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Three Sisters Wilderness
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Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Three Sisters Wilderness on 10/24/2007 22:02:44 MDT Print View

I completed my 4 day hike in the Three Sisters Wilderness in Oregon's Cascades, but didn't make it all of the way around the loop due to logistical issues. I did ~46.5 miles in four days. The weather forecast called for 75F/45F and sunny weather, but we got 60F/35F and overcast, so we didn't get the great 50 mile views but we still enjoyed the lava flows, cinder fields, hemlock forests, rainbows, glaciers, and occasional views of peak or two. Andrew Skurka mentioned on his podcast that he thought this section of his Great Western Loop that this was the highlight of his trip up to that point.

I let my brother, who is at the lighter end of a traditional backpacker, carry my pack while I carrier his REI "Ultralight" pack for several miles. Although I'm not sure if I converted him to a true UL hiker, he did appreciate some of the options. We slepted under my Oware 8x10 Silnylon tarp, used Aqua Mira, and cooked with my brand new Caldera Cone. I was plenty warm with my Oware Bivy and Jacks R Better No Snivler quilt. I think I could have left my Mountain Hardwear down jacket at home and used my No Snivler around camp, but ti did make an awfully nice pillow.

I put my photos on flickr. You can get the captions by clicking on the center of the photo. While you are in flickr, you can search for some really good photos by better photographers, who have better cameras than me. Here's the link and a few photos from the trip.

(how do you make an embedded link??)


Alpenglow on North Sister

Tom & Rich with Mt Washington

Campsite at Soap Creek

Edited by TomClark on 10/26/2007 21:28:54 MDT.

Lance Marshall
(Lancem) - F - MLife

Locale: Oregon
Nice report and how to link. on 10/25/2007 00:14:41 MDT Print View

Thanks for the report. I live in western Oregon and look forward to making a similar trip.

Here is a link to how to make a link.

Edited by Lancem on 10/25/2007 00:27:24 MDT.

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Thanks on 10/26/2007 21:31:49 MDT Print View

Thanks for the help! The Three Sisters is great place nd my photos don't do it justice. Check out Andrew's Skurka's photos and videos of it at his website. If he can get so excited about his ~30 mile hike through the area after his thousands of miles of hiking elsewhere, you know it must be good.

Dylan Taylor
(nevadas) - F

Locale: California Coast
amazing loop on 10/26/2007 22:56:59 MDT Print View

this is a great loop. i did it a few summers ago and it was amazing. i enjoyed the west side the most with the tremendous views up to the middle and south sister and all the wildflowers (i did the trip early summer). the east side was very dry, even in that season. and hiking thru some of that gravel was reminiscent of hiking on a beach, sans the ocean. then the south portion of the loop had that crazy volcanic portion that i've never seen anything like in the sierra nevadas on that scale. wasn't that sweet?

anyway, cheers!

i want to go back and do the west side, hiking in from north then summit the middle and south sister. from what i hear, that are only like class 2 scrambles. i will have to get a cool ul ice axe, like ryan's on the cover of the "bible"... just in case.

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
South Sister on 10/27/2007 17:08:17 MDT Print View

I really enjoy the geology and views. Here are a few photos from a previous trip when we hiked up South Sister frm Morraine Lake (and a very pretty one of Tear Drop Lake on the top of South Sister that I borrowed from someone online). These photos came out much better because of the beautiful Sept-Oct days that we had that trip and that are more typical for that time of year.

Here is a view on Obsidian Trail toward Belknap Crater, Mt. Washington and some other peaks.


The campsite above Morraine Lake (which is a common base camp for a South Sister approach) have FABULOUS views of South Sister and Broken Top at sunset).

Camp at Morraine Lake

Watching the shadows rise up Broken Top at sunset is really just sublime.

Broken Top at Sunset

After breaking camp that morning, we had to backtrack a little across this little valley. Our campsite is in the stand of trees on the little hill /morraine The cool air from the night before had gotten trapped by the surrounding terrain (katabatic air , as discused by Ray Jardine in his Beyond Backpacking, pp. 224-225). You could actually feel the interface between the lower cool air and the warmer air above travel up your legs and arms as we hiked up the back side...very cool sensation!

We gotta go where?!?

This little lake is formed by the melt water of the Lewis Glacier on the shoulder of South Sister. You can barely see me along the botton right of the lake (look for the blue dot).

Me getting water from glacial lake on South Sister

There is a great view at the top of South Sister in all directions. Someon has built up little bivuoac of the stones. I always thought sleeping up here to catch the sunrise would be fantastic in good weather. Apparantly, it's discouraged for obvious reasons, but allowed.

Me & my brother Rich on South Sister with North & Middle Sisters over our shoulders

I borrowed this photo from someone. The pool was only partially visible when I was up there, but it's a beautiful sight to see this green-blue pool of water at the tip top of a volcano.

Tear Drop Lake

View toward the south on the way back down.

It really is ALL downhill from here

Edited by TomClark on 10/27/2007 17:40:57 MDT.

s k
(skots) - F
Sisters on 10/28/2007 21:57:11 MDT Print View


Your Sisters trip report had us reminiscing our hike there in August 2005. We left the Pole Creek Trailhead on the eastern side and hiked past Camp and Chambers Lakes down to the PCT and continued west and lower into the wooded meadows and lakes. We tramped our way up friendly trails, past dirty glaciers, lunar land scapes, rock gardens and cooled our feet in crystal lakes, melt streams, and muddy bottomed creeks. Light blue lupine blooms billowed across entire fields as we decended from Chambers to the PCT. Bugs were few and life was good. I hope you enjoy a few of our shots.

Camp Lake

Rock Garden

Chambers Lake

West from pass


Sisters dawn

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Trail on 10/29/2007 06:21:42 MDT Print View

Great to see more photos from the area, particularly since I have not gone to those lakes (yet). It sounds like during your hike to Camp & Chambers Lakes you continued through South & Middle Sisters. We have talked about doing that as another loop option on a future trip, and were wondering how that section was. Looking down on it from South Sister, the Devil's Parlor looked pretty inhospitable without much tree coverage, but real "neck craning views." What was the trail like?

I think that is Camp Lake to my left in the summit photo. It was interesting how each lake down in that area had a different color with combinations of blue, green, and red mixed to various degrees.

Edited by TomClark on 10/29/2007 06:25:09 MDT.

Mike Little
(Mentalfloss1) - F

Locale: NW Oregon
Three Sisters on 05/14/2008 14:05:23 MDT Print View

First off, I'm not a lightweight backpacker, but I have gone to less weight. But here I am anyway.
I am an Oregonian and maintain a website with some pics and brief descriptions of hikes and backpacks done over the past 25+ years. I really enjoy the Three Sisters, from Broken Top to North Sister on both sides. It's just a nice place to hike or snowshoe. Next month (June 2008) I'm going in for a week on the east side. There's a LOT of snow this year so getting to a trailhead may be a challenge. Time will tell.
In any case, my web page, under "Cascades" has several trips to the Three Sisters as well as other areas from the North Cascades to Broken Top.

David T
(DaveT) - F
. on 05/14/2008 14:11:24 MDT Print View


Edited by DaveT on 11/20/2014 20:02:22 MST.