I slept in the back of my 4Runner at Devils Lake with the intent of soloing. Gorgeous day except for the fires both north and south of the peak. It was my first solo of a volcano. 26th and 27th Oregon county highpoints (Lane and Deschutes).
Camped at Devils Lake. Started off under sunny skys and a clear view of the summit, but as we came out of the forest onto Wickiup Plain a full view of the now cloud capped Sister greeted us. Snow level was at 6,000 ft. very low for early September, but this is Oregon, gotta love it! Continued across the moonscape like rolling plain watching the mountain hoping the clouds would lift, but they never did. They just clung to the upper portions of the mountain teasing us with very brief periods of partial clearing. The temperature dropped quickly as we climbed and just above the Lewis Glacier moraine at about 9,000 ft. we entered the clouds and left the view behind for the remander of the climb. I thought I was climbing to heaven, nothing but white and silence, other than my own breathing. When I reached the false summit there was a brisk wind and a temperature in the mid twenties. Walked around the rim to the summit, which wasn't visible from the false summit on this day, to complete my climb. Came back two weeks later to climb under cloudless skys to get the views that we missed. Beautiful place to be!
At about 3:30 a.m. I set out on snowshoes from the Devils Lake trailhead. I cached my snowshoes at the top of the plateau and followed an established boottrack up to the base of the Lewis Glacier. There it became very windy and I put on crampons.
Crossing the summit crater the wind picked up dramatically. I crawled on hands and knees to peek my head over the summit cornice, where the winds were 70+ mi/hr, gusting higher. At this point I watched as one of my expensive overmitts flew out of my grasp and over the precipice.
I hadn't seen anyone else for this solo ascent, but since it was Memorial Day I met dozens of people on the way down. Once I got back to the base of the Lewis Glacier I could see the giant lenticular cloud hovering to the east. After a few glissades and a long, tedious slog across the very wet snow of the plateau, I finally made it back to the trailhead by early afternoon.
On that day massive lenticular clouds were hanging over most of the Cascade volcanoes, most notably Mt. Jefferson.
The loose, unmaintained, and very dusty use trail up South Sister isn't really a pleasant hike. Incredible up-close views of the volcanic landscape around the Three Sisters make it worth it though. It's also worthwhile to take a tour around the summit crater. When I went down to take a closer look at Teardrop Pool, I noticed bubbles rising to the surface and a sulfurous odor. It's evidence of volcanic activity on South Sister that I haven't read about anywhere else.
Climbed this solo under a full moon and Summited at 6:30 am, had the summit to myself. Views from jefferson to thielsen, with especially nice views to the south. I counted 37 people going up as i was descending.
Started about 7 am from Devils Lake with our group of five and were immediately passed by serious trekkers with important mountain equipment. Telescoping poles are really an asset going up, and even more handy coming back down. The trek up was really tough on my poor hip joints (having the oldest joints in the group) but the summit and points in between were worth the pain. No bugs/rain/snow. The summit clouded up as soon as we arrived and it got kind of windy, but just before starting to descend we got the wonderful 360 view to take back in memory. Carry clothing for weather that can quickly sneak up on the mountain and can probably be very nasty. The best part of the experience was being able to make that journey with my two sons. Makes me smile.
Left Corvallis in the morning and departed from Devil’s Lake Trail head. Took a few hours up. Sorta crummy, weather was nice but the mountain is covered in scree. Beautiful day but not able to see anything because of the forest fires.
If the weather holds, this is the perfect time of year to climb. No mosquitos, no heat exhaustion, you actually use the layers you bring, and less people!
We camped the night before, cold but we crammed 3 in a 2 person tent, helps with the heat! Up early, 5:00-ish and hit the trail around 5:30am. By the time the sun rose around 7, we were already climbing out of the trees. Much better place to watch the fantastic sunrise exploding across the sky!
Pretty much just a long, scree-filled, snow scattered, steep hike. My friend unfortunately got altitude sickness, which can't be planned for so she had to go back down. The rest of us summited just in time to get a great view of Broken Top, the other Sisters and then the clouds rushed in and hustled us out of there. Took us 9 hours total, and we weren't running, it was fabulous and I would do it again! Next time, the dog's coming, with his boots of course!
We camped in the car Friday night at Devil’s Lake Trail head. We got up the next morning, ate and left at 8am in 25 degree temperatures. The day was fairly nice until we started up the red ridge section of the south ridge when it started to snow. We were not sure if the weather was going to clear or not. Once we reached the false summit the clouds parted and the sun shined. It was warm and beautiful. There were so many clouds you could not see any other mountains including the other sisters.
Although I am glad I summated this mountain it was the most boring summit I have done. The hike is just a long slog to the top. A good one to bag but not by much.
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.