North & Middle Sisters

August 3-5, 1990

It seems hard to believe that one could work all day and end up being camped deep in the Three Sisters Wilderness in the evening, but that’s what happened on this trip. The Obsidians on this trip met after work at 5:30 and drove to Frog Camp. Leaving the cars at 7:30 p.m., the party made Arrowhead Lake in just two hours, just in time to have dinner in the starlight. The older members of the group were curious about young Jeremy’s sleeping ritual of a space blanket and no bag or tent but his immediate and nonstop snoring satisfied the rest of us that he knew what he was doing.

Following a short night’s sleep, the group left camp at 3:00 a.m. for the long trudging up the snowfields and finally across Collier Glacier. A daybreak breakfast was enjoyed on the Red Ridge of the North Sister with the wind to our backs and the sun in our faces. By 8:30 a.m. the party was on the Dinner Plate snowfield. Due to the steep grade of the area, the sun would not touch the snowfield until we would be well past it. Therefore, the Dinner Plate was very icy and hard, so crossing it was time consuming, however, eventless. The ropes were used in the summit chute and the entire party summitted in time for an early lunch. The day was gloriously calm and sunny and a lot of time was spent using up film. Certain members of the group enjoyed posing for some rather frightening photographs. This Obsidian climbing party enjoyed being buzzed by a helicopter while on the summit and being able to see people from inside wave back at us. The trip back across the Dinner Plate was much faster now that the trail was broken and the ice had melted; the party wasted no time in getting back to Collier Glacier as its members anticipated another summit in the afternoon. During a break on the saddle between the North and Middle Sisters, the party reflected on the perfect conditions of the day, including the fact that ours was the only party on the North Sister which meant for us, no rock fall to contend with. As the afternoon wore on, three members of our party summitted the Middle Sister in an amazingly rapid 45 minutes from the top of Collier Glacier. Those summitting the Middle were Don, Mark and Ken. Once again the party made a rapid uneventful descent, this time back to camp in time for a swim in Arrowhead Lake, a few trips to Scott Springs and dinner before twilight.

After watching a beautiful sunset the party enjoyed a long night’s rest followed by full breakfasts and a lazy morning in the sun. A route new to the members in the party past Obsidian Falls was followed on the way back to the cars. This nearly perfect trip in absolutely perfect weather was enjoyed by Obsidians Don Orton, Setha Burns, Mark Brown, Jeremy Adams and Leader, Ken Ball.

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