Middle Sister and Broken Top -- Suggestions please

Trip recommendations, current conditions, and other trail related Q&A
hiker4fun
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Middle Sister and Broken Top -- Suggestions please

Post by hiker4fun » February 12th, 2015, 4:21 pm

It's been a while since I posted something on the forum. I just realized that I forgot my password and the name of the site got changed recently also. I should pay more attention. :(

Please forgive me if I am being crazy or ignorant in my questions on this topic. I don't know even know where I stand on this one, and hence this topic. :)

After a series of hikes last summer, I just can't wait to explore more this summer. While I cherished the hike to South Sister last year, I have been eyeing to do more hikes in the Bend area, especially around the Sisters area.

I was looking for hike-able places and was wondering about Middle Sister and Broken Top. From what I read/see, Broken Top seems to be hike-able except for probably the last few feet of altitude, which is ok for me. But, is my assumption correct?

I don't have any experience in climbing or using ropes. While I tried to read/see a lot of things about Middle Sister, I don't get the level of details that I get for South Sister. I realize that it's not as popular/easy as South Sister, but I want to know from others to see how much/far Middle Sister is hike-able without any technical climbing.

Any inputs from your experience/knowledge will be helpful. Thanks in advance. :)

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kaltbluter
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Re: Middle Sister and Broken Top -- Suggestions please

Post by kaltbluter » February 12th, 2015, 4:59 pm

Last summer I explored a bit around the Arrowhead Lake side of Middle Sister. I didn't use any crampons or go anywhere crazy when I recorded that track.

Read a bit more about the Renfrew approach here if you are interested in taking that way to the summit.

Or just browse the field guide and trip reports. Lots of good stuff in there.

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Koda
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Re: Middle Sister and Broken Top -- Suggestions please

Post by Koda » February 12th, 2015, 5:23 pm

in 2004 I skied the M Sister summit from the south climb route and did not require ropes or technical gear (I did have crampons and ice axe with me but didnt need them), I recall some scrambling the last bit to the summit over large boulders.

Image

also search cascadeclimbers.com you will find detailed info there as both of these mountains fall more into the mountaineering realm as opposed to S. Sister.
lightweight, cheap, strong... pick 2

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Bosterson
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Re: Middle Sister and Broken Top -- Suggestions please

Post by Bosterson » February 13th, 2015, 9:05 am

Are you talking about summer conditions (ie, no snow)? I don't think Middle Sister is supposed to have many objective hazards in dry conditions, but it would probably be a steep ash and scree slog. I haven't done it though, so maybe others can chime in. (Chase?)

Broken Top from Green Lakes requires ascending an exposed and somewhat loose ridge until you reach a set of vertical steps that require technical climbing (and lots of exposure!). There are some pictures and description here. The use trail up to the saddle in the ridge is just a steep bootpath, and the view is decent up there, so if you were already at Green Lakes, that'd be an easy little excursion to go watch the sunset or something. I wouldn't really recommend going higher unless you were intending to climb it, as the view doesn't really get that much better and the terrain gets much more challenging the farther you go up the ridge. (And remember, everything you go up you have to go back down! ;) )
Will hike off trail for fun.

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retired jerry
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Re: Middle Sister and Broken Top -- Suggestions please

Post by retired jerry » February 13th, 2015, 9:14 am

Tam McArthur trail is basically just a trail that goes to Broken Top summit ridge. Relatively easy, although it is off trail and you could get lost. Amazing scenery.

There's supposed to be a route from Rim Lake up to the summit ridge that's fairly easy.

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Don Nelsen
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Re: Middle Sister and Broken Top -- Suggestions please

Post by Don Nelsen » February 13th, 2015, 9:18 am

I've climbed the Middle Sister from the south only once and it is simply a talus climb in the summer. There are areas that are steep and loose so care must be taken to not turn an ankle or have rocks slide and knock you off balance. From the north, I've done it three times and it's the easier route except for the distance from TH's and the last few hundred feet: Even in late summer you may find a short section of steep snow. I've not had spikes or an ice ax there but both would have been helpful. Just a caveat.

Broken Top, in the summer, is the easier climb with a good use trail all the way to the summit block. Lots of 3 to 4 class ways to do it but the easiest is to circle around the left of the summit and climb the E/NE face. It looks more imposing than it is due to exposure. Also, BT has a "South Summit" that is just a few feet lower and well worth the effort. It is a scree/talus climb with one cliff to navigate around with some exposure but only 3rd class.

Just my opinion.
"Everything works in the planning stage".

VanMarmot
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Re: Middle Sister and Broken Top -- Suggestions please

Post by VanMarmot » February 13th, 2015, 9:42 am

I've done Middle Sister from the N and think that way might be a little too steep and loose to qualify as an easy/safe scramble. The S side seems better.

I'd vote for Broken Top since you don't get into scrambling until near the top and there are a number of options - as Don suggests. But it's loose up there, so don't take your handholds and footholds for granted!!

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retired jerry
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Re: Middle Sister and Broken Top -- Suggestions please

Post by retired jerry » February 13th, 2015, 10:04 am

http://www.summitpost.org/broken-top/150574 is a good source of info

I prefer the peaks Don is responsible for though :)

hiker4fun
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Re: Middle Sister and Broken Top -- Suggestions please

Post by hiker4fun » February 13th, 2015, 11:27 am

Thank you all for the details. It looks like I have to go thru a lot and that's what I was hoping for. I might ask more specific questions. :)

R11
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Re: Middle Sister and Broken Top -- Suggestions please

Post by R11 » February 13th, 2015, 12:50 pm

VanMarmot wrote:I've done Middle Sister from the N and think that way might be a little too steep and loose to qualify as an easy/safe scramble. The S side seems better.
Safe is a relative word so I won't say that but I would say that the north route is basically an easy walk up. The hike from the south is also easy but it is somewhat steeper and lacks any defined trail, and as Don said, is loose, slide-y, tippy talus fields for large stretches of the climb, so it does require careful steps. Of those two routes, the north is definitely an easier walk up.


ron

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