Ascent of Middle Sister on 2013-07-04

Climber: Daryn Dodge

Others in Party:Kathy Rich
Date:Thursday, July 4, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Middle Sister
    Elevation:10047 ft / 3062 m

Ascent Trip Report

Starting in the afternoon from the Obsidian trailhead, we headed SW 3.5 miles to a trail junction and turned left where we would hit the PCT in about a mile. We had occasional snow patches on the trail up to this point, but within a quarter mile we were in pretty solid snow cover. The snow was consolidated and fairly easy to walk over. We could not spot the junction with the PCT as it was still under snow. We found a campsite among a group of trees that was free of snow about 5 miles from the trailhead.

In the morning we continued towards the peak only half a mile before putting crampons on and pulling out the ice ax. We chose snow slopes that were 35 degrees or less angling up towards the peak. Just north of the Renfrew Glacier we scrambled onto a snow free ridge and followed this to the main ridge separating North and South Sister. A couple hundred feet from the top Kathy and I needed to cross about 200 feet of snow that was about 40-45 degrees. Putting on the crampons again we were able to cross this patch putting in a pretty good boot track.

The summit was reached in about 4 hrs. We had amazing views of several Cascade peaks all around us. We chose to descend almost the entire length of the Renfrew Glacier getting in a few fast glissades on the way down. Back at camp, Kathy and I packed up and headed for the trailhead getting there somewhere around 2 pm. Middle Sister was a wonderful snow climb...probably the only good snow climb I'll get in this year due to the poor snow pack. It was now off to Mt. St. Helens to get our permit for that climb before the office closed at 9 pm. We made it with an hour to spare!
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:5597 ft / 1705 m
    Elevation Loss:5597 ft / 1705 m
    Distance:17 mi / 27.4 km
    Grade/Class:Class 2-3
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Snow on Ground, Scramble, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Tent Camp
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:5447 ft / 1660 m
    Extra Loss:150 ft / 45 m
    Distance:8.5 mi / 13.7 km
    Route:NW slopes
    Trailhead:Obsidian Trailhead off Hwy 242  4750 ft / 1447 m
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:5447 ft / 1660 m
    Extra Gain:150 ft / 45 m
    Distance:8.5 mi / 13.7 km
    Route:SE slopes
    Trailhead:Obsidian Trailhead off Hwy 242  4750 ft / 1447 m

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