Middle Sister via Renfrew Glacier
July 14-15, 2007
Three of us met Saturday morning, July 14, at South Eugene High School to begin our climb. Highway 242 was closed from the snow gate on the west side to the Obsidian trailhead due to road construction, so we had to drive over the Santiam Pass to Sisters. Our progress was delayed slightly due to heavy traffic at the Annual Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show.
Once on the trail, we made good time under partly cloudy skies. Shortly after crossing the lava flow and White Branch Creek, the leader made the mistake of taking the right fork instead of the fork marked with “Minnie Scott Springs.” This added about ¾ mile to our hike in, but we later agreed that it was a gentler grade and easier on us with our heavy packs than the more direct route, plus we got a chance to see extra scenery! We reached Arrowhead Lake in mid-afternoon, set up our tents, and relaxed in preparation for the next day’s summit.
A 30% chance of thunderstorms was predicted beginning at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, so our plan was to be off the mountain before that time. We left camp at 5:00 a.m. and made our way up the outside edge of the Renfrew Glacier to reach the north ridge. Once on the ridge, we were on rock and scree except for one short, steep section of snow. We reached the summit at 8:30 a.m. and stayed long enough to take a few photographs and to add our names and thoughts to the summit register. The sky was hazy from forest fires and we could see two fires to the north near the Warm Springs Reservation area.
A quick descent, including a few good glissades, got us back to our camp by 11:00 and we were back at the trailhead and beginning our drive home by 3:00 p.m.
This was the second time on Middle Sister for Obsidian Brian Hamilton (leader) and the first time on the Renfrew Glacier route. Making their first ascent of the Middle Sister were Obsidian Marianne Camp and non-member Dan Keller.