Ascent of South Sister on 2010-08-18

Climber: Rob Woodall

Others in Party:Petter Bjørstad -- Trip Report or GPS Track
Date:Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:South Sister
    Elevation:10358 ft / 3157 m

Ascent Trip Report

A nice half-day hike from the south. We climbed this 2 days after Sacajawea, with a travel day in between.

We initially took the wrong road west out of Bend. The key is to follow Century Road WSW from the roundabout at (coords tbc). Directions:- from US-87, junction 136, take BUS-97 (mile 0.0); mile 1.4 turn R off Bus-97; mile 2.6 turn R at T-junction; mile 3.0 turn L at roundabout (red bird sculpture); mile 3.4 roundabout - straight over; mile 4.0 roundabout - straight over; mile 4.4 roundabout - straight over; 30.0 turn L into Devils Lake trailhead car park.

We hung our NW Forest Pass in the windscreen and left the TH at 07:00. The trail starts by the toilets, crosses a stream then the road, then arrives at a self-serve permit station: we filled in a single permit for our 2-man team (free of charge).

The trail is well defined and signposted, fro the permit station initially zigzagging fairly steeply through woodland, then straight over a 4-way trail junction at a sandy saddle, then along a slightly undulating open ridge with the objective looming ahead. The tral then ascends fairly steeply. At 7686ft there is a cairn with a stake - keep R here. There are no other complications. Looking S, Mt Bachelor stands aloof, keeping a safe distance from the shapely sisters! At 8860ft is a small glacier lake: the trail turns L here and climbs a fairly loose cinder ridge, finally emerging at the crater rim. We turned L, taking the slightly longer route to the summit, with fine views N to Middle and South Sister; Jefferson's massive snow pyramid; Hood in the far distance. Passing the slightly lower W summit we arrived at the highpoint (very minor scrambling on the summit block), where we spent an hour taking in the view taking GPS measurements and enjoying the solitude.

We had passed 9 hikers on our way up and eventually the first of these arrived and we vacated the summit and headed down, first completing the small remaining part of the crater rim. There were many others ascending.-quite a novelty for us as we had seen no-one with any summit aspirations during the other Ultras we had bagged over the last week or so. Most seemed to be girls - maybe some Sisterly solidarity?

We made good progress on the initially steep descent; we jogged the lower smoother part of the trail, finishing the descent in 1h 30. We had enjoyed a lovely cool ascent, but the descent was quite warm and we were ready for a cool drink.

We drove back to Bend (my road map showed a shortcut across to Sisters but there was no obvious sign of it) then headed NW, via Sisters to Detroit, where we found a motel to relax before the next day's Jefferson climb.

Timings: Trailhead 07:00, glacier lake 09:00, crater rim 09:30, summit 09:45-10:45, trailhead 12:15
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:15114 ft / 4606 m
    Total Elevation Loss:250 ft / 75 m
    Round-Trip Distance:11.8 mi / 19 km
    Grade/Class:YDS 2
    Quality:9 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:7432 ft / 2265 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 7282 ft / 2220 m; Extra: 150 ft / 45m
    Loss on way in:150 ft / 45 m
    Distance:5.9 mi / 9.5 km
    Route:South route
    Start Trailhead:Devils Lake trailhead  3076 ft / 937 m
    Time:2 Hours 45 Minutes
Ascent (From Destination) Statistics
    Loss on way out:100 ft / 30 m
    Gain on way out:7682 ft / 2341 m
    Distance:5.9 mi / 9.5 km
    Route:South route
    End Trailhead:Devils Lake trailhead  17940 ft / 5468 m
    Time:1 Hours 30 Minutes

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