North Sister Climber's Log

Viewing: 41-60 of 62

highice - Feb 1, 2007 8:46 pm

winter epic with a stranger

met a guy from a climbing website and we snowshoed from the highway all the way to BC at N sister. Did the E ridge and climbed the heaveily rimed west face. coming down we were hit with white-out and high winds. no shovel, so stomped a tomb next to a rock that was 1 1/2 wide x 3' deep x 3' long, just below the summit. he didn't have an emergency blanket and mine would not open up into a bag (it had melded itself into a single sheet-probably from being packed too long). We put it over us to keep out the wind and snow. our water frozen, no food left, we waited out the storm all night. the hand warmers didn't work because they had gotten damp from the snow I guess. he was continuously shivering as we sat up, on top of the packs with me between his knees. what a first date! I peeked out and could see the lights of the nearby towns, only to have the storm once again cover the view. I kept my feet off the snow by setting them in my helmet, my toes were going numb, and my fingers too, due to holding the blanket above my head all night since there was no other way to hold it down. all I wanted to do was sleep through the epic , I didn't want to think about what-ifs all night...what if the storm doesn't subside tomorrow, what if my friend gets worse with his hyperthermia, what if we are lost? good thing the bivy was so stinking uncomfortable, as it kept us squirming all night and this kept us awake and aware of our bodies and surroundings. the next day we were greeted with sun and calm. we descended the ridge. as we got close to camp, I knew something hadn't been right with my hands and feet, just didn't want to deal with it during the descent. we removed my gloves and boots at camp to find I had 2nd degree frostbite, mostly on the fingers. I always wondered if a person can tell the difference between just cold numbness and numbness caused by frostbite. Yes you's a different feeling unlike any I've had from just getting seriously cold fingers. you'll know it when you're getting it, at least if you're in a situation as I where you can notice it. exercising my toes all night had not been enough to keep them from freezing and holding the hands above my head was no help, even though I took turns using my head to hold the blanket so I could warm a hand at a time. I now change out my emergency blanket every 2 years and take a shovel to the summit (even with no avy danger)for emergencies. I won't open a hand warmer until I'm sure I'm settled in and done with handling wet objects. I do still climb with strangers, but not if they won't bring their OWN e-bag.


osatrik - Aug 14, 2006 7:46 pm Date Climbed: Aug 7, 1999

Gnarly Northy via SE ridge - 3rd time is the charm!  Sucess!

After 2 failed attempts: Once for lack of a rope to cross the last snowfield when the ice was too hard to kick steps, and the second attempt abandoned at the same spot due to avalanche conditions when the last snowfield was under a huge cornice attached to the south portion of the final summit ridge. We'd slept in at camp 'cause a late spring snow had added about 2 miles of snowshoeing on the road to get to the trailhead and exended our approach day. At least on THAT unsuccessful trip we had georgous central Oregon Cascades views. On the descent the whole south side of the SE ridge and east side of the Northy was sliding like mad in the heat of the day on the recent spring snow.
Our summit on the third attempt was a great experience -- we fully protected the final snowfield, which is just about exactly a rope length across, and found the scramble up the bowling alley not nearly as loose as everyone complains about. The downer was that visability was about 50 yards!


markmay - Jun 17, 2006 3:59 pm Date Climbed: Jun 28, 2005

Route climbed: SE ridge

Spooky traverse


daverobb - Apr 16, 2006 6:17 pm Date Climbed: Jul 14, 2004

Route Climbed: Southwest Ridge  Sucess!

One big crumbling piece of S*&%. It was fun though, just loose and sketchy in spots.


cdog - Feb 27, 2006 6:19 pm Date Climbed: May 18, 2004

traverse: north to south  Sucess!

Conditions varied greatly, with everything from snow & whiteouts to biting wind and short periods of warm sun. Most of the routes on the mountain were in surprisingly good shape with a nice cover of snow and ice.
We ascended the northwest ridge and traversed to the pinnacle with little difficulty--plenty of firm snow despite some fresh topping. The pinnacle was interesting--lots of rime which was difficult to protect, but we successfully placed a couple ice screws on the most difficult portions. 2nd tool was helpful if not essential on the lead. Rapped off to avoid the previous difficulties...
Found the traverse to the south stable as well and saw only a few minor sloughs. Amazingly few rocks falling due to the ice--certainly a first for me on this mountain. Some loose snow on the Camels Hump could've used a belay, but things were getting late at that point and we opted out. The descent of the southeast ridge was rough--definetly worth the effort to stay on the climbers trail.
I placed a register in an ammo box on Prouty Pinnacle for future summiteers.
Edit: I believe this register has disappeared. Let me know if you find it!


