South Sister in Early June

Trip recommendations, current conditions, and other trail related Q&A
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Joined: May 6th, 2019, 8:42 am

South Sister in Early June

Post by psg188 » May 6th, 2019, 8:57 am

My wife and I will be doing a trip through Oregon in early June and I wanted to show her the Three Sisters area. I've done the 50 mile loop and climbed South Sister in August a few years ago, but I know this area gets legendary snow. We're fairly experienced and I am not worried about the fitness or snowy hiking in general, but I wanted to see what this group thinks conditions might be like.

My plan is to do this in two days with a camp at Moraine Lake or off-trail near the intersection (coming from the south), summit and then down the 2nd day.

My Questions:
  • Will it be melted out below 6,800ft or should I plan to camp on snow? Where is the snow-line generally that time of year?
  • What are the rules around camping near Moraine Lake, just in designated spots and they're first-come first-served?
  • Will micro-spikes and poles be enough for the snow or will we need ice-ax and crampons? I'd like to stick to spikes if I can get away with it
  • Would snowshoes be a waste of time or will the snow be fairly packed by then?
Thanks in advance!

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Re: South Sister in Early June

Post by jessbee » May 6th, 2019, 12:56 pm

We had a pretty big snow year so I'd think it would be similar to conditions two years ago. I was up there in mid-June, 2017 and it was snow from car to summit.
As for snow conditions, it depends on how many people get up there before you and what time of day you're on the mountain. We left Bend before sunrise for a nice early start so the snow was firm. Where the mountain gets steep near the top I always prefer crampons but it's really your personal comfort level and the conditions that will determine what gear is "best." Definitely bring an ax. Snowshoes might be helpful on the way down as the snow softens up. Carrying all that gear just makes you stronger ;)

Not sure what the camping rules are that early in the season. I imagine the designated spots will be buried in snow. Just be sure to Leave No Trace, pack it in, pack it out. You could call the ranger station to see what the deal is that time of year.
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