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Aug 30 2011
Oregon_Hiker
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 Guides 9
 Routes 392
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75 male
 Joined Dec 07 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
Chambers LakesNortheast, OR
Northeast, OR
Hiking avatar Aug 30 2011
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking14.20 Miles 1,800 AEG
Hiking14.20 Miles
1,800 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
My friend, Tom, and I backpacked into the Chambers Lakes from the Pole Creek Trailhead on Aug 30, 2011. It's a long 7.1 mile climb up 1800 feet with a backpack carrying provisions for 4 nights along with clothing and a sleeping bag for night time temps below freezing. This is a popular hiking,backpacking and climbing destination so we chose to go during the week and return on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend. We encountered a few people on the trail and around Camp Lake during the week but on Saturday morning we passed at least 15 people on their way up to the Chambers Lakes area. About 10 of these folks were planning on climbing Middle Sister although I doubt that one guy made it because he didn't even know which trail to take. Two were planning on a day hike upto the top of South Sister.

The first 1.4 miles of the trail is a dusty slog through dry lodge pole pine forest. Once we got past Soap Creek and started to gain altitude the forest became more interesting and views of mountain peaks could occasionally be seen. We stopped for lunch where the trail crosses the North Fork of Whychus Creek (formerly NF Squaw Creek). We were fortunate to have warm clear weather throughout our 4 day visit. The Chambers Lakes are located in a high pass on the crest of the Cascade Mountains between the South and Middle Sister Mountains. The weather can get very cold, windy and foggy at any time throughout the summer.

We set up camp about 250 yards east of Camp Lake. This is the largest of the Chambers Lakes and the only one with decent camp sites. No fires are allowed within 1/4 mile of the lake and camp sites are supposed to be at least 100 feet from the lake shore although there were some well used campsites that were much closer. The South Sister loomed above us to the south and Middle Sister to the north west. Selecting a camp site took some time. We wanted to find a spot with some protection from the winds that would be whistling through the pass and finally settled on one that was in the lee of a thicket of low growing trees.

Over the next three days we took day hikes up the side of Middle Sister to the 8000 ft level, around the other Chambers Lakes (3 or 4), upto Carver Lake on the north east side of South Sister and over the pass and down the west side to the Pacific Crest Trail.
Meteorology
Meteorology
Glacier
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WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

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