cascadetraveler - Dec 30, 2005 2:47 pm

Route Climbed: southwest ridge/collier glacier. Date Climbed: july 17th 2005

Warmer than usual temps(50 degrees at 4:00 am. I believe a low camp and some route finding hang ups doomed are climb. We reached the traverse at 8:30 the sun approaching the snowfield to close for comfort with a party of eight. A party of four were ahead of us going with a running belay across the traverse. they reached the summit. It was still a great adventure as we experienced some gnarly exposure when we went to the right or east side of the camels hump on the ascent. We were able to identify are route finding errors we will come back next year a smaller party with a camp high on the glacier .


PellucidWombat - Sep 17, 2005 7:22 pm Date Climbed: Sep 5, 2005

Route Climbed: SW Ridge via Collier Glacier Date Climbed: September 5th, 2005  Sucess!

A beautiful climb, although the route done w/o snow leaves something to be desired - I pray to god I never get on rock that loose ever again! It was interesting watching breezes set off rockfall on the Terrible Traverse. The Bowling Alley was actually really fun, with relatively solid rock (which got more solid as the scrambling got more difficult).

I think I'd really enjoy this climb w/ snow - I'll have to come back!

seth fridae

seth fridae - Sep 3, 2005 6:15 pm

Route Climbed: three sisters traverse Date Climbed: 8/3  Sucess!

Nate Cooney and I started at pole creek at 5:00am and finished at devils lake at 7:00 pm having summited all three sisters(our first attempt at traverse). Beer and pizza please. We're gonna up the anty and summit sisters plus brokentop and bachy in 24 hours w/out the use of a car. Stay tuned for deatlis.

seth fridae

seth fridae - Sep 3, 2005 5:59 pm

Route Climbed: NE Arrette Date Climbed: August 6 2005  Sucess!

Solo adventure.

Lots of rock fall and a little bit of route finding.

Dennis Poulin

Dennis Poulin - Jun 30, 2005 12:32 pm

Route Climbed: South Ridge Date Climbed: 26 June 2005  Sucess!

I was there with Brian, David, Steve, Craig and Justin. What took so long to climb 1,500ft and walk 2.0 miles round trip from camp? Great experience.

Brian Jenkins

Brian Jenkins - Jun 27, 2005 6:04 pm

Route Climbed: Southwest Ridge Date Climbed: June 25/26, 2005  Sucess!

Finally bagged this one and can feel good about owning the North Sister page now. This was also my final big Oregon Cascade volcano so that list is done now.

Climbed with summitposters dkantola, sharrison, criwin and Dennis Poulin. Also hooked up with a guy from Seattle named Justin whose partner followed his instincts and descended at about the Third Gendarme.

Hiked in to about 8500 feet and camped at the same spot on the Collier that I did on my first attempt of North Sister back in 2001. Up and going about 4 am. Easy climb up onto the ridge but climbed up lava scree in crampons is a drag. We had to downclimb and traverse under Camels Hump, then climb back up on the ridge. Then skirted the second gendarme on the right, then back under the final one to the traverse. The actual trail to the Terrible Traverse was steep snow and we protected it with a long running belay.

David was belayed up the Bowling Alley which was steep snowy ice until the final bit which was water ice. He set up a fixed line and the rest of us prusiked up it. One final easy mixed pitch to the summit and it was done. Oh yeah, then nasty weather blew in and then the rope got stuck on the rap and by then it was late afternoon and the snow was soft and the winds were wanting to blow us to Bend. It was snowing UP (no lie) and I was buttass cold. With the large group we had it took a long time and we did not get back to camp until close to midnight. Then the long hike out in the wee hours of the morning. Apologies to loved ones who were worried about us. Just one long climb. This one beat Sunshine Route on Hood as it was a 23 hour and 45 minute climb. Ugh.


GlennMerrill - Feb 27, 2005 7:37 pm

Route Climbed: Early Morning Couloir Date Climbed: June 2003  Sucess!

Done car-to-car. The summit block is fun because it was mixed snow, rock, and ice.

K2McKay - Nov 22, 2004 6:57 pm

Route Climbed: Northeast Face Date Climbed: 10/19/97

We headed in from the north side and had to skirt around the mountain a little bit to get where we wanted to be. Climbed up the snow covered fact up to about 8500 feet until it started getting late and skied down from there. It was awesome. Really steep and fast. Some of the best turns I've ever made.


amcfarre - Jul 15, 2004 5:35 pm

Route Climbed: Southeast Ridge Date Climbed: May 31, 2004  Sucess!

