Middle Sister, Hayden Glacier, July 21-22, 2012

On July 20, 2012 our enthusiastic party of 10 (9 Chemeketans and 1 Mazama) summited Middle Sister via the N Ridge/ Hayden Glacier route.  We enjoyed excellent climbing weather (not too hot/ no thunderstorms) and a cohesive and capable climb team that incuded:
  1. Mike Niemeyer (leader)
  2. Mason Smith (assistant)
  3. Justin Clark (assistant)
  4. Megan Hogland
  5. Mike Pennington
  6. Brett Milliken
  7. Bryan Brenneman
  8. Mark Olson
  9. Meryl Lipman
  10. Michael Gurley

We hike in from the Pole Creek trailhead, stopping for our first water break at Soap Creek.

At about 6,700' and the usua camp spot at timberline, we make the decision to head for the higher camp at 8,000'
Our campsite at 8,000' at the foot of the Hayden glacier (see crevases above).  Camping on snow is preferred from a Wilderness impact standpoint.  We were lucky to find a pond at the base of the glacier so we didn't have to melt snow for water.  As expected the site was windy.

We push off at 3:30 am from our high camp

The technical portion of the climb - pickets set for protection
Transitioning from glacier travel to scramble up N ridge above the Hayden glacier.
Once on the summit the climbers set Justin down, having carried him to the summit from base camp.  Not really, but he is Mr laid back, this his 2nd Middle Sister summit..   


Preparing to descend from the summit
Link to Pictures by Mike Pennington

Link to pictures from Mike Gurley


 July 21-22, 2012 Chemeketan club climb of Middle Sister via the Hayden Glacier and north ridge route. (Crux pitch shown below)

UPDATE FOR JULY 20, 2012 - Please note that the Saturday start times have been moved up to 7 AM for the drive to Sisters (the original schedule didn't allow quite enough time for the Salem - Sisters drive.)  It will be a warm hike into camp Saturday - you are welcome to wear shorts for that part of the trip. Don't forget sunglasses, sunscreen and bug juice.  A sun hat is helpful for this and for the glacier descent on sunday. 

UPDATE FOR 7/14/2012 - Reminder that we have a pre-climb meeting at the Chemekeden on Wed July 18 at 6:00 PM.  Please bring your gear to that meeting.  We will figure out tents, stoves and carpooling and do some skills review including: Passing through pickets and tying into the rope with your harness and prussik loops.  (It's important that you can do perform these tasks quickly and efficiently.)  I'll also discuss a plan B variation on the climb schedule.  Depending on the weather, group's abilities and how the hike-in goes we might proceed higher and camp at 8,000' at the edge of the Hayden glacier.  This has the advantage of an easier summit day on Sunday.  Disadvantages are lack of running water (we will likely need to melt snow for water) more limited sites for tents (we may need to shovel-out some spots in the snow) and greater exposure to wind and thunderstorms. Whether we go plan A or B we likely will be camping on snow given recent reports from other climbers.   A large pot or two and some extra hydration bladders will be helpful for melting snow and storing additional water if we do camp higher.


Wednesday July 18, 6:00 pm
Pre-climb meeting at the Chemekaden (State Street above Cooks stationary) Please bring your gear.

Saturday July 21
7:00 AM -Silverton folks leave from Mike's house.
7:00 AM Carpool leaves from Salem State Motorpool (Airport road) headed to Sisters.
9:15 AM short coffee and restroom stop in Sisters. Drive to trailhead.
9:30 AM - Leave Sisters for the Trailhead.
10:00 AM - Arrive at trailhead, gear up.
10:35 AM -Depart Pole Creek Spring Trail Head (5300’/0.0 miles)
11:30 AM -Green Lakes Trail junction (Tr 4070) (5900’/1.4 miles).
11:50 AM -Lunch break at Soap Creek ... Chambers Lakes Trail Jct.(Tr 4074) (5760’/1.9 miles)
12:45 PM -Climbers Trail junction (3.7 miles)
2:30 PM -Arrive at 6800’ camp on Squaw Creek below Hayden Glacier. or, alternatively
4:00 PM [OPTIONAL PLAN B] Arrive at 8,000' camp just below Hayden glacier.  As time, and conditions, allow we will be practicing rope team travel, passing through pickets and crevasse rescue after we set up camp.  If we take the high camp we will need to take time to melt snow for water.

Sunday July 22 (Schedule assumes we camp at 6,900')
3:00 AM -Wake up.
3:30 AM -Start climb
9:30 AM -Arrive at summit. (10047')
10:00AM -Depart summit.
12:45 PM -Arrive at 6800’ camp on Squaw Creek.
1:30 PM -Depart 6800’ camp on Squaw Creek.
4:15 PM -Arrive at Pole Creek Spring Trail Head (5300’).
5:15 PM -Dinner in sisters.
6:30 PM -Depart Sisters.
8:15 PM -Arrive in Salem.
Roster (Note that inclusion on the roster is not a guaranteed spot on this climb.  climbers must demonstrate prior to the climb that they are in good physical condition for an alpine climb and have the requisite skills and equipment.)
  1. Mike Niemeyer (leader)
  2. Mason Smith (assistant)
  3. Justin Clark (assistant)
  4. Megan Hogland
  5. Mike Pennington
  6. Brett Milliken
  7. Bryan Brenneman
  8. Mark Olson 
  9. Meryl Lipman
  10. Michael Gurley

  1. Honda Element: Mike P; Megan, Justin, and Meryl
  2. Mike N. and Brett - Brett's corolla
  3. Mason and Bryan
  4. Mark and  Mike G
Driving directions: Drive east on highway 22 to Sisters. Just before you get into Sisters, turn Right onto Hwy. 242.To get to the Pole Creek trail head: travel 1.5 miles west of Sisters, OR on Hwy 242, turn South, Left, on Forest Service road 15 which is paved at first, but the pavement soon turns into washboard gravel. Follow the well traveled forks (generally to the right) for the first few miles. At 7.1 miles you'll reach a "Y" intersection. Stay left at this junction (following the signs to Pole Creek), and follow the road to its end just past milepost 10 at the parking area for the Pole Creek Trailhead. There is a pit toilet at the trail head but no water. Drivers: You will need a Northwest Forest pass to park at the trailhead - these can be purchased from a machine at the trailhead.

Participant responsibility: It is each participant's responsibility to be in good physical shape and have the skills and equipment to participate safely in this climb. A club release will be circulated at the trailhead for each participant to sign.

Skills needed: Passing through pickets on a rope team; tying/using prussiks on rope for crevasse self-rescue; ice-axe self arrest; rope team travel.
Group Gear: The following will be distributed at the trailhead and redistributed periodically during the trip: Ropes; Pickets; one bivy sack and one sleeping bag will be carried by the party on summit day;
Emergencies: In addition to the personal gear and group gear (above) the leader will be carrying a SPOT satellite rescue beacon, GPS and cell phone (503-910-9726.) I will also be sending occasional satellite "check-in" messages to this blog during the trip. In the event of an emergency, I will send out a 911 signal from this device. Track our progress real-time at this link. Local Emergency Contacts: Emergency Contact Information: 911; Central Oregon Emergency Dispatch Center 541-416-6800; Deschutes National Forest, Sisters Ranger District: 541-549-7700.
Route topos courtesy of the Mazamas: Middle Sister Route and Middle Sister approach

Links to recent middle sister climbs: