North Twin Sister
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Jun 10, 2014

Needing to put summer school in the back of my mind for a day, I decided it was time for the season’s first scramble. After a bit of research, the west ridge of North Twin Sister seemed like a good candidate. It is low enough that snow should have melted back. The avalanche danger should also be minimal this time of year.

The approach itself is something to conquer. It is around 6 miles of walking on a logging road and bush-whacking through thick brush. That will bring you to the base of North Twin Sister’s west ridge.Then the scrambling can begin.

Most recommend to bring a mountain bike to North Twin Sister. The road is steep all the way up so peddling in may not be possible. But, The gravel road back to your car is all downhill and having a bike saves your legs another 6 miles of walking.

Mount Baker At Sunrise from logging road
Mount Baker At sunrise
first sight of north twin sister from logging road
first sighting of north twin sister

The scrambling route starts as jumping over a few boulders but soon becomes a narrow ridge. But, there is an ample number of cairns lining the ridge to follow. Most describe the scrambling as class 3-4, but a few parts were class 5.

**After completing the route, I will tell you it is because I was off route. The actual climb of North Twin Sister’s west ridge should never approach that level.**

There is large exposure in some areas, but with the ample handholds available, none of it was difficult. What I saw of the ridge was a fun afternoon of scrambling for anyone with the determination to get there. I was unable to reach the top, and so this post is incomplete. I will be making another attempt at this mountain again this summer and will update this page. *Side Note, My successful attempt at North Twin was in 2018

view north east from ridge
view north east from ridge
north cascades viewed from north twin sister ridge
north cascades
View north from twin sisters ridge line
view north from the ridge
south twin sister
south twin sister
waterboy enjoying lunch in the fog
lunch time in the fog
Sep 3, 2018

After 4 failed attempts I felt the determination to get North Twin Sister and it’s west ridge off my list. Wrong turns, weather conditions, and a hangover all contributed to my failures. This day was going to be different. That was all I knew before setting foot out the door.

The other times I attempted the climb of North Twin Sister there were no cars in the parking area. But, this time there were several. As much as solitude makes my heart warm, sometimes distant company can be a relief. Especially when my ability to predict weather on North Twin Sister was lacking. If others are out there, then I must have picked a good day. Starting off there was a bit of rain coming down but it was not enough to deter me.

north twin sister climbers trail
climbers "trailhead"
fall colors along the logging road
fall colors along the road
start of north twin sisters ridge line
start of the ridge line

After the long bike push and ride I reached the bottom of the west ridge of North Twin Sister. I remember staring up in nervous excitement wondering how it would beat me today. The ridge stood wreathed in cloud making the whole moment feel very sublime. As the clouds swirled around the summit, they made my chances of success feel they were shrinking.

Starting out I knew where I had messed up on my best attempt in 2014 on North Twin Sister. I spent 2 weeks researching the route to prevent the same mistakes. But, I found myself nearing the same point again, approaching one of the false summits. I don’t know how I got on the same wrong trail again. It is easier than you think. STAY TO THE LEFT on the west ridge when climbing North Twin Sister.

south twin sister from north twins ridge
south twin sister from ridge
last scramble section on north twin sister
last scramble section

At many points the right side seems easier, but trust me it is not. Once past the first false summit, the actual summit is achievable on the right. Though that route will come with much more intense scrambling (I know, I did it). On the way down I stayed to the right (left on way up) and got all the way back down without issue. I’ve found many people who made the same mistake I did by going right. Stay left, that is the trick to a 2-3 class scramble on the west ridge of North Twin Sister.

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