Snow conditions were a little soft, so we bailed on the Sunrise Couloir and did the Southeast Ridge. Still a great cllimb, with plenty of ice in the Bowling Alley and on the summit.

Full trip report and photos at:


Cornvallis - Jul 13, 2004 1:38 am

Route Climbed: SW Ridge via SE Spur Date Climbed: July 11, 2004  Sucess!

Great climb with dkantola on an absolutely perfect weather day.

Left Corvallis at 9:30 PM to meet dkantola in Salem, and drove to the Pole Crk. TH. 16 tough, but fun hours from car to summit to car. It took almost as long to descend as it did to ascend due to the horrible rock and gendarme's on the S ridge and SE spur......and the rapping......and setting up pro on the traverse.

Every rock on that mountain moved except for some decent rock on the summit pinnacle! Protection on the traverse is nice, as is rapping the down climb in the Bowling Alley.

Passed Cluck on our way back on the traverse with out knowing it. Nervous moment to hear some guys, not with Cluck, say they were clipping on to our rope for an anchor just as I was going on belay.....what?

Not the Ugly Sister, just the tougher Sister. Not a bad view on any of the girls!

Back to Corvallis and in bed by 11PM capping off a stretch of 40 hours of eyes open.....minus an hour nap.

Good feeling to climb all three, and to finish with such a great climb, very rewarding. Thanks David.


cluck - Jul 12, 2004 2:45 pm

Route Climbed: Southeast Ridge Date Climbed: 7/11/04  Sucess!

Quite a busy day on North Sister. Passed a party of 2 coming across the traverse on their way back from the summit (our apologies for our cluster f*#@ fixed line) and ended up summitting in a loosely knit alliance of 3 parties of 2.

Traverse was hard snow, maybe a bit steeper than 45 degrees and merited protection. Those without crampons beware.

Bowling alley was benign. All rock, easy 4th class scramble with only enjoyable climbing on the day being the last pitch up to the North horn.

In general, happy to have ticked off the 3rd Sister, but climb was pretty misearable and I'm unlikely to be back for anything other than an earlier season snow route.

Beautiful weather. Warm. No wind. Scree for days.


eckdoerry - Nov 28, 2003 1:32 pm

Route Climbed: Southeast ridge Date Climbed: Augest 28, 1996  Sucess!

My god, what a waste! This is the first time I'd climbed North Sister in fall --- NEVER AGAIN. What at other times is nice snow and ice, is loose crappy hot cinders late in the year.

Slogged up the ridge, traversed under the west face of Prouty pinnacle (dicey here, hard ice field, wished for crampons bad), then up the bowling alley to the top


eckdoerry - Nov 28, 2003 1:29 pm

Route Climbed: North Face Date Climbed: May 1997  Sucess!

Went up the north face route with minimal difficulties. The top rock (slag?) climb was sketchy, but not diffcult. The descent was a nightmare: we decided to avoid downclimbing the rotten north side and went down the bowling alley. We then tried to traverse north under the west side to descend the north face, but were turned back by nightmare dinner-plate filled, loose, steep chutes under the northern pinnacles. So we descended the SE ridge and then humped back to pick up our gear on the north side --- lots of miles, 19hrs of work that day. Pizza in Sisters never tasted so good!


jverschuyl - Oct 24, 2003 12:52 pm

Route Climbed: SW ridge Date Climbed: July 16, 2000  Sucess!

More difficult than it looks. The rock is VERY loose (even by cascade volcano standards). We felt it was necessary to rappel to pass the small 45 degree ice traverse near the summit. Route finding was a bit challenging to find the last gulley leading to the summit, but the views were awsome. Climbed with my dad, and it was the last climb needed to finish all of the cascade volcanoes for him!!


brandon - Aug 22, 2003 1:45 pm

Route Climbed: East Face Date Climbed: Aug 17, 2003  Sucess!

Start of Sister Marathon. Left car at Pole creek at 5am. Up to East face. Climbed the first rock rib to the right of the Villard glacier to join the N ridge at its junction with the NE ridge. One fun 5.4 cliff band, lots of 4th class death scree. Traversing the bowling alley face to get to the summit pinnacle and the south ridge = 2 hours of sphincter clinching 4th and low 5th rubble traversing, but the descent to Middle Sister and the climb on it was much mellower. Bailed to go swimming in Camp Lake instead of continuing on the south sister. Promptly relocated to North Cascades granite.

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