South Sister

May 27, 2001

We departed SEHS parking lot at 2:00 p.m. Saturday. Our first view of the mountain from the Cascade Lakes Hwy. confirmed that snow cover was much less than usual. We were able to follow the Green Lakes Trail all the way to our camp at the junction with the Moraine Lake Trail, which is remarkable in May. Gordon and Bill had both done this route twice before in early June, when snow was twice as deep. We found a camp site on dry ground, and set our alarms for 5:00 a.m. On our climb the next morning we found firm snow, overcast skies, and an increasingly strong wind from the west. As we reached the Red Ridge, several other parties of skiers, snowboarders and hikers all converged into a continuous column. The summit caldera was at the edge of the clouds for much of the day, views were poor, and other climbers emerged and disappeared again, ghostlike, into the mist. But visibility was fine for the descent. Snow conditions were decent, but the tracks of previous skiers caused some falls. Also, we were forced to remove our skis several times to cross bare rock to another snowpatch. We returned to our camp about 3:00 p.m. Van Likes remained for a second night of camping in the area, while Bill Harbaugh, a first-time Obsidian participant, and leader Gordon Sayre returned to Eugene.

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