We Hike to Make a Difference.
In August, we will be heading to the Three Sisters in Oregon for our third fundraising adventure!
Three Sisters - Bend, OR
Length: Varies • Duration: 3 days / 2 nights
August 19 – 22, 2022
The Three Sisters are a group of active and dead volcanoes in the Cascades of central Oregon, just NW of Bend. All over 10,000 feet, they are the 3rd, 4th and 5th tallest mountains in Oregon. Total mileages: Chush Falls – 6 miles; Middle Sister – 15.8mi; South Sister – 11.6 miles/14miles. Elevation gain: Chush Falls – 1600 feet; Middle Sister – 4873 feet; South Sister – 4,950 feet. Middle Sister – el. 10,052 feet; South Sister – el. 10,363 feet. Trailheads: Chush Falls – 3,000 feet, Pole Creek – 5,300 feet; Green Lake – 5,400 feet; Devil’s Lake – 5,500 feet.
South Sister is considered a still active volcano, with its last eruption being around 2,000 years ago. A tectonic uplift was detected on and just to the west of South Sister in the year 2,000, and the volcano has been under close monitoring ever since. Middle Sister is a dead volcano, its last eruption being approximately 18,000 years ago Upper Chush Falls are over 200 feet tall!
Continuing our theme of climbing a volcano every other year, we will head to Bend Oregon to do a double mountain climb over 2 days, while staying at a hotel in town. On the 20th, our hardcore adventurers will attempt Middle Sister, el 10,052 feet, nearly 16miles roundtrip, with 5,000 feet of gain, off trail, over the Hayden glacier, with a class three section and class two cinder climbing. In a make your own adventure twist, those who do not want to attempt that mountain will hike to Chush Falls, one of the region’s spectacular waterfalls. Then on the 21st the entire group will hike South Sister, the tallest of the sisters at 10,363 feet. Shorter mileage here of just 11 and a half miles, but a steep cinder slog up the trail to the summit.
One of the two options for Saturday the 20th. Just six miles round trip, and under 2000 feet in gain, this short and mostly level and forested trail will follow Whychus Creek, past two lower waterfalls, to the spectacular 200 feet tall Upper Chush Falls. Stop for lunch and possibly a swim, then head back to town!
For our intrepid climbers wanting a challenging mountain to climb, our other option for Saturday the 20th, is an off trail climb of Middle Sister. We will intend to start our hike at sunrise. At the end of a long dirt road is the Pole Creek trailhead. From there the first four miles are along maintained trails, this area burned in the 2012 Pole Creek fire, but has been recovering well since. At the four-mile mark we will turn right onto a climber’s track and leave established trails. Another mile and a half will find us reaching the Hayden Glacier. Depending on how this snow year turns out, we may be able to just use micro-spikes, but it is possible that we will need crampons at this point. We will climb the edge of the glacier, then up a class three section up around Prouty Point to the saddle between Middle and North Sisters (North Sister contains a class four traverse and is currently out of reach for this group). From that saddle, we will follow the ridge of loose volcanic cinder southward the rest of the way to the summit. This route is all class two off-trail work. Because of all the loose rock, helmets will be required.
On Sunday the 21st, our whole team will gather to hike up South Sister. This one is an easier hike than Middle Sister, despite it being taller, because there is a trail all the way to the top. However, the last third of the hike is quite steep, and over volcanic cinders, ash and sand. Because of that it is often described as a cinder slog – two steps forward one step back! Because of its popularity as a hiking destination, South Sister has permit restrictions. Group size is limited to 12, per trailhead. However, there are two trailheads (Green Lake, and Devil’s Lake), with trails that intersect and join halfway. The route from Green Lake Th is 2.5 miles longer and adds 100 feet extra in gain – we will likely have our faster hikers start there. Our two groups of hikers will be able to meet along the trail, and still reach the top together.
The top of South Sister still has an intact crater, with a lake inside. We will circle this entire crater on the way up and back down. From the top views encompass the entire Cascade Range in Oregon, from Mt. Shasta in the south to Mt. Hood in the north!
Bend Oregon is a small city, pop. 108,000, but with a burgeoning LGBTQ community, artists, and many craft breweries, including the famous Deschutes Brewery. It should be a fun town to explore! Bend is a 14-hour straight drive from Los Angeles. You can also fly direct. Depending on who drives or flies, because we will have to drive to trailheads, rental cars may be needed as well. Once we know who our group is we will sort that out. Accommodations are currently TBD, we do hope to have everyone staying at one place, and to be able to organize a party and celebration for Sunday evening!
Permit restricted to 24 people. Chush Falls and Middle Sister have no permit requirements. South Sister has permit restrictions, limited to groups of 12. The cost of permits is included in registration fee. Other costs will be personal gear and food, plus the hotel in Bend for three nights, and travel costs for each individual.
Chush Falls – only typical day hiking gear is necessary. And maybe a swimsuit and towel.
South Sister – Sturdy boots are a must, and poles are recommended. There is no water on this trail after the first few miles, so plan on carrying all the water you will need for the day.
Middle Sister – Some equipment will be required:
Personal First Aid
Extra warm clothing
An emergency shelter or bivy
Boots that can accept spikes and crampons
Poles are recommended
Ice Axe (possible)
A more detailed gear list will be shared with all hikers as we get closer to the event.