North Sister

Saturday–Sunday, August 13–14, 2011
Leader: Brian Hamilton
Climb: 16 miles, 4800 ft

We hiked in on Saturday to a base camp below the Southeast Spur. Sleep was hard to come by because of fierce wind gusts that threatened to blow us off the ridge. Our climb began at 4:45 am. The winds were gone and with the light of a full moon, we could almost go without headlamps. We spent the next three hours trudging up over loose, volcanic rock, while weaving around numerous gendarmes before connecting with the South Ridge. A wrong turn on the ridge took us around the east side of the Camel’s Hump, requiring extra care in our footing because of the steep slopes below. Back on track, we reached the gully where we put on harnesses and crampons and prepared for setting a fixed line across the “Dinner Plate.” We anchored to a sling wrapped around a secure rock and our second anchor was slung to a piton wedged in the wall. We tied two ropes together and two of us belayed each other across the traverse, setting pickets as we went. With a total of 130 meters of rope, we had about 15 meters to spare after anchoring the north end to a couple of wired nuts placed in cracks. Another fixed line got us through the “Bowling Alley” and we reached the summit after 7 hours of climbing. The weather was mild and sunny, but within minutes after getting back across the “Dinner Plate” and packing up the ropes and pickets, the weather changed. Winds picked up and the summits of all Three Sisters were encased in clouds. We made it back to base camp by 5:45, packed up our tents, and were back at Pole Creek Trailhead 15 hours after our climb began.

Members: Brian Hamilton, Danneille Harris, Rick Harris, Steve Kuhn. Nonmembers: Scott Chase, Brian Watson.

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