#16 Climb a Mountain: Completed

By Sean Ogle •  Updated: 09/01/09 •  6 min read

Did you know that it was possible for alarms to go off at 2:30 in the morning? Until Saturday, I had no clue. However, that is what needed to happen in order for me to accomplish #16 on my list: climb a mountain. It was a two and a half hour drive to the Devil’s Lake Trail head, just outside of Bend, Oregon. The goal was to hike the South Sister, which is the third highest peak in Oregon at 10,358 feet.

I don’t think I have been on a hike over 5 miles in the last 5 years, so I was unsure as to exactly how this whole thing would go. My question was quickly answered in the first 10 minutes of hiking, as my lungs felt like they were going to explode and my calves were already burning as I made the uphill trek.

The first mile and a half was supposed to be “the easy part”. Since when is the easy part straight up? It took about half an hour to reach the top of the first ridge, at which point my heart sank. As we reached the top, we got our first view of the mountain we were going to climb.

It was 1) way bigger than the pictures made it out to be and 2) it was still a long freaking ways away.

Our first view of the mountain after a mile and a half uphill climb

Our first view of the mountain after a mile and a half uphill climb

After the physical exertion I had just put myself through, I felt as though I should already be halfway UP THE MOUNTAIN. No such luck. We did however get a chance to walk through a beautiful meadow with some pretty incredible views as we made our way to the base of the mountain.

On a side note, I was shocked how many younger kids there were doing this. Parents must think it is funny to put their kids through hell, and call it a “vacation”. With the exception of the energizer-bunny-kid (a five year old that I swear could have ran up the mountain in 15 minutes), every person under the age of 12 I saw looked absolutely miserable. Actually, I take that back. Every single person I saw looked miserable.

Once we finally reached the mountain, things didn’t get any easier. It was about this time I realized how out of shape I really was. You know you have a problem where you have to rest after every 20 or so steps you take. We spent the next hour and a half trying to follow a poorly marked trail through boulder fields and 50 mph wind gusts and ended up going losing the trail on multiple occasions. However, we quickly realized that as long as we were going up, we were headed in the right direction.

If there is one thing I learned it is that mountains can be very deceiving. Just when you think you have reached the top, you crest a ridge only to realize that you still have a long ass ways to go. This happened to us as we reached beautiful cirque lake and noticed that the worst part was yet to come.

The ridge that we still had to climb, after we thought we had reached the top

The ridge that we still had to climb, after we thought we had reached the top

The next hour and a half would be a constant battle to get up a 45 degree rock scree which was the final push to get to the summit. It was two steps up and one step back the entire way up. Luckily we were one of the first people on the trail, so I didn’t have to worry about a pack of 12 year olds putting me to shame; which is inevitably what would have happened.

As we reached the top, the mountain decided to play another little trick on us. After completing the mile long crawl up the scree you notice there is a large glacier at the top, and to reach the true summit you have to hike all the way around it. Crap. At least at this point we could see the top.

The actual summit in the distance across the glacier

The actual summit in the distance across the glacier

This was actually the easiest and most satisfying part of the trip. It would only be another 20 or so minutes until we had crossed the glacier and were sitting atop the summit eating what had to be the best sandwich of my life.

So this is what it feels like to be on top of a mountain!

So this is what it feels like to be on top of a mountain!

The other two Sisters as seen from the Summit

The other two Sisters as seen from the Summit

After a quick nap, it was time to continue our journey and get back down the mountain, which was actually much more difficult than I had anticipated. That same loose rock that we battled with on the way up would prove to be just as much of an issue on the way down, as we basically skated down the mountain trying to dodge the steady flow of climbers trying to reach the peak. However at this point you couldn’t help but feel good about the fact that the hardest part was over, and all the people you were passing were still going through hell.

Climb a mountain - check!

Back down the rock scree

Brian Theobald and Sean Ogle after the climbed the South Sister

Brian and I towards the end of the hike

As a whole the trip was a fantastic experience. It was a gorgeous day, and a part of Oregon that I hadn’t been to in a long time. To say that I am sore now is a bit of an understatement, but that is a small price to pay to know that I have completed another item on an ever-growing list of things I wish to accomplish in my life.

One quick note, I also took a bunch of video of the climb,  so hopefully by the end of the week I will have a video posted of the trip to go along with this post.

Also, another milestone is that this is the 50th post here at Location180.  Thanks for everyone who has helped to make this community as great as it is, and for the encouragement to help me get to where I want to be!

