South Sister and Middle Sister

Tomorrow is my first day of residency (and my birthday) and I still have a few things to get ready, so this post will be hasty.

My route: ascent in red, descent in blue

My route: ascent in red, descent in blue

Trent was still having a lot of ankle pain, so he stayed back to explore the Las Vegas Strip while I drove up to the Spring Mountains for a short solo ascent of South Sister (approx 10,150′) and Middle Sister (10,197′).

South Sister from the parking area

South Sister from the parking area

Middle Sister (left) and South Sister (right) from ridge to the west

Middle Sister (left) and South Sister (right) from ridge to the west

After finding a parking spot, I loaded my pack and hiked west for about a kilometer before leaving the trail and heading up the gradual, wooded slope. I continued uphill (north) for about another kilometer, angling slightly west along the way, up and over a small ridge before following a reentrant up to the larger ridge just west of the peaks.

Charleston Peak (left) from the top of South Sister

Charleston Peak (left) from the top of South Sister

From the ridge, it was easy class 2 up loose scree to reach the South Sister. I then headed back down into a small valley before climbing Middle Sister. This required one short class 3 climb – a 20 foot chimney with plenty of solid handholds.

Class 3 chimney

Class 3 chimney

From the top of the chimney, a fun little knife edge continued another 100 feet or so to the true summit. It was plenty wide, without much exposure, but offered sweeping views of the surrounding peaks.

Knife Edge on Middle Sister, with Fletcher Peak visible far left and North Sister visible far right

Knife Edge on Middle Sister, with Macks Peak visible far left and North Sister visible far right

More knife edge north of the summit

More knife edge north of the summit

The knife edge continued north of the true summit, and I followed it for another couple hundred feet before the exposure forced me to double back. I was entertaining thoughts of going for North Sister off in the distance, so I climbed back down the chimney and started sidesloping along the eastern side of Middle Sister. That lasted about 10 minutes before the terrain became too steep and I was once again forced to double back. I’m confident the route would have been straightforward had I taken a more conservative route, but after my two failed attempts at short-cutting I decided to head back to the car.

Cliffs on Middle Sister

Cliffs on Middle Sister

About where I turned back, after trying to shortcut around the east side of Middle Sister

About where I turned back, after trying to shortcut around the east side of Middle Sister; you can see North Sister in the distance

On the way back down, I hit a high point (~9750′) on the ridge to get a few more pictures. I then followed the reentrant all the way back down to the trail (blue line on the map above…which turned out to be the simpler and easier route, for future reference).

Another view of Charleston Peak, from near the high point

Another view of Charleston Peak, from near the high point

The round trip took a little under 3 hours. It was still mid-afternoon, so Trent and I did some more exploring in Vegas before catching our overnight flight back to Milwaukee. I also turned $12.00 into $22.50 playing roulette, which basically paid for gas & parking for this hike. Probably the first and last time I gamble, so I can now retire a winner.

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Published in: on June 15, 2016 at 8:10 pm  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Have a happy birthday tomorrow Matt! Hope your first day of residency goes well. Love, Dad

  2. Matt, I’m glad you had the good judgment to turn back in some of the situations you found yourself! 🙂 Happy 27th B/D today!! (We’ll be expecting a report on your first day and first week of emergency room residency.)
    Love, G’pa R.

  3. Matt, we just cant say how proud we are of you! Happy B’day! Grammy R.


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