South Sister - South Ridge

September 8-9, 1979

The trip from Eugene to Fall Cr. Parking area via Bend was uneventful except for sporadic rain showers which increased with intensity and cold as we crossed the Cascades. Some improvement was noted after a coffee stop at Bend, but the weather forecast of rain became more evident as we reached the trail head. Rain outfits and warm clothing were appropriate for the 4.6 mile walk in to Green Lake outlet camp. There was a frantic scramble to pitch tents, and to prepare dinner with uncooperative stoves between sleet storm punctuations. New snow level was observed at 8000 ft. (1500 ft. above camp) at 8:00 p.m. Prognosis for the night: a very wet camp.

Normal start on 9 Sept. should have been about 7:00 a.m. for the 4000 foot class 1.3 scramble over moraines and scree, but this was delayed until 9:00 a.m. while performing propitiating ceremonies to the Rain God. A modicum of success (attributed to the powers of the party shaman) was evinced by the appearance of a few blue patches at starting time. We crossed the solid logs at the lower lake outlet then proceeded up the lateral moraine “goat trail” on the north side of the creek, which originates at Lewis Glacier and the snow fields. We flanked Lewis Glacier at 8800' altitude and started the long slog up Red Ridge in 4" of new snow (normally the glacier crossing is more interesting but with only two ice axes and ropes sans crampons—the diversion was not attempted. The weather at 9000' was less than inviting with a composite of mixed rain snow and sunshine. With a steady barometric reading, no wind., and lack of rumblings by the Storm God, we elected to “go for it.” We reached the crater by 12:30 and Register Rock by 12:45. There were intermittent views of the cloud shrouded sisters during our summit stop. Climatic improvement was marked during the descent with tents and ground quite dry at camp.

The outbound hike to the trail head was pleasant; another day would have been ideal for a Broken Top sojourn. Summit certificates were issued during a dinner stop at the Gallery at Sisters. This was a strong willing party and they are credited with an ascent which appeared somewhat dubious during both days. The speed of the party was probably accelerated to avoid lectures by the leader on glaciology and vulcanism of the area during brief stops. Four members of the group indicated interest in Obsidian membership applications.

Those braving the elements for this trip included: Kate Conant, Evelyn Everett, Sharon Fraley, Mary Ellen de la Pena, Susan Meyer, Greg Page, Helena Johnston and the leader Thomas Johnston.


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