Ascent of Middle Sister on 2012-08-20

Climber: Vic Hanson

Others in Party:I didn't see anyone else on the mountain
but talked to a couple who headed up the trail the afternoon before. They may have been ahead of me but never saw them on the trail.
Date:Monday, August 20, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Middle Sister
    Elevation:10047 ft / 3062 m

Ascent Trip Report

Was awakened about 6:00 at the trail head this morning by some eager hikers getting ready to hike up the trail. Just before I left at 8:30 to climb Middle Sister, a para medic truck came rushing up and got their gear ready to head up for a hiker emergency on the trail. A helicopter was also circling overhead trying to locate them. About 15 min. later when I reached them there was a covered body on the trail. One of those hikers stumbled and fell on the trail, and in spite of immediate CPR never regained pulse or breathing. No head injury, so stroke or heart attack was suspected cause of death. With nothing I could do to help, I gave my condolences to the friends and continued up the trail. After first missing the climber's trail turn off, I lost track of the trail under the snow. In spite of the many climbers who went up yesterday, their tracks coming down had already disappeared in the melting snow. The route description was confusing to me and I went up the wrong gully and ridge, which I realized when I reached a rock strewn and crevasse filled glacier, below a high and steep rock wall! I angled lower and crossed the glacier safely to the correct ridge and made the slow steep climb to the summit, having the mountain to myself on a Monday. Coming down I tried to follow the correct route but again lost it trying to get back to the climber's trail. I checked the track the gps app on my tablet was making and was able to easily head cross country to rejoin the trail, however I soon realized I didn't have my trekking poles anymore! I followed the gps track back to where I stopped to get it out of my pack and there were my poles! After losing about an hour I was back on the trail, and reached the trail head 10 hr 34 min and 19.4 miles later.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:4747 ft / 1447 m
    Elevation Loss:4747 ft / 1447 m
    Distance:19.4 mi / 31.2 km
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Snow on Ground, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Partly Cloudy
Cleared up by the afternoon
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:4747 ft / 1447 m
    Distance:8.7 mi / 14 km
    Route:Pole Creek, Chambers Lakes and climbers trail
    Trailhead:Pole Creek TH  5300 ft / 1615 m
    Time Up:5 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:4747 ft / 1447 m
    Distance:10.7 mi / 17.2 km
    Route:Pole Creek, Chambers Lakes and climbers trail
    Trailhead:Pole Creek TH  5300 ft / 1615 m
    Time Down:5 Hours 4 Minutes

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