After grumbling about bad decision making and foolish kids getting in dangerous situations (that's not me at all!), Caitlin told me that I should go get some good karma. So I told Kolby I would accompany his friend to look for the lost pack and an hour or so later Kolby introduced me to Fire Hazard (the trail name of our unlucky thru hiker).
It turns out Fire Hazard had been trying to climb all three Sisters south to north. He had seen the moderate looking north ridge of South Sister on his topo map and attempted to descend it toward Middle Sister. He got off route in steep terrain and dropped his pack thinking it would land on a ledge 20 feet down and he could retrieve it. Instead the pack bounced down over a 1,000 vertical feet of choss cliffs towards the Prouty Glacier and he was unable to see where it had come to rest. After trying unsuccessfully to down climb further he climbed back over South Sister, hiked out in the dark and got a ride with other late hikers back to Bend. If I'm being honest I have to admit that I could see myself getting in a similar situation.
|The Prouty Glacier, South Sister's NE Face, and the approximate pack trajectory in red.|
|A close up from the relevant USGS topo with our approximate off-trail travel in orange and the pack's trajectory in red.|
|Sunset on the terminal moraine at Carver Lake with Broken Top in the background.|
|Fire Hazard is stoked to get his pack back... and in one piece! He dropped it from just left of the highest pinnacle visible on the ridge and it landed at the top of the glacier directly underneath.|
|Clouds flow through the pass between South and Middle Sister as the sun drops. Time to get outta here.|
|Giant frogs on the trail as we jog out... seriously, they were bigger than my fist!|