Left Portland, OR about 9:00pm Saturday night for a last minute end of the season solo climb and hit Devils Lake Trailhead about 12:45am Sunday morning. It was a beautiful moonlit night and I could see the Three Sisters as I drove into Bend. Climbed into the back of my van for a few hours of sleep. Arose the next morning to low level clouds and hit the trail about 7:00am. The fog and clouds finally cleared as I crossed the long plateau above Moraine Lake and got my first full view of the mountain. The bright red color of the rock on the south summit is truly unique. The weather remained mostly clear above me. Except for one group about 200 yards in front of me and two groups that I passed as they were descending I felt like the only person on the mountain.
The weather held until I reached the summit rim when clouds seemed to engulf the mountain. In the 5-10 minutes that it took me to reach the true summit on the other side of the crater visibility was down to about 50-100 feet. I couldn't even see Teardrop Lake. I have to admit it was an eerie feeling sitting there all alone in the clouds and the wind. Grabbed a handful of M&Ms (don't leave home without them!) called home to tell everyone I was still alive, and made my way down. Passed a few more groups on the way down.
It was a fun day even though I didn't get to see the great view from the summit that I've heard so much about. Looking forward to trying again next year.
Looking for a rare photo opportunity I left the Devil's Lake trailhead at 1:30pm hiking solo, with the intent of returning under moonlight. Weather was perfect indian summer. The shaded trek through first section of the trail before Moraine Lake was dry and cool. Few cars along the roadside was a good indication that there were few hikers on the summit. The first group of people I saw just after passing Moraine Lake around 2:30PM. Because the Fall has been so dry the next 4 miles of the hike, including the summit itself, was exceptionally dry and dusty. But with so few people either going up or coming down this was not an issue. I reached the false summit at 5:15PM having passed the last party coming down the ridge about a half hour before. I reached the summit around 5:30PM and hiked along the ridge to take sunset photos in all directions, esp. shots of the Middle and North Sisters to the North. I walked back to the summit proper to take photos of the full moon rising around 6:15PM. Exceptional! The sun was still setting in the West at the same time.
Came down first with a head lamp as the moon was still not high enough to illuminate the East side of the ridge and trail. The moonlight walk back across the flats past Moraine Lake was stunning. Not a soul out except for myself and the moon. Met up with another party as the trail descended back into the wooded valley to Devil's Lake. Was back at the trailhead at 8:30pm a little foot-sore but with almost two full rolls of of shot film.
Climbed in the fog and clouds all day. Clouds broke long enough for views of the other Sisters and Broken Top. Left from Devils Lake to Green Lakes.
Started out from the Green Lakes TH at 0413 with head lamps, there were several people sleeping in cars at the parking lot. We reached green lake about when the sun was coming up. Several campers were camped at the lake. Crossing a small creek on logs and following a creek up the steep rocky trail we made our way along a sometimes unrecognizable trail. Look for rocks stacked as trail markers or just shoot for the small peak at the bottom of Lewis glacier. The trail traversed across this peak above a small lake at the bottom of Lewis glacier. We were the first ones to arrive here but with binoculars we could see several hikers coming across the rolling flats below. After much work and many breaks we reached the false summit at 1030 and a beautiful view of the real summit across the crater. A short 10 min hike around the right side of the crater and we were the first ones at the summit with spectacular views of Mt adams to Mt Shasta. We stayed for 90 minutes and ate lunch and took some photos and talked with some people who later arrived. On the way down we were surprised to see many people with inproper footware and NO WATER?? This is a trecherous hike at best, I can't imagine trying it in tennis shoes with no water, what were these people thinking. The round trip took 11 hours including several breaks and detours on the way down. (took ss trail down and crossed at moraine lake back to green lake trail). Once back at the car we both exclaimed never again and drove our sore bodies back to Redmond, but 2 days later we agreed to another trip up with friends.
Camped on the South end of Sparks Lake, canoed across the lake by moonlight at 4:30 a.m., hit the Devil's Lake TH at 6:00 a.m. and reached the summit about 10:20. The "Endless Red Ridge" above Lewis Glacier was exactly as I remember it the last time I climbed SS 30 years ago--long and painful. Scott and I were on the summit for an hour, then trotted back down as quickly as we could. A couple of breaks to check feet and take pictures and we were back at the car by 2:00. Don't listen to people who complain about this route. It's well-marked (as close to a freeway as a mountain can have) and the scenery is incredible from start to finish.
Would highly recommend the Green Lakes approach versus the standard south side from Devils Lake or Moraine Lake.
