South Sister

July 1, 2006

A severe thunderstorm dropping nickel-sized hail had passed through on the west side of the Pacific crest the day before and a slight chance of thunderstorms was forecasted for the day of the climb. The high clouds present when we started out soon cleared and we had a sunny sky and temperatures up to 85 degrees for most of the climb. The winter snow had almost all melted from the trailhead, but the trail was still buried by snow from about 6,000' and above until we reached the Lewis Glacier. Even with an overnight freezing level of 13,000', the snow was firm and we had very little boot penetration.

We started from the Devils Lake trailhead at 6:30 a.m. and reached the summit in six hours. We had the summit to ourselves for an hour and then headed down, trying to beat incoming clouds. We completed the climb at 4:30 p.m.

About 25 other climbers/skiers were on the south side of the mountain that day and we saw several camps set up on the plateau above Moraine Lake. Several of the climbers going up the mountain as we were descending appeared to be ill-prepared for the snow on the ground and the oncoming clouds. Our luck held out as a short rain shower began just minutes after we were in the car headed back to Eugene.

Enjoying a strenuous, but pleasant climb without the typical summer crowds were Brian Hamilton (leader) and Rich Peevers.

Rich, near the Moraine Lake cutoff trail (Photo by Brian Hamilton)

Brian & Rich on the summit (Photo by Brian Hamilton)

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