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| | |-+  June 10-11, 2011, Middle Sister (Hayden/Renfrew)
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Author Topic: June 10-11, 2011, Middle Sister (Hayden/Renfrew)  (Read 2976 times)

Posts: 480

June 10-11, 2011, Middle Sister (Hayden/Renfrew)
« on: 06/13/11, 10:00 PM »

Day 1 - Hayden Glacier, Middle Sister
The weather was looking good for harvesting some corn as I left the grass pollen infested Willamette Valley on Friday morning and headed for Sisters.  There was some cloud cover and light mist in the valley, but heading down the east side of the crest I could see the Three Sisters in plain view.  After a power breakfast at McDonald's, I met Todd at the Pole Creek trailhead, where we shouldered heavy packs and started hiking on the dirt trail.  We hit snow within a 1/2 mile, and were able to start skinning after a mile or so.  Navigating through the dense trees proved a bit difficult at times, but we followed our noses and eventually gained the treeline after about 4 miles.  I pitched my tent in a nice spot in the trees with a good view of the South Sister at about 6800 feet...

After the long slog, we took a brief nap during the heat of the day, then headed out to ride the Hayden Glacier that evening.  The Hayden is very filled in right now, and we didn't need the ropes or harnesses we'd packed in.  As we ascended the lower snowfields below the Hayden, the South Sister came into view.  I really need to get in there and ride the line off the summit via the Prouty Glacier (seen in the upper left of the below photo)'s been on my list for awhile now...


The skin up the Hayden went quickly, at least for me.  Todd was recovering from a bout of the stomach flu, so he was dragging a bit.  It did give me an opportunity to take a few pictures of him on the ascent though.

We neared the col at 9200 feet and stopped just short of the top, as the snow was starting to firm up considerably.  After enjoying the views of the North Sister, South Sister & Broken Top, we stripped skins and started making turns over the smooth corn more than 2000 feet below to our camp.  The below photo is me riding with the Hayden Headwall on the Middle Sister in the background.....

The next photo is Todd making some nice tele turns with Prouty Point behind.....

Once back at camp, freeze dried dinners were in order and we shot the bull for a bit.  Todd hit the sack early, and I took the camera out to shoot a few photos.  Here's one of Broken Top's northwest side.  It's amazing how much snow was still there this late in the year.  The lines still look really good!

After my photo session, I hiked back to my tent and snapped this photo showing the Hayden Glacier route (with the Middle Sister & Prouty Point).  The col that we hiked to is located in the middle of the photo.

Day 2 - Hayden & Renfrew Glaciers
I awoke the next morning to a slightly overcast sky and freezing conditions.  Breakfast consisted of 4 packets of Maple & Brown Sugar instant Oatmeal and pine needle flavored melted snow water.  Todd was feeling much better today, and our ascent of the Hayden went quickly.  About 1/2 way up the glacier, conditions were so firm that we added ski crampons.  2500 feet later, we were standing at the Col with excellent views to the east and west.  The view from the Col back down the Hayden was beautiful...

Here's a shot of the North Sister from just below the Col.  I strongly considered riding the southeast face, but the conditions were a little sketch...maybe next time.  It's quite a bit steeper than the photo suggests.  The North is one burly beast and not for the timid!

We messed around at the top of the Col for about an hour, wondering if the conditions would firm up to make a summit attempt worthwhile.  12 Mazamas were descending the Northeast face of the Middle and conditions didn't look prime.  A skier and snowboarder made the descent as well (they were ahead of us that morning).  They verified the turns were survival and it didn't look that appealing to me, clinging to steep wind blown ice sastrugi with ice axe in hand.  So, I headed out towards the Collier Glacier to take in some views.  I snapped the shot below, which shows a line or cascade volcanoes.  If you look closely, you can see Mt Washington, Three Fingered Jack, Mt Jefferson, Mt Hood, & Mt Adams (though Adams is barely visible, it showed up well to the naked eye).

I skinned back over to the Col where Todd was hanging, and we made the decision to make some turns down the Renfrew Glacier (to our west).  Here's the view looking down the glacier...

We rode about 1000 feet down and the turns were sweet.  Unfortunately we didn't get any good riding shots, except for the below sub-par image of Todd riding down with the Husband in the background....

Climbing back up was a bit of a chore though - the sun finally came out and it felt like a sauna!  Nevertheless, we were back at the Col around 12:30.  With a long slog out to the trailhead facing us and a three hour drive after that, we strapped in and made turns back down the Hayden to our camp 2500 feet below in excellent corn!  The glacier was so filled in that only a crevasse or two was showing, making the terrain very easy to ride.  Here's a few riding shots...

Back at camp, we broke down the tents and loaded the gear into our packs.  There's nothing like this time of year with heavy packs, warm temps, and long traverses becoming the norm.  I ended up split skiing most of the way out since the last 3 miles is really flat, which sucks for me because I can't split ski very well!  I did snap this photo of the Thayer Glacier Headwall on the North Sister on the way out though.....I'd love to get in there a bit earlier in the year to ride it, but conditions have to be perfect as it's an avy prone mother.....

Back at the trailhead after a lot of skinning, hiking and sweat, it felt good to change into the flip flops and shorts.  I stopped by the mini-mart in Sisters and grabbed a Five Pines Porter from Three Creeks Brewing and enjoyed it on Saturday night when I got home.  Overall, the Middle is in fine shape right now, and should be for several weeks to come.  The area has tons of potential, and I'd like to get back in there when I have a bit more time (i.e. - a few nights) to do some lines on all three peaks Cheesy
« Last Edit: 06/14/11, 11:12 AM by stoudema » Logged

There is nothing more practical in the end than the preservation of beauty." - Theodore Roosevelt

Posts: 66

Re: June 10-11, 2011, Middle Sister (Hayden/Renfrew)
« Reply #1 on: 06/14/11, 09:52 AM »

Nice photos, Matt. Loved the shot of the volcanoes stretching as far as the eye could see.

Posts: 62

Re: June 10-11, 2011, Middle Sister (Hayden/Renfrew)
« Reply #2 on: 06/14/11, 09:58 AM »

Very nice. I considered posting a report of my trip there from the day before, but maybe I'll just file it in here...

I came in from the west, starting up Hwy 242 by bike Wednesday afternoon, then skiing along the Obsidian Trail (upper gate closed, but road plowed all the way to the trailhead and farther). I stopped overnight on the lava flow, then climbed Middle via Renfrew on Thursday. The turns back down from the saddle on that west slope were excellent -- an easy descent, which is just right for me at this point.

Weather was absolutely perfect on Thursday, and I didn't see anybody else on the mountain (though I did hear some voices from climbers descending(?) North Sister while I was at the saddle). There were only some faint signs of my own tracks from a trip last month near the lava flow and Obsidian Cliffs, so I don't think anyone else had been on the west side since then. But on my way back down the highway, I came across a group of three walking up, heading for North Sister -- looked like they had quite a trip ahead of them.


Posts: 827

Re: June 10-11, 2011, Middle Sister (Hayden/Renfrew)
« Reply #3 on: 06/16/11, 09:02 AM »

Looking great down there Matt!



Posts: 605

Re: June 10-11, 2011, Middle Sister (Hayden/Renfrew)
« Reply #4 on: 06/18/11, 05:04 PM »

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