South Sister/Broken Top

August 15-16, 1992

Oh boy! Another South Sister/Broken Top weekend marathon. I led this set in 1990 and had a great time, so I was happy to do it again. Fortunately this trip started out much less exciting than the last trip, where I ran the first red light I came to (too early) and nearly hit a cow on Century Drive. These kind of Wild Eddie stories always quiet down your riders (white knuckles, anyone?). Our timely 9:00 start at the Green Lakes trailhead was on schedule, but our enthusiasm was dampened by the local Ranger. Thunderstorms were expected by about 2:00-3:00 p.m., as they had occurred for the previous two or three days. Great — that’s precisely the time we expected to be on top of Broken Top. We had our camp set up at Green Lakes arid started up the mountain at 12:15. Lucky this time — we hit a window in the expected weather, and the thunderstorm didn’t happen. After a half-hour wait, we worked our way through an Outward Bound group (ropes everywhere) and summitted at 3:15. Great day, making a summit that was in deep doubt is always special.

Sunday on the South Sister went real smooth, no problems with this strong group. We left camp at 7:15 and summitted at 10:20. It could have been done quicker but Tim Verkler (Mr. Fast) waited for me at the summit crater’s south rim. By 11:00 or so we were getting a serious thermal buildup, so we cancelled the rest of the summit party and started off (via the West Rim scenic route). By the time we got to our base camp (2:00) the thunder started in a serious sort of way. I encouraged the group to pack fast because our tree-covered ridge looked like target practice to me. I was the first one packed. This of course will come as a surprise to those climbers that have watched me pack frantically so I could be last by just a small margin. Lightning does wonders for my adrenaline glands. Fortunately, the storm moved north and missed our outpost. The hike out in improving weather was a fitting finish to another great weekend by climbers Jane Astle (Broken Top only), Tom McQuirk, Kyle Merriam, Rick Strom, Tim Verkler and Ed Lovegren, leader.

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