South Sister


Alpine Scramble - South Sister

A long tall snow scramble leading to tremendous views and summitting one of the iconic Cascade Volcanoes! Car camping is highly suggested the night before and the night after. Leaving some time to explore Bend and environs (if you are not already familiar with this spectacular outdoor destination) is also highly recommended -- as are the wealth of local brewpubs!

COVID-19: Learn about our most up-to-date guidance for participants and leaders on our COVID-19 Response page. All participants and leaders must agree to the COVID-19 Code of Conduct before participating in this Mountaineers activity.
  • Strenuous 5, Technical 3
  • Challenging
  • Mileage: 13.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 4,900 ft
  • Pace: Moderate, but long and unrelenting

Meeting time: we will want to leave the TH no later than 7:30 am, Saturday, June 22.  I will plan to arrive at the TH/campground by 7:00 am.

The meeting place will be at the South Sister TH, past Mt Bachelor on the Mt Bachelor highway (see Route info on South Sister for driving directions from Hwy 97 in Bend to Mt. Bachelor etc.).  There are several possible campgrounds, but the one described in the Route info is closest.

There are numerous options for driving from Seattle to Bend, including the high desert route (EB I-90 to a bit south of Yakima on I-82, then accessing Hwy 97 through the small town of Toppenish with its famous western-themed murals, on up and through the Yakama Rez to the Columbia Gorge, and then back up and over the high desert and lonely farming country to Madras, Redmond, and Bend on Hwy 97), the Oregon Cascades route (drive most of the way down I-5 to Salem, perhaps diverting around the densest part of Portland on I-205, then from I-5 a little north of Salem take the Santiam Pass route over the Cascades to Sisters and on to Bend), or what I typically find the quickest: the Mt. Hood route (I-5 south to I-205 to EB I-84, then via a surface arterial to meet OR Hwy 26 east through Gresham and Sandy and up and over the Cascades a few minutes from Mt Hood, then on east through the Warm Springs Rez -- there's a great museum in WS and Indian fry bread for sale! -- to Madras and Hwy 97).

Depending on how many rush hours (Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia, Portland, and the string of towns on Hwy 97) you avoid or fail to avoid, it's about a 7 hour drive to Bend and out to the TH -- not counting food and fuel stops or any scenic time-outs -- by the shortest way.  Add an hour or so for other routes or for any desired stops.  Some of the drive will be through lonely country with no coverage, so be sure your vehicle is in good driving condition and fueled up!

I will send out an email the week before the trip with additional details of weather, conditions on the mountain, and TH/camping info.

I will travel to Bend on Thursday June 20 and back on Sunday June 23.  I won't have coverage while traveling but will have coverage while actually at my sister's home in Bend on Thursday and Friday nights and parts of Friday for any last minute concerns or coordination.


South Sister

  • USGS South Sister, OR

    Green Trails Bend - Three Sisters No. 622SX

    Green Trails Broken Top No. 622
  • See full route/place details.
Required Equipment

Required Equipment

  • The Ten Essentials
  • Helmet
  • Mountaineering Boots
  • Ice Axe
  • Outerwear suitable for glissading
  • It would be great if someone could download a GPS track for the usual summer hiking route (or the spring scramble route -- Daeeng Ren of our club just skied the peak and might be a resource) on your Gaia or other device
Trip Reports