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Ascent of Three Sisters-Middle Peak on 2018-12-02

Climber: William Musser

Date:Sunday, December 2, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Three Sisters-Middle Peak
    Location:USA-Colorado
    Elevation:7840 ft / 2389 m

Ascent Trip Report

Great day of scrambling. With partner Dan, we took every exposed scramble route on 3 of the 4 peaks we could find and tried a few new routes we had never tired before. I was excited today as I have climbed this particular sister peak 3 to 4 different routes of class 3 to class 3+ but there are more exposed more technical routes from the west side (near the large boulder span-tunnel) that I have given up on twice before. I have slid over to a 3/3+ route in the past that has less technical footing. This challenging route is a climb that ends up with an interesting steep slab climb where with hiking boots you are best to hold your traction by climbing a 6 inch wide fracture by wedging your feet and safely make the flat ledge above for your final push. At this ledge, I have reached several time before but both times chickened out based on the technical complexity of the final ascent and down-climbed the crack fracture.

Today, with Dan and I spotting each other, we climbed the final crux move successfully. The exposure is not too bad here but the final fracture is very vertical (80 to 85 degrees) and requires some strong hand wedges/pulls and tricky footing for about 12 feet (I would rate this as either a hard class 4 or easy calls 5) and then it eases up into class 3/3+ before an easy class 3 finish. I was most pleased to finally get this route down. Thanks Dan for your spotting and support once again pushing my limits.

On the way down, I treated Dan to the very steep slab climb below the peaks on the est side (way off trail down near all the spooky Blair Witch Project huts) and Dan once again shocked me how comfortable he is doing a steep class 4 slab climb. I saw a fun class 3 line and was ready to do when Dan, of course, selected a far more challenging class 4 line with a good 70 feet of steep rise and most of it (say 50 feet) very exposed where if you slip, you tumble to your death. Dan moved up it like a cat. With hesitation, I followed him as long as I felt comfortable, but at one point the exposure was unnerving and I slid over into an small erosion feature which was a bit less steep but still challenging and exposed. Those dang steep slab climbs concern me far more than physically challenging vertical climbs in the 4/5.0 range were you are basically facing the rock and climbing a difficult puzzle. The open wide space, total reliance on boot traction, and unnerving views of a potential long tumble are by far more challenging for me and knock down my confidence on rock!
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:200 ft / 60 m
    Total Elevation Loss:125 ft / 37 m
    Round-Trip Distance:1.1 mi / 1.8 km
    Grade/Class:2+,3,3+,4 and some e
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack, Scramble, Exposed Scramble, Rock Climb
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:100 ft / 30 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 75 ft / 23 m; Extra: 25 ft / 7m
    Loss on way in:25 ft / 7 m
    Distance:0.3 mi / 0.5 km
    Route:scrambles to west crack and class 5 exit (first ti
    Start Trailhead:saddle between peaks  7765 ft / 2366 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:100 ft / 30 m
    Gain on way out:100 ft / 30 m
    Distance:0.8 mi / 1.3 km
    Route:exposed scrambles down to major middle slab then b
    End Trailhead:parking  
Ascent Part of Trip: Evergreen-14

Complete Trip Sequence:
OrderPeak/PointDateGain
1Peak 80222018-12-02 a392 ft / 119 m
2The Brother2018-12-02 b370 ft / 113 m
4Three Sisters-Middle Peak2018-12-02 d200 ft / 61 m
Total Trip Gain: 962 ft / 293 m    Total Trip Loss: 215 ft / 65 m



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