Annaleiserabinek and I left Corvallis at 1:30 AM to meet fellow SummitPost member dkantola at the Obsidian trailhead by 3:30. We were late though, sorry dkantola, that road was crazy. Left the trailhead around 4:30 AM under starry sky’s. We reached the lava field and the first view of Middle and North Sisters as the dawn’s soft glow made for an incredible view. Saw a couple of deer in one of the many gorgeous wildflower meadows on the way up. Cached my huge pack near Sister Springs and headed up the climbers trail. The Renfrew was mild and crevasse free, crampons were not necessary, but would have been nice in a couple of spots. I was tempted to stop near the top of the north ridge and build a sand castle....it was deep. Enjoyed one of the best views anywhere for over an hour, most of the time we had the summit to ourselves. A bit cloudy, but other than that perfect. On our way down we enjoyed a few good glissades. Parted ways with dkantola at the Obsidian Trail and headed up the PCT to camp on a cliff at Sunshine with awe-inspiring views over Glacier Creek of Mt. Washington, Three Fingered Jack, Little Brother, North Sister, and Middle Sister. Asleep before dark, beautiful day. Surprisingly not crowded at all, only saw about 15 people on the mountain all day. Highly recommended, much nicer climb than South Sister with better views.
Hiked into Camp Lake area and set up camp beneath the shadow of South Sister. The next morning we followed the rocky SE ridge all the way to the summit. Views from the top were incredible.
We hit snow level just after the foot bridge makeing route finding hard. Thanks to GPS we made good time to base camp. Weather was prefect, with great veiws of surrounding Mountains till we were half way down, when a fast arpoaching storm rolled in.
Trail in from Soap creek still had a lot of snow making it a little difficult to saty near the official trail. We ended up backtracking slightly and reaching the toe of the Hayden. We camped at around 7200' on a small moraine. Wind started picking up in the evening so we moved our camp on the downslope of the moraine and we were much better protected.
Had planned to start at 0400 but ended up sleeping in till 0630 before we got started. Took our leisurly time climbing up the right hand side of the glacier where we reached the saddle next to Prouty Point. It started it getting pretty warm. We gained the ridge and followed it up. Most of it was covered in snow and we experienced a short 50 degree section which required a little front pointing shortly before the summit. Had the summit to ourselves when we noticed a coupl eof people slowly making their way up the route. We started ou descent here we experienced softening snow and very warm temperatures. Since bith me and my partner had forgotten sun screen and lip protection we hurried down to our camp and the safety of the trees. When we got back to our camp a raven had decided to deposit my belongings all over the place.
The hike out was like always hot and long.
Part one of the the Sisters' Trilogy:
Car camped at Pole creek and hit the trail by 6 AM. No crampons were necessary during the climb, although we did employ our ice axes at some points. Reached the summit by 2 PM feeling nauseous and with a splitting headache - altitude sickness? Went away after downing some Ibuprofen. It was a gorgeous climbing day and the view from the summit was spectacularly clear. It wasn't as windy as others had described, so perhaps we lucked out. We got back to the parking lot by 7 PM. 13 hours for the whole shebang. Very long day - next time we'll hike in and camp. This was my first summit of Middle Sister and in fact, my first Real mountain summit!
Beautiful climbing with only one other party on the mountain.
My first 10K peak , climbed it when I was 17 . Hiked in from Frog campground , headed up south of Renfrew Glacier since we didnt have crampons also the low snowfall of that year contributed to an easy scree walk up . There was a lake at about 7500 ft , boy it was cold but refreshing ! Clear and beautiful weather the whole trip !
1st time up for our group of 5. Lessons learned:
1) Plan ahead to get camping permit rather than climb round trip from Frog Camp/Obsidian Trail entry in one push. Makes for a very long day.
2) Obsidian along the trail was very cool. If you haven't seen a bunch of this black, glass-like rock before, you should check it out.
3) Climber's trail - headed East from a spring along the PCT - is easy to miss the 1st time. If you get to Obsidian Falls, you went too far.
4) The Renfrew Glacier was tame. Crampons were great, but no obvious crevasse danger, particularly versus the Hayden on the East side
5) The scree slog up the North Ridge is pretty awful. If I climbed this moutain again, I would do it earlier in the season and stay on as much snow as possible.
