Sunday, June 29, 2014

South Sister - 6/29/14

South Sister with Hikers on Phase 3 of Approach

View of North Ridge from Phase 4 of Hike

Twelve hikers climbed South Sister this morning. All reports were that it was a great hike! Laszlo and Anthony offered a few photos and Mike OC wrote a few words. The hikers started from the Lower Bristlecone trailhead off of Lee Canyon Highway due to the ongoing construction in the Old Mill Picnic Area. The hike can be described in four phases.

Phase 1 : Leaving the Lower Bristlecone trailhead, the hike starts up the forest road of Lower Bristlecone but makes a right turn at the manhole cover to begin the crossover to the regular trail above the adjacent picnic area. After connecting with the South Sister Trail, phase 1 leads the hikers up next to a wash that becomes more and more steep as the climb progresses until the South Sister Saddle is reached.

Climbing the Trail to the Saddle in Phase 1 of Hike
Phase 2 : After a brief rest at the saddle, the route turns to the right and balances on the ridge all the way up to the intermediary ridge above. This is where South Sister appears across a green canyon.

Resting at the Top of Phase 4 before the Scramble to the Summit

Phase 3 : The hike continues along this intermediary ridge to the right. There is a small trail, here, that undulates along the rocky terrain. It is clear that you have reached the end of Phase 3 when a loose rocky ascent stares at you in your face!

Phase 4 : The loose rocky ascent staring at you in your face!

Although this last phase of the hike is a little challenging, it is definitely the most beautiful. It gets over quickly enough and then there is a small scramble up to the crown of the summit. On the summit, there are views for 360 degrees that include Mt. Charleston, Lee Canyon and, closer, North Sister and Mack's Peak.

Scrambling to the Crown Summit
All of today's dirty dozen reached the peak. Mike's rendition of the same song follows:

View of Lee Canyon from South Sister Summit

Twelve mountaineering apostles attended services on the final Sunday in June atop South Sister. At 10,175 feet above sea level. A third of the group made the ultimate sacrifice--blood! Another third took the Class 3, backdoor descent from the summit. All 12 returned safely to Lower Bristlecone in well under four hours. And no one got lost! Can I get an 'Amen' here?

And just who were these devout dozen? There was Don Caldwell, Helmut DeCandia, Mickey Schleicher, Scott Hardy, Tim Borem, Anthony Rayner, László Herédy, Dennis Rohne & Carl Weller.  And a pair of Steve's, Allen & Newell. And moi.

Vitals:  12 pious trekkers, 5.2 miles, 2.1k vertical, 3.7 hours.

The Difficult Phase 4 Descent

Welcome Back, Tim!

The Detoured Route due to Construction on Old Mill Picnic Area

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