Oregon's South Sister
So, Andy and I have (mostly) decided to attempt to summit one mountain each month for a year- weather conditions being a primary factor. The project will be called "A Mountain A Month" -
The first mountain was Oregon's South Sister. At 10,358', she was my first mountain summit and my first experience at any sort of proper elevation. Epic climbing was EPIC.
We got to the Devil's Lake trail head sometime after 1030pm after enjoying delicious beers and dinner at 10 Barrel Brewing in Bend, Oregon. Andy and I pitched a tent in the dark and Patrick crawled into a sleeping bag outside. At 430 the next morning, we rose, broke camp, pounded coffee and breakfast, and started up the mountain.
The first part of the hike was through the forest- fairly steep and amazingly silent. I worked up a bit of a sweat by the time we reached the 'plateau' - okay, I had to delayer because I was pretty damn warm... Andy and Patrick playfully (but seriously) chastised me for not drinking enough water yet (but really, I needed to drink more water) so I started working my way through water and patiently coaxing my stomach to digest the first of the many bars I consumed on the trail.
The plateau was a lovely stretch of trail that included an incredible view of the sun rising over Broken Top. It also offered us our first view of the South Sister summit and man alive, was she PRETTY! The rest of the trail was fairly difficult and presented the longest stretch of scree I've ever encountered but with my perpetually refilling bladder serving as a motivator to reach the next large, slightly private boulder behind which I would be able to pee, and Andy and Patrick's summit experience, we made excellent time and summitted before the crowds started filing up the trail.
We reached the summit at 930am- 4 hours after we left the car. We chilled on top for an hour or so, ate some food, messed around taking summit selfies and attempting to send jealousy-inducing snapchats (or, in Andy's case, in order to be mildly grumpy at our hazy view).
The only downside on the climb ? The smoke from fires in central Oregon clouded our views with increasing density and by the end of the hike, my eyes were watering freely. The view from the summit was lovely BUT not nearly as clear as it could have been, which means that, oh darn, we need to climb her again.