North Sister

August 11-12, 1984

Our party of eight arrived at base camp Friday evening, near the spring below Heart Lake. An early start Saturday morning put us at the snowfield shortly after 8 a.m. and the first party to arrive. The snow approach out to the rock point, to start across the field, was extremely steep, about 80 degrees, forcing a drop in elevation on rotten rock, then up to the rock point. A full 150 feet of fixed line and one picket was used to achieve this goal. Rather than individual rope teams, I felt a fixed line approach offered more security for the type of party we had. With the help of another party of four who had arrived shortly after ourselves and who had only one rope, we set fixed lines from the rock point across the to the summit chute, another two full rope lengths and utilizing two more pickets, one being an ice axe. Two of our party elected not to cross the snowfield, leaving a combination party of ten that progressed on to the summit using the last rope for belay purposes. A secure fixed line does indeed make it easier for others to follow—at least 6, to 10 additional climbers crossed the field, free climbed up and down and were gone; even a party of four in tennis shoes, shorts and no slings, carabiners, or ropes. One did ask for aid in descending. Obviously, the mountain can be free climbed; not so obvious, it seems, is the consequence of a fall at this location. Everyone was down and all ropes secured by 5 p.m.

A long but satisfying day. The weather was good and most cooperative. The leader of our other combined team was a member of the Portland Mt Rescue and was appreciative, as were we, of our mutual team work.

Those climbing to the snowfield were Lee Hatch and Gerry Tomseth. Those summiting were Kim Christensen, Tom Donnelly, Mark Fisk, Rick Hargreaves, Chris Shuraleff, & leader Glenn Meares. A footnote to this climb was that on my descent, I reviewed with Tom Donnelly the area of my fall of last year. (Clear of snow this year.) I had previously estimated the fall at 75 to 100 feet. The distance was actually on the plus side of 150 feet.


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