Matt and Joanne’s Page

June 19, 2005

Middle Sister

Filed under: Climbing — Matt Stamplis @ 12:00 pm

Middle Sister (10,056′) is the shortest of the Three Sisters. We liked this climb much more than South Sister, mostly because it was more interesting. There’s a little glacier travel and a steep snow pitch. And the usual spectacular views of the Cascades.

The only drawback is the long approach. You walk for miles before you even SEE the mountain. The first time we tried to climb Middle Sister (June 19, 2005) we did it the day after we summited South Sister. We ended up getting totally lost on the approach (the climbers trail branches off from the main trail shortly before the 3rd stream crossing…or was that after the 4th?? I still can’t remember!). In any case, we ended up a ways off route and ended up adding an extra mile or two on an already long approach.

It was already 2PM when we reached the Hayden Glacier. And we could see storm clouds in the distance. At this point, it is still a couple hours from the summit so it was pretty obvious we weren’t going to make it to the top. So we messed around on the glacier practicing some glacier travel skills. We watched some remarkable rock/snow avalanches thunder off the south face. I’d think twice (or three or four times) before trying a route up that face! After hanging out awhile, we headed down, content to try the peak another day.

Joanne, looking like a climbing goddess on the Hayden Glacier with the summit of Middle Sister behind here. The face behind her avalanched 3-4 times in the hour we were hanging out here. Joanne…exactly what knot is that you’ve tied??

We came back just over a year later, on the weekend of June 24-25, 2006 with a group of Mazamas, lead by Bill McLoughlin. Doing the climb in 2 days minimized the suffer-factor of the approach and made things more enjoyable. Oh yeah, just don’t leave any food in the camp…anywhere. The crows up here are big and aggressive. And smart. They will dig food out of the ground, knock things over, etc. We watched them fly away with one of our team member’s lunches.

Dude, this camping spot is nice! 100 yards from a running stream (at least in June). This is the last group of trees before the snowfields to the top.

Yummy, nice pictures of Middle Sister in the morning on our way to the summit. Although this was supposedly a heavy snow year, there was a lot less snow on the face of the mountain than the year before (which was a low snow year). Not sure how that adds up, but thats how it was (see the first picture on this page).

Taking a break at the top of the Hayden Glacier, before heading up the North Ridge to the summit.

Joanne doing that stupid peace-sign pose thing on the summit – yay 🙂 Someone needs to get this girl a new shirt. She’s wearing it in almost every picture on this website, it seems.


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