Trip Report    

Alpine Scramble - South Sister

Great fall trip to the top of South Sister with camping at Moraine Lake.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Trail up to Moraine Lake was straightforward and not difficult. We did the 2.5mi and 1500ft in about 1.5hrs, set up camp and then went for the summit. The trail was simple up to about 7500ft, and then it was a rocky stair-step and sand scree (fun coming down) slog. Around 8200 at the top of a rise, it got rocky and there were several trails to the top of another rise at 8800. From there, we could look down on a glacially-fed lake, one of the highest in the NW. We punched through ice to get water and then continued up a ridge with a long, sharp drop-off on the left side of the Lewis Glacier, which was heavily crevassed. We crossed several snow patches with microspikes and red scree switchbacks that were more like wiggles, to a ramp heading NW at about 9800ft. From there we hit a couple short "false summits" to get into the crater. The best way around the crater to the summit block is to go right. Left gets you into sketchy territory having to navigate a 40-ft drop, where a tiny lake forms in the heat of summer.  It's another 200ft to the summit going right around the crater, to the spectacular 6-mountain views. 

13mi, 5100ft (with up and down to our campsite at Moraine Lake). Beautiful bluebird day.  Six hours up, 4 hours down - from/to campsite. A couple of us struggled with altitude over 9500ft and slowed way down. Beautiful sunset! Windy in camp that night. Wonderful team, great trip!