Ample, though restricted, camping at Green Lakes with beautiful views. Access to climb Broken Top from same base.
Climbed with 6 people and saw exactly zero other people on the Green Lakes climbing approach until we intersected with the main climbing trail just below the Lewis Glacier.
In late season it was just a trail, then rock and scree scamble. Early season I'm sure crampons and an ice ax would be helpful for some steep sections on the Green Lakes ascent route.
Climbed with a large party of family and friends. I was 11 years old. It was miserably slow waiting for everyone on the way up, but romping down the scree back to Green Lakes was great.
Started climbing from Devil's Lake TH at 5:30 AM. The last 1/3 of the trail was covered with a thin layer of ice/frost and some fresh snow, which allowed for better traction. Reached the summit in 5 hours with no other climbers/hikers visible; I was greeted with a spectacular view of the Middle and North Sisters. While descending, a plethora of hikers were encountered.
Hiked the entire way up to 10,000 feet, carrying snowboards and snowboard boots, enjoying fantastic clear skies, only to have thunderstorms move in rapidly and sock in the summit with black clouds as soon as we approached. Mt. Bachelor, once so close you felt like you could reach out and touch it, was now totally gone, enveloped in black thunder clouds. With no view from the summit, and a snowboard ride back down waiting for us, we said "close enough" and rode the snowfield down to the flat area. This mountain is NOT an ideal snowboard mountain because of the lengthy flat and up-and-down sections. Won't make that mistake again. We donned rain gear and got hailed on as soon as we unstrapped our boards. Then it stopped. We looked behind us, and the once socked-in mountain was crystal clear once again. What luck.
The trail was poorly maintained and difficult to follow. We lost it several times, as we were the first ones to ascend that weekend (no footsteps to follow). We didn't enjoy the long flat sections either. It made for a long descent.
Climb this peak in the early spring, when the snow is covering the ugly cinder and scree slopes, but the trailheads are still approachable. It will make for a much more enjoyable trip with much more beautiful views. "Never Again!" we said regarding when we would next climb a volcano in the summer. Two weeks later, up Middle Sister I went!
It was a very hot day as my brother and I started out at 8:45 a.m. The mosquitos were thick for the first one-and-a-half miles, but they seemed to slowly disappear after we emerged from the trees. Moraine Lake sparkled in the morning sun. We crossed the flat, barren landscape to the start of the steep ascent passing already hot and tired climbers. The snow was soft but easily navigable without crampons. (We had brought them just in case. The route can be hiked without crampons and ice axe at the time we went.) The upper portion of the route is snow-free. As we made the summit approach at about 9000 feet, the red scree was very loose and slippery. Awesome bergshrunds opened at the upper end of Lewis Glacier visible along the route. The reward at the top was a phenomenal view of the many volcanoes in the cascades as far north as Mount Adams and as far south as Mount Shasta ( I think). It's hard to tell when they are mixed in with the haze on the horizon, but there were many mountains to see north and south. On the way down, the local mountain rescue team administered IV to a climber with heatstroke. They flew a helicopter in to airlift the climber out.
Overall, the hike was enjoyable and always is a great experience climbing mountains and volcanoes. It was a nine-hour-hike round trip including all breaks. We drank up to 5 gallons of water between the two of us and still became a little sick from the altitude and heat; slight headache and nausea caused us to force food and water down. The filtered water from Lewis Glacier was outstanding, and it was some of the best water I have ever had.
There is always something one forgets when packing for a trip (hopefully not the important things). We forgot 35mm film, but a nice couple at the summit took our picture and said they would mail it to us. Thanks!
As I climbed this mountain, the pain grew and reminded me of my father's pain as he battles cancer. Day after day he endures challenges in his life. Each time my brother and I take on a challenge as great as a tall mountain, we feel the pain in another way and never give up in our goal to reach the summit. Dad will reach the top someday, but before he does he will have climbed the tallest mountain in the world.
Hiked in from Devils Lake TH and camped a quarter mile above Morine Lake. Headed for the summit early the next morning. Summited before the snow got soft and the freeway opened. One large snow field below the Lewis Glacier other wise not bad. This climb is blase, having summited on the North and Middle Sister in August 2000.
Snowshoed up, carrying my alpine skis and boots. I was too dumb back then to have backcountry bindings and boots. Still, standing solo on top of S Sister in perfect weather is a gift. And the descent was magnificent.
Day hiked it from Devil's Lake TH. Perfect weather - good enough to sleep for an hour or so at the summit. With exception of crater and Lewis glacier, saw NO snow on the hike. Underneath that white blanket covering it most of the time, there's a big, red, fat beauty of a mountain there. Scree was bad for the mutt - sore paws.
