The Three Sisters Mountains are a trio of volcanic peaks located in the central Oregon Cascades Range. They are named North, Middle and South Sister, the latest being the tallest at 10,358 feet (3,157 meters). The area is popular among hikers and mountaineers due to its amazing and stunning scenery and relatively challenging terrain.
Climbing these mountains requires advanced mountaineering skills, including experience with ice and snow climbing, crevasse rescue, and avalanche safety. The mountains are located in a wilderness area and are not accessible by road, so climbers must be prepared for a multi-day trip with no facilities.
South Sister is the most commonly climbed peak in the Three Sisters range, as it is the tallest and has the easiest route. The standard route is the South Ridge, which begins at the Devils Lake trailhead and follows the Moraine Lake Trail to the base of the mountain. From there, climbers ascend the South Ridge, which includes a mixture of steep snow and rock scrambling. The route is rated as a Class 2 climb, which means that it involves some exposure and moderate technical difficulty.
North Sister is the most challenging peak, with a more technical route and greater objective hazards. The classic is the North Ridge, which begins at the Pole Creek trailhead and follows a steep gully to the base of the mountain. From there, climbers ascend the North Ridge, which involves steep snow and ice climbing and exposed rock scrambling. The route is rated as a Class 4 climb, which means that it involves significant exposure and technical difficulty.
Middle Sister is less frequently climbed than South and North Sister, as it has a more complex route and greater objective hazards. The standard route is the Hayden Glacier, which begins at the Pole Creek trailhead and follows a steep gully to the base of the mountain. From there, climbers ascend the Hayden Glacier, which involves crevasse navigation, steep snow and ice climbing, and exposed rock scrambling. This trail is also a Class 4 climb.
Climbing any of the Three Sisters Mountains requires careful planning and preparation. Climbers should be experienced with mountaineering and be familiar with the technical skills required for the route they plan to climb. They should also have the proper gear, including ice axes, crampons, helmets, and ropes, and be prepared for changing weather conditions and potential hazards such as rockfall and avalanches.
You should also be aware of the regulations and guidelines for climbing in the Three Sisters Wilderness Area. The area is managed by the United States Forest Service and requires a wilderness permit for overnight trips. The practice Leave No Trace is highly encouraged and follows guidelines for human waste disposal, campsite selection, and campfire use.
In addition to the more popular circuits, there are also more technical and challenging routes on the Three Sisters Mountains for experienced climbers. These ones involve more technical climbing and greater objective hazards, such as loose rock and unstable snow and ice. Climbers attempting these routes should have advanced mountaineering skills and be prepared for challenging conditions.
Overall, climbing the Three Sisters Mountains is a rewarding and challenging experience for experienced mountaineers. The mountains offer stunning views surrounded by wilderness in a remote and rugged landscape. However, climbers should be aware of the technical skills required and the potential hazards involved, and should plan and prepare carefully for their climb.