South Sister camping


Last year I wanted to camp on the top of Mt. Adams but ended up running out of gas and willpower at the Lunch Counter. So this week I jammed 50lbs of gear into the pack and headed up the woods to South Sister. I got a little lost on the way up as the trail was under 5 feet of snow but eventually joined up with all of the ski tracks.

The way up was a little slow with the snows condition varying from firm to soft to icy. At 9000' I broke out the snowshoes as my shins were tired of getting cut up postholing. I saw one person who was also going up at this time but didn't see him again, he must have gone down one of the other sides. So I had the mountain to myself all night.

I set up the camera to do some timelapse photos of the clouds to the West. While it was snapping shots I shoveled out a level platform for the tent and set up camp. I boiled up 6 liters of water and had a Mountain House meal along with chocolate bars. I sat around and read a book while the camera snapped away photos.

I brought along a fast (f1.4) lens of my Dad's to take shots of the Milky Way. I was down to one battery when it got dark and luckily the battery made it through the entire night so I got a few hundred shots of the turning night sky. I slept off and on during the night as it was cold and I kept making sure the camera was clicking.


In the morning I got up right when the sun was rising and managed it to the North rim in time to see it pop up. I could see all the way to Mt. Adams.

I brewed up some hot cocoa and broke down camp. It took a while to get the pegs out of the snow as it was frozen solid now, and was on the move down by 6:30.

It was slow going down as I had no crampons and the top was still icy (being as it was 20 degrees). On the way down I ran into about 6 groups of skiers heading up. I think skiing down would be a much faster way as trudging is slow. I brought the sled but it was too slick out with not very good fall lines. I made it back to the car by 10 and heading into town to find a box of Cheez-its.


It was super cool to camp on the top of a mountain and be the highest person in Oregon for a night. The views were unbeatable and the weather perfect. Chocolate and hot cocoa made the best meals by far.

Panoramic Photos


South Sister from Sam Jackson on Vimeo.