6) Climb was much less crowded than I figured. Saw only 5 other parties and 1 came up from Southeast ridge
Joe, Dan and I left our camp at Camp Lake at about 8:30am and slowly picked our way through the boulders and scree of the SE ridge. We arrived at the summit at about 1:00. The weather was perfect - sunny and clear - allowing views as far as Mt. Adams to the North. It was so nice we didn't want to leave. I guess everyone felt the same way; the summit was a little crowded. We hung out 'til 2:30 watching the frequent rock fall on the East face - quite dramatic and entertaining. We trudged back down the SE ridge, arriving back at camp at about 5:30. Next time we'll hit it from the North ridge.
Hiked in on the Obsidian Trail Friday night and made camp about Midnight, just south of Obsidian Falls. My stepson David and I were on the mountain by 7:00. We took a fairly direct route east up a ridge and across a small ice field West of Renfrew. We climbed up a boulder ridge and over to Renfrew, with a straight shot to the North Ridge. Instep crampons were a big help on the morning ice. We reached the summit at 10:30. We had avoided the North tail of Renfrew on the way up, but took it all the way down. Tried to glissade, but it was a little too soft. The last few hundred yards are very steep and it was a bit of a chore even with the crampons. The hike back out to the car was the toughest part of the whole trip.
Started at Pole Creek trailhead @ 8:30 A.M.. We wanted to summit from the North Ridge but the trail was poorly marked. We ended up climbing the south ridge but we essentially made our own trail. Once again, trail poorly marked. We could see where some peole had climbed, so we tried to follow their markings. HEAVY bouldering all te wa up the south ridge. Reached the summit @ 3:30. Decended down the north ridge. Could not gissade due to Crevases EVERYWHERE. For a trail that the Falcon Guide To Cascade Volcanoes rates as the same difficulty as the sout ridge of South Sister, we found this quite stressful.
Our trip originated from the Obsidian Trail early Saturday morning. The trail was unremarkable until reaching the lava flow. After the lava flow region, the trail crossed several creeks and entered into some green pastures.
We climbed the Renfrew Glacier without any difficulty using our crampons; make sure you have some sunblock because the reflection off the glacier is intense. The summit was approached via the North Ridge route. Loose rock and several small rockfalls were evident, so we decided to use our helmets. We reached the summit at around noon and the view was amazing!
The approach trail from Pole Springs was pleasant, except for the mosquitoes. The weather was great, and all the snow was gone from the trail. After making a three-mile detour to retrieve my camera from the car, and then making a two-mile wrong turn toward the PCT, I finally made it to Squaw Creek, where I crossed the creek on the obvious trail and followed the signs to Camp Lake (WRONG!).
The trail switchbacked and then disappeared and I ended up cross-country scrambling for three-and-a-half hours before finally making it back to Hayden Glacier. I crossed from the Southeast Ridge near Chambers Lakes all the way across the East Face (lots of loose rock here), and headed up to the saddle. I ran out of water, and stopped to melt and filter snow.
At the saddle, I got a call from my wife on the cell phone, and as we talked, I was swarmed by literally thousands of butterflies! For over twenty minutes, the endless streams of butterflies flew by. They continued as I scrambled up the ridge toward the summit, and as I rose in elevation, I could see the hordes down below me. Quite cool.
The trail up the steep loose-rock slopes was hard to follow, and I lost it several times. I ended up climbing class-5 rock, with my ski poles in one hand, trying to rediscover the trail, and then traverse the ash-covered slope of loose rock over to it once I found it again. I had to traverse around a small crevasse that was remaining on the slope, and found the final pitch to be quite exposed and dangerous, albeit short.
All told, I made it back to the car after a 12.5 hour hike, totalling 23 miles and over 7,000 feet of elevation gain. Quite an effort for one day.
Camped at foot of Hayden Glacier after hiking in from Pole Creek TH. Perfect weather both days with some strong winds and thunderstorms at night. Some crevasses were beginning to 'uncover' on Hayden.
The originally planned Chemeketan Club climb had been cancelled due to the possibility of poor weather. Having been locked up inside for a few weekends and the lack of technical difficulty that this route would afford, I was determined to climb whether anyone joined me or not. Luckily, three others decided to join me no matter the weather.
Due to scheduling conflicts we decided that we would not meet at the Pole Creek trailhead, but instead meet at Camp Lake where we would spend the night before summiting. Not being prepared to climb, I got a late start not leaving the trailhead until after two in the afternoon.
As I hiked alone up to Camp Lake, I made decent time covering the 6 miles and 1800' of elevation gain. By the time I had reached camp, by fellow climbers had already established camp and were filtering water from the lake. After getting water of my own, we each prepared our dinner for the night and settled into our tents early. After the sun had gone down, the temperature dropped rapidly due to the clear night sky.
