On The Summit Of South Sister
Part of the deal I struck with my boss that enabled me to take time off for the Greece and Egypt trip
this Spring was to work a promotional gig in Oregon in the middle of July. Bummer! During the height of mountaineering season, on one of the best weekends, I would be stuck working. But then I started thinking about the volcanoes. My counter offer to my boss was to get a company vehicle and a couple of extra days to get back to Washington after the work was done. He accepted.
Paulina Peak Overlook
Each day I worked I would stare at the three sisters which were visible from the parking lot. After getting off early from my position one afternoon I snuck over to check out Paulina Peak
(7985) and Newberry Crater which has a couple lakes and a huge obsidian flow. It was really just a drive up to the rim of an old volcanic crater, but at least it got me over 7000 feet.
Lewis Glacier Runoff Pool
Lewis Glacier Runoff Pool
Then finally the weekend ended. My friend Robbin drove down from Washington to meet me that evening and we went to the trailhead for South Sister
(10,358 feet) which is the highest in the Three Sisters Wilderness
. We got an early start the next morning and made good time on the south ridge. We passed a small lake at the base of the Lewis Glacier and from there it wasn't far to the summit. On top we had views of the other volcanoes to the north including Middle Sister (10,056 feet), North Sister (10,085 feet), Three Fingered Jack (7841 feet), Mount Jefferson (10,497 feet), and Mount Hood (11,239 feet). We descend quickly making good time even though I took us a little off route.
Nearing The Summit
Mount Bachelor Visible Near The Summit
We had planned to do Mount Bachelor
(9065 feet) the next day but there was plenty of daylight left and we were both feeling good so we decided to go for it. We followed the ski lifts on the north ridge and once again made good time getting to the summit although we were both feeling a little tired after 7600 feet of gain. On the summit we met a man from Florida that was also in town for business. His exuberance for being in such an amazing place was contagious. We felt sorry for him living in such a flat place.
Mount Hood Seen From The Parking Lot
We sat on the summit
for about a half hour talking, laughing and just being happy to be alive. We bid our friend farewell and turned back to the north ridge. Snow conditions were perfect and I was able to do a standing glissade that lasted for (((2000 FEET)))
. As my friends know, I love standing glissades and this was the best one to date. We came down 2000 feet in about 18 minutes. Back at the car, there was still plenty of daylight left. I looked at Robbin and half-joking asked her which one we were going to do next. Even if we had wanted to, I was all out of beta so that would have to do.
High Rock Lookout
On The Summit
We agreed to drive north and spend the night in the parking lot at the Mount Hood ski area, so we could admire an even bigger volcano. I've slept there before and even thought I pitched my tent between cars, nobody bothered us. The next morning I was able to get reception on my internet phone so I looked up the information for High Rock
(5685 feet). Got it, bingo! Time for one last hurrah before going home. The trail to High Rock was short and easy so I convinced Robbin not to carry her pack. We just put some snacks in our pockets and went up. High Rock is inside the triangle of big volcanoes. From the lookout we could see Mount Saint Helens (8365 feet), Mount Adams (12,276 feet), and Mount Rainier (14,411 feet). We were closest to Mount Rainier. The view of Washington's highest volcano, just a handful of hours after seeing Oregon's highest, was just as impressive if not more so.
Mount Rainier Detail View