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.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

1/1-1/4/2015, Elkhorn's, NE Oregon

To start 2015, Patrick, Joey and I headed east from Portland to the Elkhorn Mountain's of Eastern Oregon.  It had not snowed in 3 days but, we were hopeful cold temps would preserve the powder.  Our plan was to stay in the area for three nights.  We drove my recently acquired motorhome and, the stoke was high.

This sign was not here last year.   Avalanche accidents are tragic, and humbling.  They tend to increase funding for professional avalanche forecasts.  Why can't we increase funding before people die?

This is one of my favorite areas to explore, and it is always exciting to see familiar peaks.
Joey and Morgan, scoping the local goods. (Photo: Patrick B)

Our plan was to ride some of the trees in Angel Basin.  There are mellow options on the west slope, or you can step up to the steep tree chutes on the north side.  

Everyday is a good day in Eastern Oregon.

After taking a lap on the west side, we went up for a second run.  On this run, we rode more towards the north side of Angel peak.  Patrick caught a couple of photos of me shredding. (Photo: Patrick B)

(Photo: Patrick B)

(Photo: Patrick B)

The snow was fun, and we were having a great day.  On the our third lap, Joey and I hiked up to the summit of Angel Peak.

The Elkhorn's are beautiful, and with the Strawberry Mountains(I think?), lit as a backdrop, the views were real nice.

After soaking in the views, we dropped in for another awesome lap.  Joey shredding.

That night, we drank beers stoked on powder.  The next day when we woke up, we decided to check out some new zones a little further out.  It was a beautiful day, and felt great to be exploring.  We skinned by this lake and peak on our approach. 

The face on this peak looked fun but, also like a human cheese grater.

Gathering beta on this line was the primary objective of the day.  As the time went on, it continued to climb higher up on the list of objectives. 

We were having fun.  Frosty balls in Eastern Oregon.

Howdy Partner!

After circumnavigating one of the local peaks, we headed closer to LT and rode powder in the trees.  Patrick caught this sweet pic of Joey carving. (photo: Patrick B)

We kept a quick pace and were able to get three laps in.  The riding was still awesome.
Patrick shredding.

After a great weekend, we partied down in LT.  Another great splitboarding trip.  Heres a parting sunset shot. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

11/30/2014, Paradise, Mt. Rainier

In late November, after a Thanksgiving feast with the family, Drew and I headed north to check out Mt. Rainier for.  Neither of us had visited the big volcano and, with a promising weather forecast we decided to head north.  Also,  this was the inaugural trip, of my recently acquired motor home, LT (Little Titan).  We parked outside the park on Friday night, and headed up to Longmire in the morning.  It snowed 8 inches overnight, and the rangers said the gate wouldn't be open until noon due to snow plowing on the road.  We waited around for the gate to open, and eventually at 1:30 the rangers said the gate would not be opening until Sunday.  A lame introduction to the park.  We spent the rest of the day, drinking beers in LT, taking pictures of the local flora, and checking out the tourist attractions. 

Kautz Creek and an unknown peak.

On Sunday morning, we headed back to Longmire.  The gate still was closed, and rangers said it would  open around 11am.  As we waited for the gate to open, the parking lot slowly filled up with tourists.  The gate finally opened around noon, and the rush was on.  Making it up to Paradise at last, we were stoked.  Our goal was to head up to the Panoramic Point, and maybe up on the Paradise Glacier.  It was a busy day on the mountain.  

Ya boy, chillin. (Photo: Drew VaNnice)

The crowds were too much, so we decided to go the other direction.  We weren't sure where we were going, but found a couple fun slopes, and solitude from the crowds.  

Drew scoping things out.

And before long we were booting up the alpine slopes.  The views south were beautiful;  Mt. Adams, the Tatoosh Mountain's. and Mt. Saint Helens. (Photo: Drew VaNnice)

More Beauty; The Tatoosh, Goat Rocks, and Mt. Adams. 

With a late start and short days, the sun was fading quickly.  We dropped in and, were able to surf all the way back to the car. (Photo: Drew VaNnice)

Drew is a boardhead, smashing on trees n shit. 

All in all, a good weekend.  Although the National Park system and crowds were frustrating; LT held it down, and good times were had. 

Rainier on Rainier. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Video Hype: Splitboarding Oregon Volcanos, Spring 2014

Spring splitboarding in the Central Oregon Cascades.  Volcanos in order of appearance:

"The Ramp", Broken Top, 6/06/2014
NE Chute, Mt. Washington, 5/31/2014
"Early Morning Couloir", North Sister, 6/01/2014
Russell Glacier Headwall, Mt. Jefferson, 6/21/2014

Sunday, November 23, 2014

11/15/2014, Tumalo Mountain

In November 2014, early season snow prompted a trip to Central Oregon.  Twenty three inches of new snow was reported at Mt. Bachelor.  On Saturday 11/15, Kelcie and I met Destry on highway 372 at Dutchman Flats.  It was a cold, clear morning, with a temperature around 2 degrees.  Our plan was to hike up Tumalo Mountain, and ride the east bowl. 

A wintry morning view of Mt. Bachelor. 

The East bowl was filled in nicely.  A pair of Skiers had beaten us to the top,  and had already dug a snow pit.  From a stability standpoint, the snapback looked good.  It appeared to consist of only new snow and had a right side up structure.  After discussing with the group, we decided it was good to go. Dropping in for our first run, we knew we had come to the right place. 

Destry throwing up a rooster tale.


… and slashing the POW.

The snow was really good.  The surface crust reported in other areas of the Oregon Cascades was not evident in the East bowl.  We jumped on the skin track, and went up for another run.

