Sunday, July 22, 2007

South Sister on my Birthday

Today I drove out through Bend to Devil’s lake near Mt.
Bachelor to start my climb up South Sister in the beautiful Sisters
Wilderness. The weather had been cloudy
and rainy all week so I was hesitant about going but it is the last free day I
have for about 2 months due to the GSY-USA consulting job I have taken for the
rest of the summer.

I got
to the mountain around 11am and started hiking up the beautiful trail. In under a mile I found myself in open
meadows with wildflowers everywhere and alpine lakes all around. It was absolutely beautiful . In the distance I could see Broken TopPhotos_for_blog_025
behind me loomed Mt. Bachelor with streaks of snow still left on it from the
ski season. As I scrambled up the
footing became very loose, almost to point of sandy. It was all light weight ground up pumice left
over from previous eruptions ages ago. I
several snow fields left over from the winter on the way up. Finally I got up to an alpine lake and
followed a ridge above a glacier up to the summit bowl. It was amazing slowly climbing above the
height of jagged Broken top. Looking up
at the mountain you could see snow fields, glaciers, and various colored
volcanic rocks from yellow to orange to dark red.

When I
got to the top I was pretty tired and feeling the altitude because I 874116915_abe7919d1b_b
climbed to over 5,000 feet to get to 10,000 in just over 3 hours. It was beautiful out – 70 degrees, a little
breezy and sunny with a few clouds. On
the way up through the pulverized lava rock I could see and smell sulfur coming
out small vents in the side ofPhotos_for_blog_020 the mountain which along with the salts in the
area had attracted millions of butterflies. They were literally crossing my path in a clouds of wings. Look closely at the picture to see
them. At the top I had to walk around
the rim of
the caldera Photos_for_blog_021to get to the true summit. The caldera was filled with snow and a small
glacial lake lay in the middle of it. At
the summit there were even more butterflies! The views from the summit were amazing. Middle Sister, North Sister, Three Fingered Jack, the side of Jefferson
were all to the north while Broken top,
Bachelor, and Crater Lake lay off in
the distance to the south. ThePhotos_for_blog_027
colors of
the rocks at the top were amazing. I
stopped for a good hour to enjoy the views, take pictures, and scarf down the
Tupperware container of leftover bbq wings from the night before (one of the
best lunches I’ve had at the top of a mountain). After Photos_for_blog_022
hanging out and playing with some dogs
that made it to the summit I climbed down to the top of the glacier where I had
seen two guys go down on their butts in goretex pantsPhotos_for_blog_023
earlier. I took a deep breath thinking it was stupid
and then jumped into their ass-tracks and skied down their tracks standing up
keeping my balance with my Photos_for_blog_024
ski poles. Other than falling once briefly on my butt I made it all the way down
the face of the glacier standing up in my leather Asolo boots much to thePhotos_for_blog_028
amazement of several parties below who thought I was nuts and told me so J. From there I could see the valley below and
where a
large lava field had sprouted from Photos_for_blog_029
the earth hundreds of years
ago. It was an easy decent from there
and before I headed home I took a couple minutes to soak my sore feet in an ice
cold stream at the base of the mountain. 12 miles in 7 very wonderful, beautiful, relaxing hours on my
birthday. Definitely one of my favorite

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