Tuesday, June 30, 2015

5/25/15, East Ramp, Broken Top

After a fun trip to Mt. McLoughlin with Matt, I was unsure what to do.  He was heading up to South Sister but, I was hoping to ride something new.  Matt and I had been talking about Broken Top the previous day, and I decided I would go check out conditions.  We parted our ways and before long I was watching the sunset, in the Three Sisters Wilderness.   

I got an early start the next morning, aiming for an east facing objective.  Beautiful views in the Oregon Cascades.

I had a sluggish approach but before long was scoping the days objective, the top ramp seen here.

Good views from the top.

Time to shred.

Evidence of boarding.

After a fun run I started the trek home, I even scored some sweat turns on Broken Hand on the way .  Another great day!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

5/24/15, NE Bowl, Mt. McLoughlin

After a poor winter in the Cascades, our snowpack is melting quickly.  Last season I had hoped to shred Mt. Mcloughlin's NE Bowl but, was lazy to make the drive and procrastinated.  This season I was not going to make the same mistake. On May 24th, I met Matt at the trailhead on Saturday night.  We were optimistic of a good corn cycle and got on the trail by 5:45am.

I like signs. 

Southerly aspects had no snow and, we were stoked to see our NE facing objective looking good.

3:45 minutes from the car, we were summit chillin.  Clouds in the valley were making for great views. (Photo: Matt Stouder)

As we prepared to drop, clouds were blowing up the NE bowl and we waited for a moment of clarity before dropping.   Matt waiting his turn.  

After a couple minutes the clouds cleared out and we shredded the bowl.  The snow was good and the slope was fun.  (Photo: Matt Stouder)

Matt shredding, with a giant rock pillar behind.

An all around awesome morning.  A parting shot of Crater lake, seen from Fort Klamath on the drive north.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

5/09/15, Early Morning Couloir, North Sister

After exploring North Sisters East Face on friday, Buell, Drew and I discussed possible objectives for the next day.  The Diller Headwall was ruled out due to a gaping bergschrund, so we decided to head back to North Sister, and check out the "Afternoon Ridge".  

With a North facing objective, we had a leisurely morning leaving the car at 7:30am.  The afternoon ridge is the steep slope, just to the lookers right of the EMC.  

Buell skinning up the NE bowl.

Drew opted out of the Afternoon ridge, and rode some chutes off the Villard Glacier.  Shredder. 

Booting up the Afternoon Ridge, we took our time as the slope was still well frozen.  Reaching the top, we realized our north facing objective would not soften under the early May sunlight.

Our back up option was either the Early Morning Couloir, or the Villard Headwall.  As the EMC had softened from receiving AM sunshine, we decided this would be our decent.  The snow was a little softer than preferred but, with a little sluff management the snow rode well.  

Buell shredding..

I soaked up the view one last time before dropping.  Volcanoes of Santiam Pass. 

After another fun run down the EMC we were hiking back to the car.  North Sister delivers again!

5/08/2015, Thayer, North Sister

After a successful Volcano season last spring, the list of objectives is shorter this year.  On the top of the list is the East face of North Sister, also known as the Thayer.  With a promising weather forecast in early May, Buell and I decided to head out and check the conditions on North Sister.  

Alpine starts aren't so bad… 

Before long we were looking at our objective.  

Conditions looked manageable from a distance.  The snow in the the rocky chute looked crapy but the main face looked smooth.  Our first challenges; bergschrund, 6' runnel, and rockfall.  

We were happy to get through the rocky crux, and reduce our exposure.  Buell climbing.

Looking up the East face.  Unfortunately, snow conditions were not what we had hoped. 

Gaining the ridgeline, the wind was blasting us.  It was obvious that snow conditions in the face/couloir would not cater to a snowboard decent.  We had to come up with a plan B.  We decided to down climb a portion of the West face,  and traverse around the south side of the mountain, to the SE ridge.

After a short detour, we had climbed partway down the SE ridge, and out of the blasting wind.  The snow in these lower chutes was corning up nicely.  We rode the cutes in the center of the frame.  

After an interesting day exploring in the mountains, we were happy to be off the steep slopes and safely harvesting low angle corn.  Another great day in the mountains.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

5/03/15, Finger Chutes, Three Finger Jack

After a fun day on Paulina Peak, my Dad and I headed to Three Finger Jack.  My Dad was not sure if he was up for another day of backcountry touring but, I gently persuaded him into hiking out the next morning.  

We enjoyed beautiful views through the burn trees, on our hike in. 

We were heading up to check out a zone I call the "Finger Chutes".

Recent avalanche crown from last weeks storm.

After booting up a chute to the ridge-line we were soaking in the views. Yeah dude...

He's got the world in his hand.

After a short rest on the ridge it was time to drop.  The snow was corning up nicely, and my Dad ripped it up.

Tele turns in the finger chutes...

Then it was my turn.  I hiked across the ridge to the, "Shark Tooth Chute".

We scored perfect corn for the entire slope.  What a great day of riding!  I am grateful to have shared this awesome day with my father.  

5/02/2015, Paulina Peak

My Dad has been a major supporter of my backcountry snowboarding endeavors and my growing passion of splitboarding. We have talked about going on a trip together for the past couple years but, have not been able to make it happen until this year.  My dad, was able to get 2 days off of work and said he was down to send it.  On Saturday morning, 5/02, we found ourselves at Paulina Lake gearing up for the a hike up Paulina Peak.  

It was a beautiful morning. 

Not a lot of snow on the Eastside.

After a quick hike to the top of the peak we were soaking in the views. 

We took 2 laps in the back bowl, off the main peak.  Not a lot of vertical but, the snow was great.  My Dad, Lance, ripping it up. 

After a great morning of shredding, we headed down to the lake for an afternoon of drinking beers and fishing. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

4/26/2015, Ealy Morning Couloir, North Sister

Ever since riding the Early Morning Couloir last spring, the line has been haunting my dreams.  You can see the couloir from Sisters but, the chute is really nothing like it looks from a distance.  You can not really understand the couloir until you are in it.  It is big, wide open, and steep; an aesthetic run in every sense.  This spring I have been watching the weather and waiting for my opportunity to make an attempt at the EMC with fresh snow.  A series of small storms passed through central Oregon in late April and gave me just the opportunity I was waiting for.  On Sunday, 4/26, Kelcie and I got an early 4:30am start and had a peaceful morning hiking through the Pole Creek burn.   

By sunrise we had hiked the approach, and were soaking in the Volcanic views. 

Looking North it felt like winter with a fresh dusting over Santiam Pass. 

Kelcie skinned to the base of the rocks with me, and rode the lower bowl. 
 Shredder babe in action ; )   

I climbed the Afternoon Ridge to access the couloir.  Clouds started to sock in over the mountains as I climbed, and created this cool Sun Dog. 

I was happy for the cloud cover as it kept the sun from baking the snow in the couloir.  There was 6-12" of snow in the couloir and, I was stoked.   

After dropping the top face, I rode around the dog leg, and traversed to the riders right to let the sluff pass.  Fresh snow in the steep line produced a significant, size 2 sluff.  I was surprised at the amount of snow that rushed past as it produced a powder cloud in the apron.   

Overall an epic day, and everything I had dreamed of.  Also a reminder to respect all avalanche types, even loose snow avalanches as they can have dangerous potential.