ViewVoting details

South Sister | September 2021

N7KOM's picture
Voice Cellular Coverage: 
Decent, workable
Data Cellular Coverage: 
Spotty, may not work at all
Cellular Provider: 
APRS Coverage: 
Don't know

9/25/2021 had a favorable weather forecast and also happened to line up with the first weekend where permits are no longer required. Casey (non-ham) drove out from Eugene and met me at the Devils Lake trailhead at 10pm (9/24). We slept a couple hours and started the climb at 2:10am. 

The trail out of Devils Lake and up into Three Sisters Wilderness is well traveled and we made good time in the dark with our headlamps. Once out off the trees the 3/4 moon added to our illumination up the mountain. The moraine trail is packed and it is a great section of trail to push the gas a bit before the scree climb. 

Shoulder season weather can be a little weird. It was warm, maybe even hot, but the wind was cold and cutting. Thus we were both hot and cold at once during our climb. 

We weren't sure how much snow would be on the mountain today. There was a snow storm the previous weekend, but a hot week had hopefully melted it out. Still we had crampons and ice axes in case we excountered snow or ice on our night hike. What little snow we found was not connected much and could be avoided in the braiding trails up the scree. Even so, the scree is slippery and steep. We used treking poles and I would definetly recommend them here. 

After gaining the saddle, we followed the trail on to the summit crater. Still in the dark, but the beginnings of alpenglow could be seen to the east. The final push to the summit crater is steep, but the trail shoals a bit coming over the top. We followed the trail around the crater to the summit proper. 

We made summit at around 6:25 and chatted with some of the other cold hikers while waiting for sunrise. I got a spot out and started making calls on my Yaesu FT-60r just before the sun came up. After a couple contacts I put the radio down and took photos of the sunrise.

The winds were sustained 20-30mph with gusts up to 40mph. I had been looking forward to operating HF from the top, but with winds that strong, I didn't want to try to get my HF antenna up. I sent out a fresh spot and got some more calls out. QSOs started rolling in including a S2S with K7AHR on Calamity Peak (W7W/LC-063). 

While I was playing radio, Casey set up a wind break and boiled us some water for coffee. This warmed us and allowed us to stay on summit a bit longer. I ended with 8 QSOs on 2 meters and lots a beautiful photos of the mountains. 

The wind was not dying down, so we packed up and headed down the mountain. Casey was motivated to get back to Eugene as close to noon as possible so we set a pretty good pace on the way down. Lots of hikers were on the way up and the parking lot was FULL FULL FULL by the time we reached the cars just after 10am. 

Middle and North Sister from the South Sister summit
Broken Top and a rising sun
Melted out summit crater
South Sister true summit
Looking back up the steep scree field.
Hiking down the scree field