South Sister Sunrise Climb
August 10-11, 2003
We were a large group, 12 climbers. We met at Sheldon High parking lot and left Eugene on Sunday the 10th at 11:30. We got to the Green Lakes Trailhead at 3:00. We took the Fall Creek Trail to Moraine Lake (arriving by 5:00) and set up camp. We had a beautiful day for our walk up to camp, but the early evening showed us a drop in temperature and some significant wind. This made it easy to call an early evening so we could get 4½ hours rest before our 12:30 wake-up call!
On summit day we hit the trail at 1:20 a.m., the wind had subsided and it felt warm. The forest service has rerouted the trail around the southwest side of Moraine Lake instead of the more direct southerly route. Our group was comprised of various ages and skill levels, fortunately four of us had been up South Sister before and were scattered through the group so everyone could climb at their own pace. We regrouped several times and again at the False Summit at about 4:10 a.m. The wind had again picked up and low clouds that had alternately covered and blown off of the summit were cold and filled with damp moisture. As we got nearer the summit we were truly in the clouds and our goal of seeing the sunrise was very much in doubt. Mountains being as unpredictable as they are we pushed on if for no other reason than to simply summit. Luck was, however with us and as we got to the top, the clouds parted and from the true summit, or the east side most of the group was rewarded with a spectacular sunrise at 6:01 a.m. Our entire group made it to the summit.
This was a unique view of a mountain we had climbed several times before. We climbed by the light of a full moon, often turning off our headlamps. We had a great view of Mars, a distant forest fire and in the wee hour the moon turned a bright orange-yellow, we assume from smoke.
Climbers were: Luke Laird, Justin Sawyer, Linda Lamb, Lauren Lamb, Elizabeth Lamb, Jason Mueller, John Kaiser, Lisa Yount, Karen McGowen, Dale Aurand, Kim Sawyer & Virgil Lamb (yes this was a family affair).
— photos by Virgil Lamb