One Day Climb of Three Sisters

July 25, 1976

After camping in the Sunshine area Saturday night, the four climbers in this group: Sam Miller, Bob Edwards, Lee Hatch and leader, Bert Ewing, started the climb of North Sister at 2 a.m. At 7:15 we were on the summit, and because of several other groups we could see on the up, we started down. Even so we were met by one group ready to come up the chute and waited for another group to traverse the snow field. After these short delays we continued down the mountain and across the top of Collier Glacier and were on the top of Middle Sister at 11:30. After over ten hours of steady climbing we were ready for lunch and a long rest. The weather was sunny and warm and taking a nap would have been the easiest thing to do. But we rested only ½ hour and started for the Chambers Lake area and what we did not know was going to be a ten hour, hard climb up the north side of South Sister; after leaving the, ridge about half way up we were faced with a very steep area of loose rock, some snow patches, and several water flows that were almost as much scree as water. The next three hours were spent with Bert setting up hand lines and belays for the rest of us to proceed up the mountain. Rock fall was a major problem and we were both fortunate and thankful that no one was hurt. After one more long scree ridge we were in solid rock and after a short scramble were on the summit.

After congratulating each other we were happy to put our sleeping bags on almost any spot, level or not, and crawl in. It was then 10 p.m. and almost dark. From Sunshine to the summit of South Sister had taken us 20 hours. I’m sure none of us will have any thoughts of doing it again.

We started off the mountain at 7 a.m. Monday morning to make our scheduled meeting with Eunice Mickel at Devil’s Lake. Eunice and her husband were camped in their V.W. bus and had brought an extra car so we could get back to ours at Frog Camp. They were staying for another day of fishing.

We arrived at the Lake at 9:50 and soon were eating breakfast of fruit, fresh fried trout, sausage and eggs, fresh blueberry hotcakes and coffee. Our thanks to the Mickels for the great food and the use of their car.

Sam, Bert and I drove back to Frog Camp and home at 3 p.m., leaving Bob with the Mickels for a day of fishing. Bob Edwards was visiting from Connecticut where the big mountains are 3500 to 4000 feet. Especially for him it was a great accomplishment. All had a great time, and a better bunch of guys I have never been climbing with. —Lee Hatch

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