Twin Sisters (2)




Climbs By:

Last Updated 02/14/03

Trip Details




Jason McLees, Eric Swansen

Pack Weight


Attempted Route

Northeast Ridge via Sisters Glacier     

Other Attempts

 ( 1)

Mountain Facts


Mountain Description



Climb Description

Friday Jul 31 - Eric and I left Pullman of Friday and stayed at Jason's in the Tri-Cities that night. 


Saturday Aug 1- We drove to Bellingham and headed up Mosquito Lake road only to find that the gate at Blue Mountain road was closed.  We drove to the middle fork of the Nooksack and headed up the forest road there (FR 3807).  Just past a cement bridge over Clearwater Creek, we turned right and down.  The gate at the river was open so we drove to the end of the road, just across a small valley from a rock quarry.  We headed up and through an old clear cut.  It took several hours and it was nearly dark before we came to another logging road.  We followed it to the right (N) and turned left at the first intersection.  This road made a slow turn to the S as we rounded the N slopes of the North Sister.  This was a "killed" logging road and we had to cross many deep trenches cut across the road to allow small streams to follow their pre-road course.  It was well after dark when we came to the roads end and we couldn't see a obvious path to continue on so we set up camp and went to bed.


























Sunday Aug 2- At first light we broke camp and traversed a quarter mile of clear cut to the end of another old logging road and followed it further S-SW.  We dropped a few hundred feet in elevation before connecting with the road that we would have driven up had the gate on the Blue Mountain road been open.  The clouds were low and we couldn't identify our location with certainty.  We followed this road and passed the trailhead by mistake.  We soon realized our mistake and returned to the trail head.   














We followed the same route as Sue Mike and I on our earlier attempt to the cirque, but this time we headed straight toward the col.  We soon climbed above the clouds and found ourselves under beautiful blue skies.  We followed a snow finger to the base of the ridge between the N and S Twin and instead of keeping to the right, we followed a route just to the left of a large smooth boulder.  We climbed class 5.5 and 5.6 rock and then traversed right to the col where we stopped for lunch.





















We spent an hour or so taking in the view of Mt Baker and deciding weather to continue or not.  Then we put on our crampons and headed across the Sister Glacier.  The Glacier here is not steep and only a few small crevasses were visible.  We headed straight toward the lowest exposed area of the NE ridge, crossed a large moat and scrambled onto the ridge. 









We left all our gear on the ridge and headed toward the summit.  The rock was solid and easy walking on large boulders.  We came to a 30 ft wall and traversed around to the right.  Here we found a passage behind a 20 ft slab that had tilted away from the cliff.  Beyond the slab was a narrow ledge that we followed for 30 feet where we had to crawl under a bulge.  Jason decided he didn't want to continue so Eric and I continued alone.  We followed the ledge for another 40 or 50 feet and turned left and scrambled up very loose rock to regain the top of the ridge.  We didn't want to leave Jason there too long so we turned and followed the ridge down.  We came to the top of the wall and found an easy crack and followed it down.  We turned left and slipped through the slap pass again and found Jason still crouched where we left him.  We all turned back and crossed the glacier back to the col.




Instead of retracing our path up the 5.5 pitch (which we would have had to rope up for) we stayed left and followed an easy route back to the snow finger.  We hiked back to our camp, packed up the tent and worked our way back through the clear-cut to the car.  We got to the car just before dark and headed out of the mountains.  We dropped Eric off in Federal Way, and made it to the Tri-Cities by 4:30 AM, were Jason got about an hour sleep before he had to get ready for work.  I slept most of the way to the Tri-Cities so I continued on to Pullman.