South Sister

June 23, 2007

Our climb began from Devils Lake trailhead at 7:38 a.m. under clear, sunny skies with a temperature of about 40 degrees. We hit hard snow at about 6,200' on the trail between Kaleetan Butte and Devils Hill. The snow was too frozen to kick in steps, so we put on crampons, making the hiking much more manageable. We ran into several other climbers who did not use crampons, a couple of whom even wore running shoes! Hiking across the flats above Moraine Lake, we could not enjoy the views as much as we would have liked because we were busy threading our way though 12-inch-deep suncups. Trekking poles helped us keep our balance across the mile-long snowfield. Crampons came off and back on a couple of times and we removed them for good at about 8,000' since the route was free of snow from below Lewis Glacier to the summit rim. We reached the summit at 1:00 p.m., sharing it with a young man from Bend, soloing on his first climb. Winds picked up and we spent a cold hour on top before descending. Clouds were moving in and as we looked up at the sky, we saw a solar halo, indicating that rain could be imminent. Our newfound friend, unsure of the route, descended with us and we returned to the trailhead at 4:40 p.m. Enjoying an early summer Saturday climb without hordes of mosquitoes or crowds of hikers were Obsidians Barry Smith, Rich Romm, and Brian Hamilton (leader).

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