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 (email@example.com)
Took my dad and nephew. All snow from the road. My dad had enough by noon at 8500' :)
Rained Saturday night at camp (7000'), hiked to the summit under clear blue skys the next morning.
If you call the Forest Service they'll tell you there is no parking along the road at Devils Lake. Don't believe them...there's lots of parking. They've even plowed out parking at devils lake campground.
Great hike to the top, but no views. Could see 30' from the summit, and very cold.
Hiked this solo on a fine day.
climbed the nw ridge via North & Middle sis traverse. Met my girlfriend at the top, who had dropped me off at Pole Ck early in the day. Good climb, LOTS of solitude on this route. Not technical, just a long slog, but a safe (and circuitous) alternate to the north ridge.
I have done this route four times now and camped on top twice, and this is always one of the best trips of year.
If you go in late spring you can slide down on the snowpack for your return, and it's actually in my opinion easier to climb the top sections with the snow rather than the loose scree.
did this back in the day. we carried way too much water like 4 quarts! gave some to a guy who didn't bring any water cause "he was a wrestler"
I need to get in shape!
2 day climb, camped ~7000ft, grabbed the peak the next morning. Beautiful clear day.
finally got up this one. I'm embarrassed it took me this long to get at it, but I did and got up there with a million other people. nice and cool out. totally clear all day. tons of scree to go with the tons of people.
The Willamette Valley was socked in with clouds and there were intermittent thunderstorms to the east but the Cascade Range was clear up to about Mt. Jefferson. As we rested for lunch at the lake at the base of Lewis Glacier, clouds were billowing up toward the summit. There ended up being no reason for concern as the day stayed clear, temperature was moderate, and wind at the summit was light enough that I didn't even need a windbreaker. The view, especially of Middle and North Sister, was spectacular. The exposure on the east side of the summit came as a bit of a shock realizing that 30 years earlier I had climbed on that pinnacle in near white-out conditions completely unaware of the drop on that side.
Easy route without any people! I lucked out to arrive before dusk and not see anyone until 10 the next morning. A summit bivy is highly recommended.
very easy climb, biggest ive done to date, but did it in one day, no climbing gear, just a good pair of boots, and a lunch to eat at the top
After climbing Thielsen in morning, dep. TH at 1145, summit by 1600, return to TH by 2000.