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South Sister

South Sister

South Sister

Page Type: Route

Location: Colorado, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 40.27334°N / 105.51892°W

Object Title: South Sister

Route Type: Hiking

Season: Fall

Time Required: Half a day

Rock Difficulty: Class 3

Difficulty: Moderate for hiker. Easy for mountaineer, endurance runner, or accomplished scrambler

Route Quality: 
 - 2 Votes


Page By: Kruck

Created/Edited: Feb 6, 2007 / Apr 26, 2007

Object ID: 267331

Hits: 4695 

Page Score: 77.31%  - 8 Votes 

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Why Not Go Over There?

Once you've hiked to the top of Twin Sisters Peaks, you ramble around on the rock for awhile and take in Longs Peak, Mount Meeker, Mount Lady Washington, the Mummies to the North, and then ... this unnamed, perfectly conical heap of stone just a grassy saddle to the south.

The South Sister
The Third Sister

You think, "why not?"

A good choice, too, as you'll find solitude over there, away from the dozen or so people who will be standing gawking at Longs along with you at the Twin Sisters Peaks, themselves.

On topo maps, it's the prominent point just south of the Twin Sisters Peaks proper, 11,376 feet from sea level.

To get to it, the first thing you need to do is come down off the north Twin Sisters Peaks, if you're on it. You can either travel over to the top of the south Twin Sisters Peaks summit (most people do) and kind of third- and fourth-class yourself down some ledges, or you can skirt the south summit to the east, looking for a way to bust through a small rock wall that separates you from the south slope of the south summit. After a little searching, you will come across some nice notches here and there. A person shorter than six feet tall might do well to use this one, a four-foot wiggle-through to the other side. Try not to break an ankle landing on the other side. The rock can be slick as it sits in the shade.

South Summit Notch
The notch

From the other side, rock-hop to a grassy saddle between the Twin Sisters Peaks and the South Sister, where you will find a big wad or rock that looks like God spit out some chewing gum a million years ago.

God s Chewing Gum
The wad of rock is pictured at right. It resembles deified, masticated Wrigley's.

From there, all you have to do is scramble up the South Sister peak. There is a fin-shaped ridge that runs north-south, and you have to choose a side, east or west, to ascend. The west side is free of snow and ice in those intermitant fall months, as it gets lots of sun. The scrambling is basically third class the whole way, second class for those who have supreme confidence in their ankle strength and ability to find refuge on stable ground quickly during games of teeter-totter on unsecured slab. All-in-all though, it's a simple and fun climb to the top.

Ugly Sister
From on top, the Twin Sisters Peaks are ugly women.

After you've gained the summit, you get a nice view of the mountains to the southwest, and have a clear shot of Longs Peak. Looking back at the Twin Sisters Peaks, you get an appreciation for how much they look like shoulder blades. Really, they're quite ugly compared with the rock heap you've just climbed, so be glad for that.

The way down and back is the way you came. if you want, you can use the rock fin as a handrail of sorts on descent.

Looking Down at the Ridgewall
The ridge wall that bisects the South Sister and a view down to the grassy saddle.

Climbing back up to the base of the south Twin Sisters Peaks summit is a bear, because now that you've been to the summit of the South Sister, the south summit is boring and surprisingly steep. Find the notch again, wiggle through, then amble sweaty and breathless back to the Twin Sisters Trail where the tourists will get all startled and wonder where the hell you just came from. If they give you that look, turn and point to that pretty South Sister and tell them.

Gettting There

The same as Twin Sisters Trail.

Essential Gear

Bring about 2 liters of water if you're a heavy drinker or if it's hot. Dress for Colorado Front Range conditions.


The South SisterUgly SisterRight of RidgeSouth Summit NotchLooking Down at the RidgewallGod\'s Chewing Gum