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South Sister, A Central Oregon Volcano by David Stockton

Central Oregon is well known as one of the North West's premier settings for outdoor recreation: Skiing on Mt. Bachelor, white water rafting on the Deschutes River and summer hiking and climbing on South Sister, the volcanic guardian of the Three Sisters Wilderness.

In this completely revised and updated profile of Oregon's third-tallest peak, author David Stockton explains why, although it is considered one of the Three Sisters trio of mountains, South Sister stands alone, both as a hiking and climbing destination, and as a volcano with high potential for one day reawakening to full eruptive activity. This volume pictures many high-altitude photos of South Sister as well as climbing routes hand illustrated by the author himself.

South sister is described here with a close look at its volcanic history, its popular status as one of the North West's most popular alpine summits, its relationship to the community of Bend and the surrounding area, and when this restless giant may again explode to violent life.

This book contains a glossary of geologic terms related to Oregon volcanoes and a list of four classic books about the classic geology and classic climbing routes of the volcanoes of the Three Sisters Wilderness.
--Hand illustrations and photos by the author, except as indicated. Copyright© 2013 by David Stockton. All Rights Reserved.




South Sister, Wanderings on an Oregon Volcano by David Stockton


I was lucky enough to have a friend show me a copy of this charming book, spiral bound and reproducing the fine drawings and hand printed text of David Stockton. This little book conveys the independent spirit of those who seek the high places on this planet and is truly a depiction of the joy of traditional mountaineering.

David's original edition reproduces the light blue lines of his spiral note book. The drawings and text are flawless, yet they give one a feeling of sharing David's most personal thoughts surrounding his many climbs 5,000 feet up a non-technical but physically and mentally demanding wilderness mountain, to the 10,358 foot summit.

I respect his views about climbing alone; I hope to introduce him to a new route on South Sister next summer.  I share his view that the Northwest Forrest Pass is unfair and that Congress should fund trails as they have always done in the past. The wild recreation confirmed in the Wilderness Act should not be "prostituted into theme parks where you must now pay to get in". I agree with David that Bend Oregon is a wonderful place to live.


Text and images Copyright© 2003 by David Stockton. All Rights Reserved.

This inexpensive soft-cover book belongs in the library of every Traditional Mountaineer. You can get a copy at the Paulina Springs Book Co. in Sisters, The Book Barn, the Oregon Store in the Bend River Mall, Central Oregon Welcome Center and Mountain Supply.
--Bob Speik

Local author finds his muse while 'Wandering on an Oregon Volcano'
By Jim Witty
The Bulletin

"South Sister: Wanderings on an Oregon Volcano" is about David Stockton's love affair with a mountain.

Stockton, who has lived in Bend since 1993, has climbed South Sister numerous times and clearly has a deep appreciation for the 10,358-foot peak and the Central Oregon Cascades.

His is not a climbing guide.

Rather, Stockton includes some route information along with his own story, beginning with a childhood encounter with the mountain in a photo book (by Central Oregon photographer Ray Atkeson) to summers spent climbing and exploring it.

At 39 pages, it's a brief, informative and nicely written paean to the most courted of the three sisters. It's so personal that the soft cover is painstakingly hand written in Stockton's meticulous penmanship.

"Handwriting is kind of a lost art," said Stockton. "Anyone can go on a word processor. I wanted to do something with my own hand"

The slight volume includes a chapter on the ritual of climbing South Sister, a geologic overview of the mountain, a look at its cultural history, his first encounter, wanderings and a glimpse of South Sister's volcanic underpinnings.

"I probably will never find adequate words to convince the skeptics that my ascents of this volcano are logical or even worthwhile," Stockton writes. "More importantly, I have no interest in trying. All I can say is that climbing South Sister is a vital ritual in my life, and is an integral part of my raison d'etre. Criticize it, if you like, question it if you must, but it is something I will continue to do for as long as I have the strength. Because it is there. And because it sets me apart."

Stockton is a climber and a medical transcriptionist. He lives in Bend with his wife, Kathryn, and son, Brandon.

"South Sister" is available at the Book Barn, the Central Oregon Welcome Center, Paulina Springs Book Company in Sisters, Mountain Supply and at It retails for $6.





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South Sister, Middle Sister, North Sister (the sinister Sister) and Broken Top, west of Bend, Oregon
Copyright© 2004 - 2013 by Robert Speik. All Rights Reserved.