Middle Sister

July 26-27, 1997

This was alpine climbing at its best: a great group of people, perfect weather, a great place to camp with no other people in the whole area, good snow conditions, and a safe and successful summit. We backpacked in to a high camp at Arrowhead Lake in the Obsidian Falls area. There was a heavy snow pack at this elevation and the whole area is still covered with snow. Luckily for us, there were several snow-free areas to camp and water from a small corner of the lake had started to melt out. The sky was blue and clear and the route up the Middle Sister was an inviting avenue of snow. After everyone set up camp, Truman Grandy and John Pegg gave a brief refresher clinic on the proper use of an ice ax and self arrest technique. Everyone was ready for an early start.

We put on crampons at the edge of camp and started up towards the Renfrew Glacier on good snow at approximately 4:30 a.m. We wanted to get an early start because of the possibility of afternoon thunderstorms. By the time the sun came up, we were passing by the odd rock formation known to many as the Dragon’s Back or Folding Rock and were soon working our way up the glacier towards the North Ridge. Before 8:00 we were all on the summit. Perhaps dazzled and disoriented by the extraordinary views of the Cascades from the top of the mountain, I wrote “South Ridge” on the summit certificates! Coming down was aided by good snow for glissading and everyone had ample time to rest and pack up back at camp before heading down the trail. Thanks to Truman Grandy for his help with the ice ax clinic and to Rich Anselmo for the weather forecast, and congratulations to Deb Carver who has now climbed all three Sisters and is eligible to become a Princess.

Climbers were: Truman Grandy (assistant leader), Peter Howison, Julian Peñaloza, Debbie Loos, Henry Turner, Deb Carver, Steve Smith and John Pegg, leader.


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