of travel time are we talking to the summit and back?

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. One idea was to start at Timberline lodge and hike up to Crater Rock, but we are very concerned about our safety.
1)At what point on the mountain can we expect rockfall?
2)Is it safe enough to climb up to Crater Rock?

THANKS
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Postby Redwic » Tue Jul 28, 2009 6:31 am

Mount Hood is a great conditioning hike/climb. This is not really the preferred time of year to climb that mountain, due to an intensified risk of icefalls and rockfalls. However, you should be able to get to ~9500'-10000' elevation without fear of such events. When approaching Crater Rock, try to stay in the middle of the snowfield leading up towards the crater area. Out of safety concerns I advise taking a helmet, but as long as you do not pass by Crater Rock or enter the crater area it will probably not be needed.

If you are going to Mount Hood, start climbing in the middle of the night (10:00 PM - Midnight) to limit the amount of rockfall danger (which is most prevalent during daylight hours). Plus, the snow conditions can become VERY sloppy during summer days.
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Postby TheViper » Tue Jul 28, 2009 6:37 am

Thats what I was thinking, and Crater Rock is about 10,000 ft? So beyond 10,000 is when things get very hairy this time of year...again we are not trying to sumitt this time of year, just want to get a little safe conditioning.
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Postby billisfree » Tue Jul 28, 2009 8:13 am

I've been into the Mt Hood crater 6 times - 3 of them in late summer.

Image

You really don't need to do a late night start. Night climbing will NOT dimish rockslides expecally during this hot weather. Expect snow, dirt and scree most all the way up, except the last 500 ft - it might be nice to have crampons but with this hot weather, expect no ice or slippery slopes. Reduce possibility of crevasses - climb near the rocky outcroppings where snow depth is at a minimum.

You should be able to get into the crater and up on the hogsback.
You are completely safe from rock slides on the approaches to the crater and on the hogsback. No helmets needed.
Biggest concern - would be slipping while climbing the side of the hogsback.
There MIGHT be some small crevasses on the hogsback slope.

The crater/hogsback is 10,500 ft (700 ft short of summit).

Enjoy a lunch admidst the hydrogen sulfide fumes in the crater.
Enjoy listening to the rocks slides from the crater walls.

For $5/person you can ride the chairlift to 7,000 ft when it opens at 8am. Hike 2,500 ft to the hogsback... arriving about 1pm.
Then hike back to the chairlift and ride down. They won't allow hikers to ride the chairlift past the 7,000 ft level. Skiers can ride up to the 8,000 ft level.

Have fun, stay safe.

All pictures taken Aug 18, 2005

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Last edited by billisfree on Tue Jul 28, 2009 10:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby TheViper » Tue Jul 28, 2009 10:09 am

Awesome Bill, thats some great information, thanks for sharing!
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Postby calebEOC » Wed Jul 29, 2009 1:22 am

South Sister should be a breeze for you if you're in decent shape. It was the first big hike I ever did and the only problem I had with it was my knees being sore from the descent, something I eventually learned to mitigate with experience. Hit the trail early as possible and expect to be done in early afternoon, if I recall its a 6-8 hour day depending on pace and how much time you spend on the summit.
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Postby TheViper » Wed Jul 29, 2009 3:09 am

Thanks guys for your responses.

So is it necessary to leave on the trail as early as 4am? (South Sister)
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Postby calebEOC » Wed Jul 29, 2009 3:24 am

I think I left at 6:30 when I did it, which put me back at devils lake around 3pm. some people left before me, but most got a later start. Early starts are the best, it makes scrambling up the last 1000 feet a lot more tolerable if its real hot out, I think 4 am would be a great time to start.
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Postby Pallando » Wed Jul 29, 2009 4:11 pm

I'd start at 4, if not earlier. The heat is terrible, avoiding it is good. You will also miss most of the other people on the mountain by leaving early.

Last time I climbed South, we left at 11pm for a sunrise shot. It was nice to not be climbing in the heat at all. We also only saw people who bivvied at the summit.
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Postby jfer45 » Wed Jul 29, 2009 6:58 pm

I had to hike the 6 miles from Bachelor to Devil's Lake and another few miles to Moraine Lake on the first day 2 months ago when I climbed it. Now the highway is probably cleared so you could simply start at Devil's Lake which is at about 5500 ft making an accent/decent very doable in one day. I had snowshoes for the hike in and they worked well and were suitable for the snow conditions. I also used crampons for much of the climb.

I climbed Hood not more than a month ago and found it to be a great climb. I started at 11:00 pm and the snow was perfect. I didn't see any rockfall before Crater Rock and I only saw a few small rocks fall down the Old Chute. As long as the snow is good during the night, it should be a quick climb from the lodge to Crater Rock.
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Postby TheViper » Wed Jul 29, 2009 8:45 pm

So is the Devils Lake approach the shortest route to the South Sister Summit?
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Postby BCJ » Wed Jul 29, 2009 8:47 pm

TheViper wrote:So is the Devils Lake approach the shortest route to the South Sister Summit?


Yes.
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Postby rpc » Wed Jul 29, 2009 8:50 pm

s sister in august is a hot scree hike. just go hike up mt. defiance in the gorge today or (and!) tomorrow & you'll be more than ready.
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Postby BCJ » Thu Jul 30, 2009 10:19 pm

rpc wrote:s sister in august is a hot scree hike. just go hike up mt. defiance in the gorge today or (and!) tomorrow & you'll be more than ready.


The scenic value of S Sister is way better than Defiance, if that's a consideration. If not, Defiance is a great training option.
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