A south sister climb gone south.

A south sister climb gone south.

Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Location Lat/Lon: 44.10435°N / 121.76422°W
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Jun 17, 2006
Activities Activities: Mountaineering
Seasons Season: Spring

The prelude to a climb.

It was july 3rd 2005, at approximatly 7:00 pm I am on the terminal moraine with Mark and Wayne as we scan our route up the hayden glacier. We were part of a group of eight climbers anticipating a fun moderatly challenging climb of the Middle sister via the hayden. As we returned to camp mark and wayne shared there climb of the prouty glacier and headwall with me that they completed only two weeks previous. they told me of there adventure up the glacier into the south coulier were rock fall was certain and 45 to 50 degree slopes were the norm through the the coulier. As they approached the step below the headwall they talked of front pointing and possibly being roped to close together as they made there way on to the step. It would be a sustained 45 degree climb all the way to the summit rim with a brief vertical climb onto the lip of the crater. I could visually trace the climb as the story went on. I was Hooked, so on this day camped on the side of the middle sister we would talk of putting together an Obsidian club sponsered climb of this challenging route.

The coming together of prouty.

The ski/hike into the green lakes basin.
Ski/hike into green lakes basin.
The trip goes up on the climb schedule for June 17th and 18th 2006. It has already been decided to keep the roster small no more then six climbers. It only left room for three more climbers to join. In the waning hours before the climb there would be five of us going. All five of us are obsidian members and four of us are backcountry ski patrol. It would be an optional ski/snowshoe approach the snow level bieng considerable above 6000 ft.

Mark are team leader hales from woodburn oregon,he has been faithful to our club though he lives up in the north valley. mark does his ski patrol on Mt hood.

Wayne are co lead is the obsidian president and are most active member. He is patrol director for Willamette backcountry ski patrol.

Marty is a boy scout troop leader and ski's with willamette back country ski patrol.

Chance is a new Obsidian member he completed climb school in the early spring and is an eager adventurer.

I am a obsidian, an assistant instructer in spring climb school and I ski for willamette backcountry.

We have a strong group and what looks like an excellent forecast it is time for an adventure.

tree wells, lava flows and ski bummed.

Marty and his wounded knee
chance on the obsidian flow
The title of the trip report gives one the clue that perhaps all did not go well. I will not keep the cat in the bag any longer. WE did not get to climb. I chose to write this report because It was going to be a big climb. I had been anxious for the opportunity to climb this route A truly challenging south sister classic.
We had all prepared well physically and had a couple early season climbs in under our belts. It was to double as a ski trip for a few of us an opportunity to ski the lower mountain and the green lakes basin.

Green lakes trailhead 9:00 am It is a gorgeous morning in the cadcades. One of our concerns was avalanche danger on the route. It appears that no new snow has fallen up high on the mountain from recent moisture. It"s looking real good. We begin organizing are packs. every one of us is packing heavy and we still have to divy out gear. We each anguish over having to give up luxuries to carry gear. we get over it and get on with the trek into the wilderness.
The first objective is to hike uphill above fall creek to find enough snow to get on skis. The snow is old and the tree wells are deep and wide open,

The going is rough as those who chose to ski work there way through the tree wells from hell. What people wont do for a chance at a few teli turns. The ski's it would turn out are going to become a bigger hassle than some had bargained. Wayne would have major problems with his Untested(what was he thinking) rondeenee Bindings with scarpa plastic climbing boots. Marty found the terrain more than he was willing to commit to and wound up carrying or packing his skis depending on the terrain. Chance chose to carry his snow shoes and posthole(I just don:t get it)Mark was having a great ski in and I just simply plodded along with my Msr"s.

I got a taste of humility when after giving chance hell about postholing I would slide into the abyss(a slope with thick bushes in the bottom) after a short traverse below a lava flow. The snow became to soft for snowshoes,postholing with chance was the way to go.

It would be three and a half burdensome hours later and were only three miles in. The idea at this point was to circumnavigate the upper portion of the rock mesa obsidian flow by way of a gully. The idea bieng to avoid fording Fall creek and thus coming out on the west flank of the basin above the lower lake.

At this very point The trip would have it"s first problem with keeping us all on the same page. We all were all ready to be in camp for the day. Wayne is are navigator and mark is the overall leader. I think because of the distance around the flow. mark chose to overide waynes navigation. Mark suggested we cross directly over the flow. It would involve quite a climb to gain the flow and we were all carrying some weight. Lava flows are not safe with snow cover cant see the gaps in between the rocks. I thought we discussed this and waynes idea would prevail.

It is decided that we would cross the flow. I wanted the approach to be done and it was a bit frustrating going so slow, we all agreed and relunctantly began the climb up the flow.
Wayne and mark headed on skis up what appeared to be a reasonable traverse of the flow. Chance headed directly up the flow I am behind him aways as I take another slide down a snow slope. I yell up to chance to watch his step dont walk to close to the visible outcroppings Marty is right behind me a few yards. I am not sure why he chose to follow us when he had skis and marks route up the flow looked reasonable. I yell down to marty to put his skis back on his pack that negotiating the flow he would need both hands. I arrive at the top of the flow after a few minor plunges into the gaps in the flow. What a bitch! I join chance, wayne, and mark for a well deserved break and some photo ops.

A few minutes later were is marty! Chance walks over to the side of the flow and yells down to marty. "What is going on" Marty has fellen into a good size gap in the snow he is stuck. he wants mark to come down to him. Uh oh marty is complaining of some severe pain and claims he heard his knee pop as he fell in and backwards due to a heavy pack. He cannot go on. he tells us to go on with out him. Ya right! You just dont leave your buddy in the woods to conquer a route. We are in this together the climb is over we have an evacuation on are hands. Everyone here except for chance are first responders and we have a crisis. First things first get marty stable an ace wrap and a foam splint for his knee. We need to get him off the flow and distribute what gear we could carry of his and stash the rest for later retrieval.

We are lucky he can put weight on it, we hand him his ski poles and he appears to be able to negoitiate the terrain. Long story short we do the slow walk out of the wilderness offering encouragement and plenty of hands up and hand downs through the tree wells from hell. A few minutes at the trail head rechecking the knee and stabilizing it, mark and chance drive marty to the hospital. Wayne and I drained by the ordeal decide to wait till morning to retrieve the rest of marty's gear. I have never had a climb go bad before or at least not due to a friend getting hurt. It could have been a whole lot worse it could have been on the upper prouty glacier. I have been finding the more I go out on adventures the more adversity rears it's head some times it's just an annoyance and other times It's down right ugly.


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