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Sean Ogle

Sean Ogle is the Founder of Location Rebel where he has spent the last 12+ years teaching people how to build online businesses that give them the freedom to do more of the things they like to do in life. When he's not in the coffee shops of Portland, or the beaches of Bali, he's probably sneaking into some other high-class establishment where he most certainly doesn't belong.
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18 comments on "#16 Climb a Mountain: Completed"

  1. Dena says:

    Wow! What an absolutely gorgeous journey! This is truly inspirational. Congratulations on your success and thank you so much for sharing these beautiful photographs & words.

  2. Way to go, Sean!

    Congrats on your accomplishment.


  3. Nate says:

    Dude. Those pictures are amazing. Looks like it was an awesome hike! If I ever make my way out to Oregon I’m going to definitely check that out.

    1. Sean says:

      Thanks for the comments everyone! Nate, it is definitely worth doing if you ever make it out here. There is a ton of cool stuff to do in the Bend area, pretty much any kind of outdoor activity imaginable…

  4. Jen says:

    Great pictures and post!
    Thanks Sean, so inspiring …I’ve just started a list over at my blog, it’s good to share them with other’s isn’t it? Look forward to completing some awesome stuff like you!

  5. Paul Norwine says:

    Sean – this is a great post, brotha! It’s been a while since I’ve been out and about on a mountain but now I’m itching to get back out there. Those pics are incredible. I take it you didn’t jump in the pond / lake for a little swim? 🙂


    1. Sean says:

      @Paul There actually was someone swimming in one of the other lakes nearby…it was hot out, but I am not sure it was hot enough to be swimming in nothing but snow melt!

      @Dave I would love to climb in Yosemite. Smith Rock near Bend has some awesome rock climbing, but I imagine it can’t compare to half dome….not sure I will ever be good enough to do the entire climb though.

      @Jen Thanks for the comment! I will look forward to reading about the progress on your list!

  6. Dave says:

    That looks awesome. I really need to start hiking again…I love doing it. I have climbed half dome in Yosemite and that was amazing. I am going to have to do a right up on that one day. Those mountains look beautiful. I was in Bend, Oregon back in 2004 for a wedding but I missed out on all the outdoor adventures. One day….


  7. Karen says:

    Congrats on the 50th post! That’s almost as awesome as climbing a mountain!

    Your story brought back painful memories of climbing Mt. Tallac… back when I lived up in Lake Tahoe. It sounds like a very similar mountain, and was the toughest hike I’ve ever done. Mountains are incredibly deceitful. Every time you think you are done, you look up and there’s another place to summit!! But, I know how it feels so awesome to know that you’ve accomplished such a great climb… and can check another # off your list! Good job. 🙂


  8. Corbett Barr says:

    Congrats, Sean. I love that you’re literally out there accomplishing your dreams and writing about it here. It’s very inspiring. I hadn’t thought much about climbing a mountain (never have), but this just put it on my radar. I can’t wait to see which items from your list you tackle next.

  9. Bryan says:

    Hey Sean,

    I have been really looking for your post and another achievement of your bucket list! I read it on the way to work today in the morning, and your message was so inspiring and just exciting that I could stayed alive haha (today was the most exhaustive). As an outdoor activity fanatic, I will follow your path hiking the mountain in LA area to get the feeling of conquering.

    Thanks for such an inspiration and great walk-through posts with beautiful pictures.

    Talk with you soon,

  10. Colin Wright says:

    One more item off the list, one more fantastic set of pictures and memories, and one more metaphorical (though in this case, also literal) mountain climbed.

    I really need to put together my own bucket list, since you seem to be having such a good time working your way through yours!

  11. Glad to see another goal off your list. I REALLY have to make a list of my own. Every time you mention anything about it I get really inspired.

    This post wouldn’t have been nearly as good if you didn’t take pictures. The one at the top of the mountain makes me want to climb a mountain. That is such an amazing view and the weather that day makes it look even more tempting. I think I’ll throw together a list now!

    Thanks for posting this and I can’t wait to check out the videos!

  12. Sophia says:

    Great job Sean. My dog and I hiked a small “mountain” where I live the other day and we felt like we’d conquered the world….thanks for the pics and post. Can’t wait to see what the next item to be crossed off is 😉

  13. Casey says:

    Congrats. Those are some awesome photos. My favorite is the one of the other peaks.

    By the way, alarms really work at 2:30am? I will just take your word for it.

  14. Nice! Back down the rock picture is my favorite. Next up, Mt. Denali or Kilimanjaro?

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