Alpine High in Three Sisters Wilderness

The Three Sisters Wilderness is a wilderness area in the Cascade Range comprising over 286,000 acres, named for the Three Sisters Mountains known individually as South Sister (aka Charity, or Big Sister), Middle Sister (aka Hope, or Little Sister), and North Sister (aka Faith, or Ugly Sister).  

On a recent vacation to Bend, Oregon I had an opportunity to spend a night in the wilderness and get in some alpine climbing on the slopes of 10,053-foot Middle Sister.  According the guidebook, this stratovolcano has an undeserved reputation for being an easy, if not dull mountain normally reserved as part of a Three Sisters Marathon.  After making the ascent of its Southeast Ridge via the Diller Glacier, I can attest that this delightful mountain is anything but dull.

Approximate route on Southeast Ridge

The angle of ascent is steeper than photos reveal, and the absence of any reliable handholds at these dizzying heights really contributes to the feeling of exposure.

From the summit, one beholds a spectacular panorama to the south of numerous Cascade volcanoes, including South Sister, Broken Top, and Mount Bachelor.

To the north, North Sister is the dominating feature, with Mount Jefferson and Mount Hood rising in the distance from the sprawling landscape over her shoulder.

Of course, numerous other photographic opportunities presented themselves during my overnight stay, with great weather and perfect skies over South Sister making for an evening sunset, a midnight star showing, and a morning sunrise to remember!

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12 thoughts on “Alpine High in Three Sisters Wilderness”

  1. Wow, this place is amazingly beautiful and all the shots are absolutely gorgeous specially the one covering northern lights and colors of sky. Will prepare for this type of visit one day.

      1. I think at that time this place will get covered with some vegetation may be wild flowers and lush green grass.

      2. Yeah, and maybe some animals, too When I was there, there were none, not even a bird or a squirrel. There wasn’t even a breeze! It was eerily quiet and lonely, like a twighlight zone.

      3. Oh and you generally don’t came across these kind of situations. So this is completely a different experience 🙂

    1. It did finally quit around 3 am, just as the moon was coming up off camera to light the mountain. It’s a stacked image of over 400 exposures, 35 sec each, approx 3.5 hours.

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