|View from Highway 27 looking northwest to the South Sister on July 28, 2015, the day of my climb.|
I made quick work of Oregon's South Sister, the state's third highest peak at 10,358 feet (Mt. Hood is king followed by Mt. Jefferson). There is an excellent well-used trail that climbs 5,000 feet over 6 miles from the Devils Lake trail head to the volcano's cratered summit. Since this was a family vacation and we had much planned to see and do in Bend, I got going early and was back to our hotel by 11:30 am. This was my first climb in the Cascades, and I'm afraid I might be hooked.
|For the first couple of miles, the trail winds up through dense forest.|
|A rare flat section in a meadow near Devils Lake.|
|Trail junction. Right leads to Moraine Lake. The tree canopy thins dramatically as you attain the ridge above the lake.|
|Steep, sandy trail above Moraine Lake.|
|Moraine Lake. 9,065-foot Mt. Bachelor, home to a popular ski resort, in the distance.|
|Still a lot of vertical ahead.|
|Terminal Moraine Pool below the Lewis Glacier.|
|The South Sister conga line makes its way up the mountain. This is a very popular hike, although many don't make it past the Terminal Moraine, do to the altitude and steep scree slopes ahead.|
|Final 1,000-foot push to the top. I'm about to start the South Sister's infamous 2-step-forward-big-slide-back scree section. (With nearly bald tread on my running shoes! This is not recommended)|
|Looking down to the Terminal Moraine Pool.|
|Once on the crater rim, you have the choice to either run around the rim or cross a snow field to get to the true summit on the opposite side. I opted to rim run on the approach and then traverse the snow field on the return trip.|
|Nice morning view of nearby Broken Top (9,175 feet) from South Sister's eastern rim.|
|Running along the crater's edge.|
|I got lucky, as there were yet no fires burning in the Northwest to muck up my views from the top.|
|The Chambers Lakes on the northern flanks of South Sister.|
|Volcano country. The closest is the 10,085-foot North Sister. Next is Mt. Washington at 7794 ft, followed by Three Fingered Jack at 7841 ft, and finally in the far distance, Mt. Jefferson.|
|Snow field route across the summit crater. The depression ahead of me and to the right is normally where Teardrop Pool, Oregon's highest lake, rests, but it had not yet made an appearance this early in the season.|
Round trip time was just under 5 hours at a steady pace. With the huge vertical and tripod setups for photos, it was 3.5 hours on the ascent. I ran the entire descent, with fewer photos and it only took 1.5 hours. I can't recommend this climb enough if you happen the be in the Bend area.
Several times, as we toured through Northern California, and southern Oregon, I could see Mt. Shasta dominating the skyline. I think this will be the next volcano climb on the to-do list.