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Middle Sister: Hayden Glacier + North Ridge

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Middle Sister: Hayden Glacier + North Ridge

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  • Entering the Three Sisters Wilderness.- Middle Sister: Hayden Glacier + North Ridge
  • Damage from the 2012 Pole Creek fire.- Middle Sister: Hayden Glacier + North Ridge
  • Approach through the burn area.- Middle Sister: Hayden Glacier + North Ridge
  • Meadow returning after the 2012 Pole Creek fire.- Middle Sister: Hayden Glacier + North Ridge
  • Damage from the 2012 Pole Creek fire.- Middle Sister: Hayden Glacier + North Ridge
  • The beginning of recovery.- Middle Sister: Hayden Glacier + North Ridge
  • Fungi on the forest floor.- Middle Sister: Hayden Glacier + North Ridge
  • North Sister from the basin near base camp.- Middle Sister: Hayden Glacier + North Ridge
  • South Sister from the basin near base camp.- Middle Sister: Hayden Glacier + North Ridge
  • Middle Sister from base camp.- Middle Sister: Hayden Glacier + North Ridge
  • Early morning approach to the Hayden Glacier.- Middle Sister: Hayden Glacier + North Ridge
  • North Sister in the early morning light.- Middle Sister: Hayden Glacier + North Ridge
  • Roping up at the foot of the Hayden Glacier.- Middle Sister: Hayden Glacier + North Ridge
  • Crossing the Haden Glacier with Middle Sister in background.- Middle Sister: Hayden Glacier + North Ridge
  • Crossing the Haden Glacier with South Sister and Broken Top in background.- Middle Sister: Hayden Glacier + North Ridge
  • View south to Broken Top.- Middle Sister: Hayden Glacier + North Ridge
  • Crossing the Haden Glacier.- Middle Sister: Hayden Glacier + North Ridge
  • Steeper snow slope toward the summit.- Middle Sister: Hayden Glacier + North Ridge
  • Rock and ice.- Middle Sister: Hayden Glacier + North Ridge
  • Steeper snow slope toward the summit.- Middle Sister: Hayden Glacier + North Ridge
  • Steeper snow slope toward the summit.- Middle Sister: Hayden Glacier + North Ridge
  • North Sister with Mount Jefferson- Middle Sister: Hayden Glacier + North Ridge
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Great views. Base camp situated between four volcanoes. Exposure to basic mountaineering skills.
Cons: 
Dusty and hot approach trail.
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Region:
, OR
Access: 
Hike-in
Climbing:
Snow / glacier / ice route
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
No
Site characteristics: Drinking water: 
Snowmelt
Number of days: 
2
Recommended Equipment:
Ice axe / crampons, Harness / rope / anchors, Helmets
Highest point: 
10,046.00 ft (3,062.02 m)
Distance: 
4.00 mi (6.44 km)
Alpine climbing NCCS rating: 
Grade II
Net Elevation Gain: 
4,756.00 ft (1,449.63 m)
Year round: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
NW Forest Pass
Permit required: 
Yes
Permit self-issue on site: 
Yes
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer
Primary aspect: 
North facing
Total Distance: 
14.80 mi (23.82 km)
Total elevation gain: 
4,902.00 ft (1,494.13 m)
Trailhead Elevation: 
5,290.00 ft (1,612.39 m)
Typically multi-day: 
Yes
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

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An early season climb of Middle Sister is a great choice for beginning mountaineers to gain confidence on inviting terrain while combining many of the basic alpine skills into one climb. While there is no technical rock climbing on the north ridge route, the glaciated approach and exposed higher angle snow travel mean that you may not want to leave the technical gear behind. Add to this the gear and skills needed for snow camping and you will likely find your pack having a hefty weight as you leave the trailhead.

After diverging from the main trail, the climber's trail ascends the Whychus Creek drainage to the base of the Hayden Glacier. It is in this stretch of terrain where you will find a suitable site for camp. After digging a tent platform and melting snow for water, soak up any last rays of sun before it disappears behind your next day’s objective. An early start helps ensure predictable conditions and provides stunning views of sunrise as your rope team crosses the mellow glacier. While the alpenglow on the Three Sisters may hold your attention, don’t forget to look behind you as the sun moves across the Eastern Oregon landscape.

From the saddle between Middle and North Sister, follow the ridge to the summit, placing pickets if necessary. A misstep here would send you sliding down the wrong side of the mountain! From the summit of the volcano, reverse your path back to camp and pack up for the long haul back to the car.

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