Although this gully had been ridden by a couple riders, Destry was not detoured.  He launched an indy poke off this diving board, with ease.

Stoked off Destry's launcher, I decided to drop in between the rocks at the top of the bowl.  Did I mention the snow was good!?  Destry, caught this picture of me, lost in the white room.
(Photo: Destry Serna) 

And carving lower down on the slope.

(Photo: Destry Serna)

With cold, clear weather, and light wind; conditions were perfect.  Thoroughly enjoying ourselves, we did 5 laps on the east bowl.  Kelcie hadn't ridden powder this deep in a couple years but, by the end of the day was carving it up like a veteran. 

On our last run, Destry told me he wanted to get a "powder explosion" photo.  He told me where to slash, and I did my best to blast the snow.

This "powder explosion" ensued.

(Photo: Destry Serna)

It was a great early season day, to pump up the stoke.  A parting view of the South Sister, Middle Sister, and Broken Top solidified an awesome day.  

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

11/07 - 11/08/14, Mt. Hood, West Crater Rim

In early November 2014; after weeks of in and out weather,  and up and down freezing levels, a brief moment of clarity crossed Oregon and Mt. Hood.  In the AM of 11/07, with promising conditions for getting high on the Volcano, Cameron and I met at timberline lodge.  Our goal was to gain Mt. Hood's Summit Ridge, and snowboard down the "Old Chute".  After a short delay, we were hiking out of Timberline Lodge around 7am.    

The sunrise was casting a cool, orange light onto Mt. Hood. 

 On Mt. Hood, the views to the south are always awesome.

After a few hours of hiking we were getting close to Crater Rock.  We hiked into the crater, took a quick rest, and continued our push up to the Old Chute. 

Focus and careful footwork paid off, and before long we were soaking in the views from the Crater Rim.  Cam, checking things out.

The weather was great and so were the views.  The view North, Washington Volcanoes; Mt. Saint Helens, Mt. Rainier, and Mt. Adams snow-covered. 

The snow conditions in the old chute were looking sup-bar (rimed, frozen, chicken head features), so we opted to down climb the ridge to the more east facing slopes of the crater.

Unfortunately, the chute we ended up riding also had rimed ice features in it, and it was steep.  We were able to descend this chute, but through some sort of snowboard rappel.  In the process I got my Ice axe stabbed into the middle of the chute, as I scrapped down into the crater.  Without an Ice Axe, the slope was to frozen and to steep, to switch to crampons.  I rode further into the crater to meet with Cam, to discuss the options.  He had to be back in the city by 4, and needed to head back to the car but, said I could borrow his ice axe the next day.  I didn't want to leave my ice axe on the side of the mountain but, also didn't want to attempt to climb the 50+ degree ice chute with no-one else around.   

Ultimately, I decided to ride back to the car with Cameron and leave my ice axe in the side of the mountain.  Although the slopes around the crater rim were heavily rimed, the lower crater and the zig-zag had perfect snow.  Cameron dropping by crater rock. 

Getting on the Zig-Zag, we traversed over to Illumination rock and launched off the mini-cliffs. 
Cameron catching some air. 

With high pressure forecasted for the following day,  the homies Drew, Destry and I had plans to get out.  We had discussed possible objectives but, knowing there was perfect corn to be had on the Zig-Zag Glacier, the choice was easy.  We decided to hike up to the Hogs Back, see if the upper slopes might soften, and ride the West Crater onto the Zig-Zag.

Drew's first tour of the season, and he is STOKED. 

Warm temps overnight, helped the snow soften significantly more than the day before.  We were able to skin all the way into the crater.  After a quick break, we threw on the crampons, and booted the Hogs Back into the West Crater.  Destry hiking in the foreign landscape. 

From the Crater, I could see my ice axe still jabbed into the chute we had defended our way down the previous day.  With the soft snow conditions, and a borrowed ice axe from Cameron, I decided I would attempt to climb up and retrieve my gear.  With good purchase and supportive snow conditions, it was easy to boot directly up the steep chute.  Destry caught this picture of me climbing towards the lost axe.

(photo: Destry Serna)

After retrieving my ice axe, I booted up to the ridge, and switched over to my snowboard.  With good corn snow in the chute, I decided to get redemption on the chute, which required survival snowboarding the day before.  Its amazing what snow conditions can do to your perception of a slope;  a chute that was terrifying one day, was effortless to ride the next.  

(photo: Destry Serna)

On the hike up, Drew and I were scoping out a steep slope lower down on the Craters Western Ridgeline.  Im not sure what the slope is called, but it is aesthetic.  The snow was good in the crater, and I knew it would be good on this slope too.  I waved to Destry and Drew, indicating I was going to ride the slope.  I pulled out my ice axe, snowboard repelled myself down two exposed rime features, and was ready to go.   

The view across the exposed traverse. 

With my adrenaline flowing, I didn't waste time and dropped into the slope. Destry caught this photo of me dropping in. 

(photo: Destry Serna)

After ripping down the steep slope in minimal turns, I stopped and took some pictures of Destry and Drew shredding.  Destry carving, with my tracks lurking in the background.

Destry looking steezy, carving the Zig-Zag.

After an awesome ride down the Zig-Zag, we began our traverse back to the car.  The lower slopes of Mt. Hood are hurting for snow, and very rocky but, fun nonetheless.  Lots of rock jumps and surfy lip features.

Drew launching….

…and putting down a surfy layback.

Good snow, great snowboarding, and awesome views!  What a way to start the season!  Now we just need some more snow...