23 Jun 2009 - South Ridge
Left Devil's Lake TH at 5:20am, reached the summit at 9:35. Brilliant bluedbird day. The ridge was bare, and the first part of the trail; the rest was snow. Would've been some nice corn turns on skis. Total time was just under 7hrs. A long slog for sure.
2 Aug 2011 - North Ridge
Final peak of a solo Three Sisters Marathon. Left Pole Ck TH at 4:45 am, summitted North Sister around 9:30 am, Middle Sister around 11:20 am, then South Sister at 3:00 pm. Down to car pickup at Devil's Lake at 5:25 pm. North Ridge was mostly scree, but the steep step 2/3 of the way up was most easily bypassed on steep snow (and some ice), although it was pretty sketchy without protection and a rope.
Did this with SouthRaker. Fun, great, long hike. One of my first alpine experiences. Did BrokenTop the night before. Amazing, can't wait to go back!
Skinned/hiked south route. Skied good corn up high, deep wet turns lower down.
Skied a few times.
Great weather, mosquitos knew it too until above the tree line. Had a Black Butte Porter at the summit with my cousins. Great climb.
Beautiful fall day not a cloud in the sky, started at Green Lakes TH and enjoyed the forest and stream before cutting over to Moraine Lake. Stunning views even from the base, very different than where I am from. Surprisingly uncrowded given the great weather.
but oh the wind.
Beautiful fall day until the wind came up in the afternoon. Almost blew us off the mountain a few times. There were some unpleasant patches of ice and hard snow. First time up.
Drove up to Bend on short notice because the weather seemed too good to be true for late October. Great hike, no snow to speak of on the trail, perfect temperature, "late summer" conditions. Probably around 50 degrees on the summit at 2pm.
My planning friend, his brother and I decided to do South from a different angle.
We left Bend around 3:00 AM headed towards the Broken Top trailhead. It was a full moon which made the hike in really nice. When the sun rose, it was a perfect day and we were close to the NW ridge of Broken Top. We discussed maybe doing Broken Top instead, but we stuck with South.
After a failed attempt at going over the lava (I don't know what we were thinking) we headed to Green Lakes and followed a waterfall up. We popped over the top of the ridge and hit the South Sister trail.
Summit was beautiful and clear. It was terribly hot, I got quite the sunburn.
This is one of my favorite views in the state.
Gorgeous day. Superb views all the way north to Mount Hood, south to Diamond Peak and Mount Thielsen, west to Mary's Peak, and of course spectacular vantages of Middle and North Sister, Broken Top, Tam McArthur Rim, and Mount Bachelor.
Third and final peak as part of 3 sisters marathon, having started at Pole Cr. trailhead early in the morning and traversing North and Middle Sisters.
Beautiful day to climb! Wished we would've taken the North route of South Sister instead of the NW ridge, but we were unsure of the crux near the top looking at the North route from afar. Should've read more on summitpost! Gaining the less technical NW ridge route from the saddle between Middle and South took valuable time and effort, thus putting us at the summit of South at sunset. Nonetheless, it was a great trek up the relatively moderate grade of the NW ridge, with the steepest portion being the very top before cresting the summit crater rocks. Loose rock, both scree and larger boulders, almost the entire ridge to the top.
Want to go back and do the 3 sisters marathon now that we have a better understanding of the routes for a more efficient climbs. Refilled water supply with glacial runoff between Middle and South.
Encountered only 8 other climbers while traversing North and Middle. No doubt South was crawling with climbers throughout the day, but only saw a few during the descent in darkness.
Afternoon departure got us to the summit around 7PM. The mountain was holding back clouds and wind. The plateau was plagued by a cold wind, but we were sheltered on the higher portions. We took the dog because of the dog-friendly description, but carried her for a portion near the top because the small grains of pumice are very rough on the little doggie paws.
Although I had climbed South Sister several times before, this was the first ascent for my wife, Alisa. She had wanted to climb after hearing our stories about previous escapades and seeing the pictures of other friends on top of the mountain.
So after work on the Friday of Labor Day Weekend, we packed up, left the (grown) kids to fend for themselves and headed for Devil's Lake Campground at about 6PM from Eugene. We stopped at the quaint Cultus Lake Resort to buy our NW Forest Pass, and found the Devil's Lake parking lot next to the South Sister Climbing trail sign just before dark. The last rays of light lit the summit as it loomed in a crack between the hills while we had a quick dinner by the campstove before bed.
Leaving at about 7AM amidst a number of laughing and joking groups heading up, we made the plateau by 8:30 AM, and found the mountain draped in a curtain of fast moving clouds. But from time to time, the summit appeared ahead of us, which gave us hope for a clear summit attempt. Unusually cold (40's) and very windy weather for August, made us glad we had packed parkas in our day packs. By the time we reached the cinder cone on the mountain side, the wind had died down, and the sun greeted us although below the valleys were draped in a blanket of white. Slogging up the skree, we made the summit rim by 12:30 and the summit by about 1PM. Luckily, the clouds had thinned and we found a wonderful view of the Middle and North Sisters on the summit as well as clear views of Mt. Washington, Mt. Jefferson and even Mt. St. Helen's (?) in the distance to the north.
Although the skree sliding down was long and dusty, all and all it was a very fun day up on the mountain and a great first ascent for Alisa. By the time we made it back to the plateau, the mountain had cleared and was in beautiful sunshine, showing off it's red and green lava sections. Some Advil and time will hopefully help Alisa to forget the long trudge back to the car, and I can convince her to join me again for another climbing adventure this Fall.
Nice day. Up from Devil's down Green Lake. Boot skied the glacier from the cirque lake down.
Swarms of butterflies beginning from about 9000' and above. Another good day hike from Devil's Lake to the summit.
South Sister is relatively easy, if you are up for a 12 mile hike. Nothing technical. Views range from Mt Adams all the way to Mt McLoughlin. Pretty much the whole of Oregon. In 2001, summited in three hours. The rest of the party was ready to go down, but I stayed to admire the very clear view that day. Running late, I descended in an hour and ten minutes. By far a PR. With heavier snows this year, maybe the only Sister climbable? Always a winner, especially for out of towners.
Hey, Seth! I know it was 3-4 years ago, but can you give me any more info on what trailhead you STARTED the traverse (all 3) from, and/or some printed info on the traverse? Jeff Smoot's book mentions the possibility, but doesn't describe the traverse or where to start it from. Thanks! Sam Jones (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Took my dad and nephew. All snow from the road. My dad had enough by noon at 8500' :)