Sunday, March 15, 2015

3/07/2015, Ruby to Bentho's Couloirs, Wallowa

After a fun day on Friday 3/06, Destry, Drew and I were stoked to get out again on Saturday.  We felt good about stability, and decided to go for a big day in the Northern Wallowa.  After going back and for about objectives we headed up the access road for Ruby Peak.  We got up early in the morning and were on the trail around 630.

The first step of the day was to climb this couloir to the ridge line. 

Actually… the first step was to bushwhack up to the base of the couloir.  

The bushwhack didn't last forever though. 

After gaining the ridge line, we dropped into the next drainage and traversed to distant cirque.  Evidence of the warm temps and growing strength of the sun.

Impressive debris for a point release. 

Lots of hiking, and the views were real nice. 

We came to check out this zone. 

Dropping into the cirque we scored a nice chute'r.  Drew carving. 

Destry gettin' his.

Our objective was this classic couloir.  Narrow, sustained steep, and walled with rock.  

The snow wasn't perfect powder in the chute, it was wind effected but, would suffice for a snowboard decent.  Turnin' up.

Getting to the top we soaked in the views and prepared to descend.  I dropped third and didn't get any good riding shots except for this one of Destry dropping in. 

Looking back after an awesome run.  We rode the narrow couloir in center left of the photo. 

We booted out of the cirque and started the trek home.  Evidence of boarders. 

Returning back to Ruby's ridgeline, we dropped into the couloir we booted in the morning.  It held great recycled powder, and was a truly awesome run.  Drew surfing… 


And getting barreled. 

Another awesome trip to Eastern Oregon.  A parting shot from the Wallowa Valley.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

3/06/2015, Pyramid Peak, Wallowa

Finding good snow in Eastern Oregon at the end of February, Drew, Destry and I were stoked to head back into the area and see what conditions were like in the Wallowa.  We headed east for a 3 day weekend, and our first day, 3/06, we checked out the conditions in the Wing Ridge area. 

Drew and the 7 devils. 

Wing Ridge.

We were interested to see what the snowpack was like on North facing slopes. We dug 2 pits on a North facing slope at 8000'.   The average snow depth was 80cm, and the snowpack consisted of almost entirely faceted grains.  It had snowed 6-9" a week before our trip, this snow seemed to be settled.  The rest of the snowpack was loose facets, showing some layers, but was of consistent (4F) hand density.  We repeatedly received ECTN30 scores on extended column tests, and with high CT scores, showing non planar shear qualities we felt good about snow stability. 


We dropped the North face of Pyramid Peak.  Drewing carving around...

…throwing waves of snow.

Destry dropped next, and made good work of the slope.  Rooster tailin'.

And pow smashing.

It was a great day, with surprisingly good snow conditions. 

2/28 - 3/01/2015, Elkhorn Moutains

In late February, a much needed storm was passing through the PNW.  Feeling un-interested in the cascades, Destry, Patrick and I headed to Eastern Oregon in the search of powder.  We were rewarded with beautiful weather, fun terrain, and awesome snow. 

After scoping conditions on 2/27, we felt good about stability, and on 2/28 we started the day off with this Couloir. 

Destry carving.

Yours truly. (photo: Destry Serna)

Pat, ripping it up.

After a fun lap we bumped up to the ridge and climbed a neighboring peak.  Destry and Pat, dropped another Couloir, and I dropped into a chute on the NE aspect.

Destry dropping.

NE shred-age.  (Photo: Destry Serna)

A great day.  The next day we went after this chute'r, a couple of drainages away. 

Conditions were looking great again.  I brought my verts on this tour,  as I knew we were going directly up the chute.

After a scenic tour and boot, we were soon looking down another pow filled chute.  Not a bad place to be.

We climbed to the summit ridge, and found a nice perch to transition.  Destry dropped first, and ripped it up.

And carving in the apron. A great run to cap another awesome trip. 

