Ascent of Middle Sister on 2018-07-07

Climber: Andrew Kirmse

Others in Party:Dean Gaudet
Kathy Rich
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Saturday, July 7, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Hi-Clearance Vehicle
Peak:Middle Sister
    Elevation:10854 ft / 3308 m

Ascent Trip Report

We piled into Dean’s car and took the rocky 4WD forest service road 050E to its end at a fenced corral. It was 83 degrees at 8:30 am. In the first 1.5 miles we gained 1000 feet along a dusty ATV trail. Several dirt bikes passed us on their way out, and we saw many more later along this route. At this point we turned left and headed up through desert scrub in the direction of East Sister, clearly visible 1800 feet above us. Near the top the slope is sandy scree, tedious to climb. Once on the ridge, the remaining 400 feet or so was a bit easier, mostly among trees and larger rocks.

Now we had to climb down to the saddle with Middle Sister. For the first few hundred feet we were able to stay on a rocky ridge, bypassing several gendarmes, but then it was time to dive into the brush. By following previous climbers’ GPS tracks we were able to find some clearings that made the descent tolerable. Coming down through the brush is infinitely preferable to climbing in the opposite direction. Now it was another 1200 feet up to Middle Sister. The lower part again had some brush, mostly avoidable by staying on rocks. Above this, the slope was a mix of trees, sand, and scree, all easier to climb than East Sister had been.

Three hundred feet below the summit we traversed left to find the Lyon, NV county high point. The state border is marked with a large cairn with a tall stick in the middle. Right next to it is a 10-foot high rock pile with the register, making the high point not truly a liner because it is just inside Nevada. Above us we saw a similar cairn, which also contained a register, placed in 1997. However, this marks the old Von Schmidt line, which is not the border in this area (for more information, see

We found two registers on the top of Middle Sister, one in a glass jar, and one in a plastic ammo can. On our return we found a nice sandy slope to plunge step down back into the scrub, and finally back to the original ATV trail. It was about 90 degrees at the car. The whole climb involved 4500 feet of gain in only 7.5 miles.
Click on photo for original larger-size version.
Middle Sister from the descent from East Sister (2018-07-07). Photo by Andrew Kirmse.
Click here for larger-size photo.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:4554 ft / 1388 m
    Total Elevation Loss:1200 ft / 365 m
    Route Conditions:
Open Country, Bushwhack
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:4554 ft / 1388 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 3354 ft / 1022 m; Extra: 1200 ft / 365m
    Loss on way in:1200 ft / 365 m
    Distance:7.5 mi / 12.1 km
    Start Trailhead:7500 ft / 2286 m
Descent Statistics
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Andrew Kirmse
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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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