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North Sister

The most technical of Oregon's Three Sisters.

Alpine Climbing Moderate

Distance
23 km
Ascent
1.6 km
Descent
1.6 km
Low Point
1.6 km
High Point
3.1 km
Gradient
25˚
North Sister Map

The North Sister is the most difficult of the Three Sisters to climb. While South Sister is the tallest, North Sister is the most technical, with some class 4 scrambling required on poor rock and loose dirt. While it might not be as technical as the heavily glaciated peaks of Mount Hood and Mount Jefferson, the ascent of North Sister is still demanding and requires competent mountaineering skills.

Description

The route mapped here approaches via the Pole Creek Trail and Camp Lake Trail. The same approach can be used for Middle Sister, so some climbers will turn this into a multi-day expedition and climb both peaks from a basecamp in the middle.

After departing from the approach trail, the climb begins in earnest. The route mapped here gains a spine and follows it all the way to the summit ridge.

Once on the summit ridge, the technicality ratchets up significantly. “In summer conditions, the traverse to the Bowling Alley, the final summit pitch up a loose, steep gulley, is on a narrow, crumbly, loose rock ledge and the Bowling Alley is Class 4 junk,” writes Brian Jenkins on SummitPost.org.

The final section to the summit mapped here traverses around the west side of the summit, makes a push to a saddle, then finishes the ascent from the north. However, note that conditions on the mountain can and do change, and route finding or an alternative approach may be required.

Sources: PeakBagger.com SummitPost.org

Difficulty

Moderate

May involve slightly more complex glacier hikes, easy but possibly long rock ridges and steep snow up to 45 degrees. Equivalent to PD, PD+

High Exposure

3 out of 4

Much of the route is difficult to protect and a fall could be disastrous at certain points.

Remoteness

4 out of 4

In the high mountains or remote conditions, all individuals must be completely autonomous in every situation.

Best time to visit

between July and September

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area