AT 10,358 feet, South Sister is the third tallest peak in Oregon.
As the group of COCC and OSU-Cascades students pushed ever closer towards the summit of South Sister, heavy, moist clouds enveloped us. At any given moment visibility might be a few feet or a few miles.
Each time the clouds lifted it seemed that they had deposited us nearer our destination. Although the conditions were less than ideal, the goal of the trip was not only to have fun and meet new, like-minded friends, but to reach the fifth-highest point in the state. And so, sniffling and tired in the cold, thin air, we pushed on.
Nearing the turnaround time of 1p.m., we knew we were getting close but still had some ground to cover.The group split and five pushed on ahead. By 12:45 the lead group had reached the false summit, a point on the mountain that appears from below to be the top, but in reality is still slightly below the true summit. The view from here would generally be extraordinary, except for once again we found ourselves engulfed by a heavy, hungry cloud.
Having never been to the top before, we had a decision to make: left or right? We chose left. After about five minutes of scrambling we found ourselves at a dead end. No summit. After backtracking, we took the path to the right. As the clouds lifted for a moment the true summit became barely visible slightly above. Almost 1 p.m. and we are close. The turnaround time can be pushed a little, but even pushing farther till 1:05 instead of 1 means we’ll be at least 10 minutes behind. Finally, after a few more minutes of scrambling up ice covered rocks, we reached the true summit at 1:03. After a few high-fives and a photo, we took off.
Once we had returned to the safety and relative comfort of a slightly lower elevation, the group stopped for a break and a bite. After a short, delicious feast of smoked salmon and other snacks, we continued downward towards the van. A great way to start the year with Cascades Adventures.
Trips are free and open to COCC and OSU students, staff, and faculty! Transportation is provided. Cascades Adventures even has
some of your gear covered, like 0 degree down sleeping bags. Usually all you need to cover is your food!
Info on upcoming trips:
osucascades.edu/cascades-adventures or Cascades Adventures on Facebook!
Moonlight Canoeing Overnight on Sparks Lake- Thursday & Friday Oct.13-14 Contact Al at Alexandra.Hutto@gmail.com *signup
deadline is the 12th!*
Overnight Rafting on the Lower Deschutes- Saturday & Sunday Oct.22-23
Mountaineering Workshop Overnight-Saturday & Sunday Oct.29-30. **filling fast, but get on the waitlist!*
Contact Jeff at jeffrey@firstname.lastname@example.org