The traditional South Side route is well-known but my climbing partner Eric (Washington) wanted to tweak it a bit by hiking overland from the Park Meadow Trailhead and Three Creek Lake south of the town of Sisters. This approach from the north was longer but we had it to ourselves and really appreciated the solitude. We hiked along the north side of Broken Top and then camped in the saddle between South Sister and Broken Top. It is above Green Lakes basin to the north.
On the next morning we dropped down to Green Lakes and then climbed up and over the Lewis Glacier where we eventually met the normal S. Side route up near the final cinder/scree slope. Crossing the glacier and kicking steps all morning made the route, though easy, more special and I highly recommend it.
On the way back the glissading was amazing! It would have been a nice ski/snowboard descent.
Summited as a day hike from Devils lake. Plenty of snow still and so much wind we could hardly stand.What a great time.
The wilderness area set aside for the Three Sisters is very unique because of the large number of volcanoes in that area. The view from the summit is fantastic! The climb is non-technical and straightforward in the summer. On this date Oregon's highest lake in the crater had just started forming in the weeks prior. The summit is very accessible and allows for travel either across the crater or around the entire uppermost ridge of the mountain. I forsee another trip to this beautiful wilderness area in the future.
Started this trip from Devil's Lake. Did the whole trip as a day climb/hike. Car-to-car round-trip took about 8 hours. Some snow was still left on the mountain, which made for some nice, but short, glissades. Views from the top were probably some of the best I have had so far. Could see the other two sisters (Middle and North), Bachelor, Broken Top, Thielsen, Washinton, Jefferson, Hood and Adams! Have plans to go back and do the Middle Sister next summer, too.
This was my first attempt at a mountain without an experienced person accompanying me. My friend and I had been discussing the possibility of doing this relatively non-technical route. We had just enjoyed a successful climb of Mt. Hood a couple of weeks prior and were confident in our success.
We began our ascent from the Devil's Lake trailhead and hiked into our campsite several hundred feet above Moraine Lake. We were able to find a couple of flat, bare ground sites to make our camp. This was my first trip that I had carried a full pack into a mountain and it kicked my ass.
After a dinner of shared Mt. House Spaghetti with Zancudo, I enjoyed a good nights rest in my tent. The next morning we arose slightly before daybreak and made our way up the mountain. We could tell that we were ahead of other groups due to the headlamps below. As we made our way up, we realized that there was a couple moving up the Lewis glacier that would probably beat us to the summit, however we encountered a steep section of scoured hard snow that required putting on our crampons. We did this early in the section which allowed us to pass the couple that had been in front of us. The lady sort of freaked herself out traversing to the safety of a rock outcropping where she could put her crampons on safely. I thought for sure she was going to slip and take a ride back down the slope.
Nonetheless, after passing the couple we made our way up to the false summit and across the Summit crater to the true summit. The wind was gusting pretty good so we hunkered down at the summit for only a few minutes before heading back down to our camp. We were able to enjoy the summit by ourselves and only started passing people on the way down.
We descended pretty quickly to our camp and took a short rest before breaking camp. On the hike out, I hyperextended my knee and I thought I was going to die. The pain was excruciating. I ended up hobbling all the way out using my trekking pole as a splint/cane taking many breaks on the way. Finally we reached the trailhead and celebrated our joint success.
Started off about 7 am from Devil's Lake Trailhead. Summitted about 10:30 am. Loads of people along the way. Summit Crater is great and could see all the volcanoes north to Adams in Washington. Tried to find the climbers route on the north ridge to continue on and do Middle Sister but never found it. Another time....
9/17/11 Climbed with Flanders, hiked in the day before to Moraine Lake. Cold night. Lenticular formed before we started in the morning and never left. Windy and viewless. Our left sides got covered with rime ice on the walk over to the true summit. Last summit of our annual hike this year.
Made the summit on a beautiful day in mid August. By chance, or perhaps by not paying attention, we ascended from the southeastern side between the Lewis and Prouty Glaciers. A gorgeous route featuring snowfields, small waterfalls and some class 4 climbing, we managed to avoid the crowds and most all the skree by missing the more popular southern route - which is a dusty choker that we experienced on the way back to our car at Devils Lake Campground. The round trip took a good long day – around 15 hours including a long stop at Moraine Lake. However, it's not technical. If you're climbing in August, bring the Deet - the 'skeeters are vicious; I've seen nothing worse in all the states.