Taking a gang up Broken Top for our annual fun at Green Lakes this weekend and wondering if anyone can tell me what the area around Green Lakes is looking like, snow-wise. The Forest Service report from 11th talks about snow still, but I'm doubtful...I'm guessing it's pretty melted out and things are looking good. Last photos I saw of B.Top looked like things were pretty melted out up on the route. Just want to make sure a few newbies in our group are properly outfitted to deal with some snow if there still is quite a bit....Has anyone taken the approach from Green Lakes up S.Sister recently? A ton of snow there? or a boot path or melted out trail? Thanks for any beta, Amy
I wouldn't call this official beta, but here is my take on the Central Cascades for this summer. Please disregard if some Bend folk stop by and leave a post as they can immediately check on conditions and I am going off what I saw a month or so ago.
Myself and a friend went on our second climbing trip though Oregon this past July. We intentionally went a month later to avoid the big snow we had run into the year before. We climbing mostly in SE Oregon, but hustled up to La Pine and did Paulina Peak (and went over to Crater Lake too). (Note: Here we had planned to do Bachelor and Ball Butte...which after seeing them...we laughed and headed South, granted we had ice axes...but no crampons)
The snow was still fairly heavy as of July 5th (when we did Paulina). Half of Crater Lake was still closed. Basically we ran into the same quantity of snow we had faced the previous year, but three weeks later than the previous year. As far as I know, when I left the Northwest (two weeks ago) we had still not had the usual heat wave I'm used to (90s to 100s for a week or two) and a quick look at the weather channel apparently agrees http://www.weather.com/outlook/weather-news/news/articles/zero-for-90-in-2011_2011-08-17.
In summary the point is 1) this was an unusually heavy snow year for the northwest (Oregon included) and 2) this was one of the mildest summers in recent years as far as heat is considered in the northwest. My guess is to expect snow still at elevation around the South Sister and Broken Top. This by no means is a typical Central Cascades August/September where you can waltz up the South Sister (did that September 12, 2009) with out a patch of snow till you hit the crater. (I'm assuming you are climbing something there and would like to scramble or hike to the top). If you are just planning on heading up to 7k or 8k and a lake you are probably fine, but if you are planning on climbing something come prepared for snow.
That is my take hopefully you can get a current diagnosis on conditions.
I hiked up Middle Sister yesterday and there was a lot more snow than when I did two years ago....but if your going up middle sister and broken top, I would say your fine. We made it to the top of Middle Sister and had to cross several glaciers, but never needed any equipment. If you havn't ever hiked up Middles Sister....it is 10X's better than South. Enter from the East side via Obsidian Trail off of McKenzie Hwy....Waterfalls, rivers....it was great!
Thanks for all the info! Trip was great, took a group up Broken Top, including two who had never done any rappelling outdoors, so that little rappel up there was super fun for them. No snow at all on Broken Top. Came down the scree descent, also no snow there..
We did S.Sister the next day, and there's still quite a bit of snow on the approach from Green Lakes up to the lake below the summit. Nothing that was un-passable, but might wig out someone who doesn't like walking on steep snow....was actually really nice instead of a dirt/scree slog. Final ridge up to the summit is snow free, but Teardrop Pool in the summit hasn't melted out at all yet. Kinda crazy.... There were perfect snow patches in the trees at Green Lakes...used them as beer coolers
Mosquitoes were absolutely horrible in early a.m. and at dusk at Green Lakes. And ran into a lot of them on the Green Lakes approach trail on the way in and out..wherever there was melting snow/mud we got eaten alive.