South Sister

August 15, 2004

We started our South Sister hike at the Falls Creek trailhead at 12:30 p.m. The weather was perfect, in the mid eighties. We were at Moraine Lake camping area at 2:00 p.m. and amazed to see our preferred campsite unoccupied. After setting up camp and sending the teenage campers to filter water, in rolled the big grey thunder clouds that released dime sized hail and sent hikers running and scurrying off South Sister with the cloud to ground lightning strikes. The weather proceeded to get worse as the evening sat in. There was a severe weather warning for the night and into the morning. We were at the threshold of evacuating or riding it out thinking our location should be to our advantage.

Our plan was to check the weather at 12:30 a.m. and decide to proceed at that time.

To our pleasant surprise at 12:30 a.m., a calm starry night greeted us. We began our hike at 1:30 a.m. with our headlamps on, aided by the glow of a gazillion stars. We arrived at the false summit at 4:30 a.m. We took a break here knowing our sunrise summit was going to be achievable. We reached the south rim by 5:30 a.m. with a chilly wind at our backs. We hiked on to the east rim and on to the summit for a spectacular sunrise a little after 6:00 a.m. Successful climbers included first timers Arno and Lauren Nelson, along with repeat climbers Lauren Lamb, Linda Lamb, Justin Sawyer, Steve Stuckmeyer, co-leader Kim Sawyer and climb leader Virgil Lamb.

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