North Twin Sister ski - June 15, 2002

The Sisters Range from the south west - from the left: (Mt Baker in the background), North Twin, South Twin, Skookum, Hayden and Little Sister

As I hiked and biked my way up the maze-like logging road approach, my motivation began to wane. Dense fog, lack of energy and some nasty intestinal problems worked away at me.

I decided to at least make it to the end of the logging road, but I had no desire to climb the west ridge in a whiteout yet again. And ski boots were sounding less and less fun on the scramble. I thought I'd climb the north side route as far as I felt... hopefully the sun would pop out?

As I ditched my bike and started skinning up the clearcut leading to the ridge (conveniently, the snow started right when the road ended), the clouds began to break apart. I began to feel more energy and continued on.

My view when the clouds finally cleared. The west ridge is on the right skyline, the north route is just behind the upper left skyline.

Shortly before the ridge steepened, I dropped off and traversed into the north basin. Now it was totally sunny. Sweet!

Baker rears its rounded head above the north ridge.

The clouds that had sapped my morning motivation had mostly burned off.

I kicked steps up the final 1000ft to the summit ridge. The snow seemed perfect.

A trio of climbers ascending the north face of South Twin

I scrambled up to the summit and took in the views. I spotted three climbers making their way up the north side of the South Twin - the first people I had seen all day. Looked like a nice climb... steep and corniced on top. One by one they disappeared behind rocks on the face.

Time to go down. The first hundred feet were pretty steep (up to 45 degrees), so I side-slipped a bit before committing to a turn. The snow was really great!

Looking down from the summit ridge

Partway down I passed the only other people I would meet all day. They had a dog with them, and wondered if my vehicle was the truck parked way high up the logging road system. Nope, but I suspect it was the climbers on South Twin. I wonder if they made arrangements with the gate keeper, or came in when the gate was open and didn't know any better! If so, good luck getting it back out!

North slope of North Twin

The snow on the 2500ft descent was suprisingly good... a little sun-cupped, but soft enough that it didn't matter too much, and firm enough that it wasn't slushy or sticky or slow. I kept my skis on all the way to my bike. The remaining 3000ft on logging "roads" was quick, but not as quick as it would have been without skis sticking out of my pack. I narrowly avoided a few "catapultations off my seat" when trees branches grabbed my skis. It took just under two hours to return from the summit to my truck.
Some pictures from the previous weekend, near Cowlitz Rocks on Rainier.

Greg skins up from the Ingraham glacier. Little Tahoma lurks behind.

Looking up towards Muir and the summit.