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. 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

1/30/2015, Mt. Washington, NW Bowl

In the end of January, high pressure continued to hold over the Pacific Northwest.  With summer roads clear and warm temps forecasted, we were hoping to ride corn on the Central Oregon Volcanos. On Friday 1/30; Drew, Destry, Stratton and I met at Santiam Pass to check out the conditions on Mt. Washington.  We got a semi early start, leaving the trailhead just after 7am, and hiked down the PCT through the burn forest. 

We hiked on the trail for a couple miles before heading directly towards the mountain.  Snow seemed to be continuous so we started skinning.  We were doing our best to stay on more northern aspects but, still found intermittent snow until we were into the main run outs of the NW bowl. 

Lots of this….     

And some more of this...

Eventually we found continuous snow, and got good views of the NW Bowl.  Low tide with lots of lurking sharks. 

We saw movement high on the summit pinnacle, and realized there were a pair of climbers attempting a summit bid.

We discussed our route up the slope, and starting climbing.  Gaining the North Ridge, the Central Oregon views took over.

We reached our high point around 11am, and our objective the NE Bowl was already shaded.  We re-analyzed our options, and decided we would wait for the NW bowl to soften as much as possible.  After a couple hours of bullshitting, it was time to drop.  Destry dropped first and rode the hard slope with ease.  

It wasn't 100% ice-boarding, but maybe %70 ice-boarding.

Drew was next to drop.  (photo: Destry Serna)

Stratton went third.

And I dropped last.  (photo: Destry Serna)

Reaching the bottom of the bowl, Destry built a quarter pipe on one the slopes and started planting hands.  The slopes we came to ride didn't soften but, we were making the best of the conditions.

Destry planting steezy.

After a fun session on the quarter pipe, we rejoined with the PCT and hiked back to the car.  Another great day exploring and snowboarding in the mountains.

Three Finger Jack from the trail home.

Friday, February 6, 2015

1/23 - 1/24/15, Cooper Spur, Mt. Hood

Recently picking up a splitboard, Kelcie has been on the split stoke.  As a part of her Christmas present,  I planned a trip for us to visit the TJ Cabin on the North side of Mt. Hood.  We have been having a poor snow year in the PNW, and I was interested to see what the snow depth and conditions were like on that side of the mountain.  The trail up to the cabin was a mix of skinning and hiking.  Although there was only around 6" of snow, it was just enough snow to allow us to skin through the burn.

Kelcie hiking through the burn. 

Arriving at the cabin we were stoked but, also saddened by the lack of snow.  Visiting this cabin in the winter, i expect it to be covered in snow, and even have the door dug out with snow banks on the side. As you can see, with the slow start to winter, it felt more like a summer trip to the cabin.  

Arriving on Friday afternoon, it was raining.  We went on a hike over to Polallie Canyon, to check out the area.  Not much snow but, a very beautiful area with drastic erosion everywhere.

That night we enjoyed a cozy evening in the cabin; drinking whiskey drinks, enjoying the the wood stove and good company.  The next day, the weather was supposed to clear.  Our plan was to hike up to Cooper Spur and hopefully ride some good corn snow.

It was an easy hike from the cabin, and the weather was perfect.  Temps were warm and the snow was corning nicely.  Unfortunately, the warm temps and rain were also melting the snowpack.  It is hard to see in this picture but, there was visible and audible water movement in the snowpack around 7500'.  A depressing sight in January.

The melting snowpack was depressing but, the views were not.  A good look at the lower crevasse field on the Eliot Glacier.

Mt. Hood, the Upper Eliot Glacier, and Snow Dome.

The last pitch up to Cooper Spur proper was icy.  Kelcie was un-interested in ice boarding, so she opted to wait on the ridge line while I hiked the last bit.  I have never been on Cooper Spur before, and it is always cool to see the mountain from a new perspective. 

The Newton-Clark Glacier, and Mt. Hood. 

Good views to the south.

After snapping some pics, I converted to board mode and rode down.  The snow as nice on the ridge.  I milked some creamy turns before, dropping the ice face back towards Kelcie.

Meeting back up with Kelcie, we were stoked!  The snow was looking prime for our ride back to the cabin.  Buttery corn in January…

Kelcie, ripping it up!

Arriving back at the cabin, it was filling up with tourist.  We were tired but, decided to head back to the car and drive back into the city for tasty burritos at the one and only, SeƱor Taco.

Another great weekend, in the mountains.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

1/16/2015, Central Oregon

In mid January, a much needed storm past through the PNW.  The storm had a general warming trend, but dropped 8" of new snow in the Central Oregon Cascades.  On Friday 1/16, I met Drew at his house in Bend, and we headed up to Mt. Bachelor.  Our plan was to ride to explore around Todd Lake, and hopefully ride some awesome powder!  

Skinning down the road in the morning, Drew watch out for them dawg-sleds player!

On the approach we skinned past this log.  It looked fun, but fatty to flatty.  Neither Drew or I were willing to step up to it.

Drew took me to a cliff zone he had checked out a few times prior.

After scoping things out, we picked a line and prepared to shred.  Drew is ready. 

The new snow had a density inversion near the new/old interface.  This layer was failing on unsupported slopes.  Drew dropping a cliff, with a small crown just to his lookers left. 

The snow was chowdery, but we were having fun.  We set a skinner, and went up for another lap.

Drew smashing the pow, in beautiful Central Oregon. 

After our second lap, we continued exploring.  As the clouds burned off, the Volcanos began to reveal themselves.  South, Middle, and North Sister's in a sea of trees. 

We found a steep zone, with lots of potential.  We did not test the slope due to the new snow instabilities we observed but, look forward to returning on another day.

As the light was fading quickly, we dropped in on a lower angle slope back towards the car.  Skinning out in the dark, we were stoked on a great day of splitboarding.