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Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Everyone slept soundly


Risa was abducted by her two youngest as a guide, having been, in younger days, to the top of South Sister (elev. 10,358 feet) three times. She fell for as it had not yet occurred to her the effect that a twelve mile hike with five thousand feet of elevation gain can have on a merely moderately healthy sixty-two-year-old.

Well, now she knows.

But she's glad she went. Here we are above, still fresh after climbing up the steep trail from Devils Lake (departure 7 a.m.) to Wickiup Plain. Our destination is glimpsed right between Son's and Daughter's shoulders.


On previous hikes, heat had been the main issue; this time it was snow. It being August, we failed to google the conditions, and apparently everyone but us knew that things this year were just shy of rope and ice axe. About a third of the journey involved kick-stepping, so we found it quite tiring and even a little dangerous.


Fortunately from the bottom of Collier to the summit, the snow was all gone along the traditional summit trail. If you click on (enlarge) the photo above, and know where to look, you can see people on the trail silhouetted against snow near the summit, upper left. I know some who dismiss South as a cakewalk, but to us this was a serious endeavor. We ate at Collier, noted that the weather was coming in and it was getting late, and did we want to go for it? Adventure is, y'know, what happens when you risk things not really knowing the outcome, so we decided on adventure.


Here's that weather coming in. It was clear everywhere but the summit; South is big enough that it's its own weather breeder. That green splotch is the little tarn at the base of Collier Glacier. Photo taken from about 9500 feet. The wind, by this time was doing thirty-five miles an hour, gusting to near fifty.


Risa, braced against the wind, does her high-fashion thing near the top. She's happy she made it but a little sad because she knows she's likely never coming here again. Her body's not truly up to it anymore. But, oh! so much beauty to be seen from here ...


On the way home at last. Daughter looks back over the long snow field we spent much of the afternoon descending. Risa's left knee gave out pretty much, soon after this, and the remainder of the descent took a lot out of her. We got to the car at 8:30 p.m., and reached our "base camp" (a friend's cabin) at 10 p.m.

Everyone slept soundly...

... and a fabulous breakfast was served by Daughter.

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