Sometime during the night, the weather system that had been predicted moved in. By 0700, when my alarm went off, I was fired up and ready to go. The weather was brisk and definitely wet drizzle with a good amount of wind. Due to the low clouds, visibility was poor and we could hardly make out the climbers' trail that we had spotted the evening before.
As we gathered our packs, we set off up the initial scree field traversing around a nose. With the low visibility we could not see the entire route and we struggled to determine the correct ridge that would lead us to the top. All but one of us had never been up Middle Sister and no one had done this route. We continued making progress up the mountain, traversing around east of the rock band that Herb aptly named the "Loaf". Eventually we had moved far enough east that we were adjacent to the Dillar Glacier, and we knew that we had finally found the correct ridge. However, we had traversed too far and were moving up somewhat technical rock in wet conditions. We had our reservations on the "fun" that we would experience on the way down. After we topped out the rock band, climbing became much more easy and we continued to make our way up the ridge, eventually gaining the summit.
Weather on the summit was crappy, the wind was gusting in the thirties and the drizzle had soaked all of our gloves. My digital camera was not functioning well due to all of the moisture, so we only took a couple of shots. There wasn't much else to look at since it was all socked in, so our time was short on top.
Our descent down went unhampered for the first 1/2 hour and then the weather broke. This allowed great views of North and South Sister, as well as highlighting various descent routes that we could pick from. As we continued our trip down we analyzed our route that we had taken earlier that morning.
After a short time, and some shedding of clothes due to the warm weather, we made our way back to our camp. A short break, and breakdown of camp, we shouldered the heavy packs again and hiked the distance out.
Went in the day before from the Obsidian Trail approach thinking my buddy and I could summit both North and Middle Sisters but my friend's knee gave out on him in the Col so he retreated back to camp and I decided to solo Middle Sister. Took a wrong ridge approach from Collier Glacier and ended up on Prouty Point and had to do some 3rd class scrambling down to the ridge between Middle and North Sisters. From there it was just a ridge walk and a hike up a beach of a mountain.
On August 2, I met Joel, his brother Dan, and his nephew Zach in Sisters, Oregon for a trip to the top of Middle Sister. We were given a ride to the Pole Creek Trail Head by my friend Mike Partridge. The weather quite warm and the 4.5 mile hike into the camp site was quite dusty. We come upon three people on horses who were quite upset that we were so quiet and it spooked their horses. We set up camp near a glacial melt stream on a ridge looking up at both North and Middle Sisters. We spent a pleasant evening watching the stars before hitting the sack. We were in no hurry and set off for the summit at 9 a.m. on the 3rd. We had some walking over and around a couple of ridges of moraine or just cinders? before hitting the snow. Shorts and short sleeve shirts were the attire as the weather was quite comfortable. Once upon Hayden Glacier, we had an easy time of it. Didn't put on the crampons until well up on the glacier. There was a small ridge along the right side of the glacier that ran up to Prouty Point. There were a couple of small crevasses that were easily passable. At Prouty Point, we stopped to enjoy the view and have a bite to eat. We then proceeded across the glacier and up a short steep ridge to the left (south) edge of the saddle and the head of the glacier where it was time to remove the crampons and continue up through a mixture of scree, dirt, some scrambling, and one snow field. The scramble from the snow through scree to gain the ridge was steep with a lot of loose rock. BE CAREFUL! We stayed a little to the left and slightly below the main ridge. There were obvious climber trails through here. Near the summit Dan made an interesting find, a dead opossum. What was it doing at 10,000 ft up on a mountain? From the summit we could easily see the line of Cascade Volcanoes all the way to Mount Adams to the north and Mount McLoughlin to the south. We also were able get a good look at the Prouty Glacier on South Sister. This was the route we wanted to climb the next day. It turned out to be quite crevassed and since we did not have harnesses or ropes we decided to save it for another time. On Friday we broke camp and headed for Demaris Lake (about 0.5 mi up Camp Lake Trail & then 0.8 mi on the Demaris Lake Trail) for a refreshing swim. On the way out from Demaris lake we decided to try a small class 3 rock near the junction of the Demaris trail and Camp Lake trail. Reaching the top we found the Camp Lake trail wrapped around this rock and one can reach the top with an easy walk. The climb was much more fun. The walk out was quite leisurely and are looking forward to a return trip to climb South Sister.