2/14/2015, Mt. Thieslen, Southwest face

After a fun day on North Sister, on 2/13; Drew and I dropped Kelcie off in Sisters, grubbed down, and got ready for touring the next day.  Our plans were to meet some friends at Mt. Thielsen, and ride the SW Face.  We were going to be in a big group, 7 people, but with lots of collective experience and humility the dynamic was still manageable.  My camera was out of commission for this weekend, and the homies were kind enough to share their photos with me.

With a late spring snowpack, there was a lot of this on the approach. (photo: Drew VanNice)

Southern Oregon beauty.  (Photo: Drew VanNice)

We climbed to the highest rideable point, just below the summit pinnacle.  After a quick transition we dropped into the SW Face.  Drew caught me carving past him.  (Photo: Drew VanNice)

Drew also caught this awesome pic of Destry shredding.   (Photo: Drew VanNice)

After riding the SW face, we booted back up to the NW Ridge.  With re-crystalized powder on the North facing slopes, we set a booter in the bowl, and launched off the cornice a couple of times.  Method Air. (Photo: Destry Serna)

  A great day in Southern Oregon.

2/13/15, North Sister, South Bowl

Working a full time job this winter, along with other things has kept me a busy man.  I have not had time to post anything on the blog in a while, so now I am playing catch up.  In February, the west coast drought was in full effect, and the mid-winter volcano season, was on.  On 2/13/15, Kelcie, Drew, and I went to check out the conditions on North Sister.

Ya boyz, scoping.  (photo: Kelcie Rosendahl)

We utilized a cool spine/moraine feature as a fast-track to North Sister's South bowl. (photo: Drew VanNice)

We booted up the South Bowl for about 1000', until the snow was starting to get rimed.  We wanted to climb to the top of the bowl, but since conditions looked crappy we decided to drop from our point on the ridge.  We scored perfect corn, on a consist 40 degree pitch, for 1000' feet.  Drew caught this pic of me dropping over the convexity onto the slope.  (photo: Drew VanNice)

After that, we did a quick boot to get onto the Hayden glacier.  The snow was soft and smooth.  We had perfect corn all the way back to the trail.  

Kelcie carving, with North Sister behind.   Another great day. 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

1/31/2015, North Sister, South Ridge South Chutes

After finding hard snow on Mt. Washington on 1/30, Destry, Stratton, and I decided we needed to stick to South facing slopes the following day.  Knowing the road to the Pole Creak Trailhead was clear, we decided to check out the conditions on North Sister.  Hiking through the Pole Creak burn was reminiscent of spring trips.  

Heading into the land of dinosaurs.  

North Sister offers arguably, the most aggressive riding of any Oregon Volcano.  The Thayer and Early Morning Couloir seen here.

Before long, we were off the trail and skinning towards the south facing slopes of North Sister.  The views in this area are great, South Sister was strutting her stuff.

Stratton doesn't have a splitboard, and was hiking with a solid board.  Up into the Volcano's we go.

Our goal was to ride these mid-elevation, south facing chutes. 

We re-grouped in a safe zone, threw on the crampons, and started up the slope. Beautiful views of the Sisters and Broken Top.

The chute we booted up was about a 1000' vertical and gained the ridge bordering the Thayer at 9000'. It was awesome to get a good look at these slopes, and gather beta for future trips.



Destry and Stratton wanted to ride the chute we booted up, while I was scoping a chute across the slope.  I booted up the ridge for 100' or so, and could see the entrance to my chute.  It was 2:00 pm and the slope was creamy corn.  Destry and Stratton dropped first.

I missed Destry on the way down but, caught this photo of Stratton ripping it up.

After watching Destry and Stratton, it was my turn.  There was a short exposed traverse to gain access to the chute.  This was the view from my perch. 

My adrenaline was pumping when I traversed into the chute.  After a couple of turns, the snow was perfect, and my confidence was regained.  An awesome run.  Destry caught these pictures of me riding. (photo: Destry Serna)

(Photo: Destry Serna)

We regrouped in the same safe zone that we transitioned in earlier.   I caught this picture of the dudes party boarding.

After a round of high-fives, we kept shredding.  Destry carving.

We were able to snowboard traverse a good portion of the hike to the car.  Another awesome trip from Pole Creek.  Mt. Jefferson and Mt. Hood seen on the hike out.