Middle Sister (Instructional Climb)

July 7-8, 1984

Blessed with beautiful weather and a strong group, this Middle Sister Instructional Climb was a rousing success. We left Eugene at 6 on Saturday, July 7, and were on the trail from Frog Camp by 8:20 a.m. The snow-covered trail slowed our progress, but we reached our camp one-quarter mile above Sunshine Camp before noon. The afternoon was spent applying massive amounts of sunscreen while learning and practicing snow climbing techniques on a nearby snowfield.

With a 4:45 a.m. start on Sunday, we reached the summit of the Middle Sister at 8:45 a.m. after a short bout of step-cutting on the steep slope below the summit ridge. The sky was mostly clear, with views from Mt McLaughlin in the south to Mt Adams in the north. The descent was memorable. To avoid descending the direct line we had ascended, we dropped down on exposed rocks to a point from which we could traverse to the ascent route. While stopped to put on crampons, the pack (with crampons) of one member of our party continued the descent unaided down the headwall of the Renfrew Glacier, coming to rest far down the mountain. As a result, the leader and the party member received substantial experience in traversing a relatively steep slope with one crampon apiece. Fortunately, the traverse was without further incident and the pack was recovered intact. We enjoyed good glissading conditions in completing the descent. All in all, the week end was a good learning experience for a strong, compatible group. Participants were Bruce Farthing and Lesley Mooney (first peak for each), Jim Mooney and Cindy Magliana (second peak for each), Sally Grosscup, and co-leaders Ray Smith and Lee Lashway.

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