Ascent of South Sister on 2014-07-03

Climber: Rob Woodall

Others in Party:Alan Bernier
Date:Thursday, July 3, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:South Sister
    Elevation:10358 ft / 3157 m

Ascent Trip Report

We climb this peak in the afternoon, after Mount Bachelor. My 2nd ascent (but first for Alan) and very different from my Aug 2010 ascent: much of the route is covered with soft snow.

We park in the pull-out where the trail crosses the road, and complete a self-service permit at the Devil's Lake trailhead N44.03768 W121.76422, 1684m. We meet someone who had turned back from the summit through lack of ice axe, so we take ours, although the snow turns out to be pretty benign. We also take crampons but don't use them.

The trail is covered in snow after the first 15mins but pretty easy to follow the boot trail thru the snow. Arriving at the plateau the next mile or so to the foot of the peak is covered in soft snow but we head for the tree covered ridge and a boot trail appears. We keep to the ridge awhile then get off left onto a big 25° snow slope with lots of boot prints. We meet a couple who turned back below the crater, apparently didn't like the loose trail...

At top of snow slope we put on wind proofs and follow the obvious trail to crater rim: one small slightly icy snow slope but otherwise snow free. Loose in parts: upper section is pretty soul-destroying. Once at false summit we follow obvious boot trail in snow then rocky crater rim to summit (N44.10348 W121.76923, 3159m, outcrop/pinnacle).

Cold 40mph wind at summit so we don't stay long. We find a USGS reference marker but the trig itself seems to be missing.

Quickly down: upper loose section a little unpleasant but soon improves. We run the long snow slope which gets us to the plateau in a few minutes. Route to top of trail descent not obvious: my outward GPS track is useful a couple of times. Trail down is easily followed.

Round trip time of 5h35 is nearly an hour slower than my Aug 2010 time with Petter Bjorstad: that snowy plateau really slows progress. Nice ascent though and the snow enhances the scenery. Time to summit 3h35.

We head south towards Mount Eddy, although Odell Butte turns out to be our next summit, next morning.

South Sister photo album
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:4830 ft / 1472 m
    Total Elevation Loss:4830 ft / 1472 m
    Round-Trip Distance:10.9 mi / 17.5 km
    Grade/Class:YDS 2
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Open Country, Snow Climb
    Weather:Pleasant, Windy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:4830 ft / 1472 m
    Distance:5.5 mi / 8.9 km
    Route:South ridge
    Start Trailhead:Devils Lake  5528 ft / 1684 m
    Time:3 Hours 35 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:4830 ft / 1472 m
    Distance:5.4 mi / 8.7 km
    Route:South ridge
    End Trailhead:Devils Lake  5528 ft / 1684 m
    Time:1 Hours 50 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Rob Woodall
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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