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...

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

9/13/2014, Mt. Hood, Snow Dome

After a fun summer; filled with skateboarding, river sessions, and camping the stoke is growing for winter.  My new lady friend, Kelcie, showed interest in going on hike and doing some snowboarding.  Naturally, I was down.  I told her, this time of year is plagued with long approaches and poor snow conditions but, she wasn't discouraged.  On the second weekend in September, we headed to the North side of Mt. Hood, to check out the conditions on Snow Dome.  Last summer, the road up to Clad Cap Campground was closed.   With it opening up this summer, it was awesome to get easy access to this side of the Mountain. 

Mt. Hood's North side.

We camped on the E. Fork Hood River on Friday night, and drove up to Cloud Cap in the morning.  An hour out of the campground, we had made good progress, and were hiking the trail down onto the Moraine.  The views were nice.  

We hiked up to the shelf on the Eliot Glacier.  We checked things out, and found a suitable place to cross the crevasse field.  We didn't cross on this section, but I was able to squeeze in a good picture.

After a successful glacier crossing, we were rocking it up to, snow, on Snow Dome.  

Being September 13th, the snow was sun-cupped.  Kelcie, hiking up Snow Dome, with the Eliot Glacier in the background.

It was nice to get into the mountains after a multi month vacation.  Trips into the mountains like these are so awesome, they help to keep everything in perspective.

After soaking in the views, we decided to drop.  With sup-par snow conditions, we only hiked halfway up Snow Dome.

No riding pictures, because the riding was nothing special.  Here's a picture of our "tracks" from the hike out.  

After an interesting snowboarding run, we crossed the Eliot Glacier, and hiked back to the campground.  It was an awesome trip.  the Eliot Glacier is really spectacular.  The stoke for winter is steadily growing.  A parting shot of the Eliot and Mt. Hood as the sun fades away.       

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Video Hype: Mt. Thielsen, NW Couloir

Splitboarding the NW Couloir of Mt. Thielsen, in Southern Oregon.  The combination of fresh snow and sunshine made for near perfect conditions! See full trip report here.  

Monday, June 30, 2014

6/21/2014, Mt. Jefferson, Russell Glacier Headwall

Oregon doesn't suck; it is late June, the weather has been mostly clear and warm, but not hot, and the adventure opportunities are endless.  Recently, among other things, I have been split between skateboarding our awesome skateparks and snowboarding on our stratovolcanoes.  When Buell emailed me and asked if I was interested in checking out a new area on Mt. Jefferson,  my response was obvious, I was in.  Mt. Jefferson is the 2nd tallest mountain in Oregon, has steep aesthetic lines, but sees little human traffic due to its remote access, and well… its big steep faces.   

On the night of June 20th, Buell and I met at the Pamela Lake Trailhead, and prepared for a long day.  Our objective was to check out the NW side of the mountain and potentially ride on the Russell Glacier.  With an extra long approach, we got and early start in the morning, and kept a quick pace on the trail.  After some solid trail time, it was time to go uphill.  Hiking up the steep slopes on the mountains NW side, we got a unique view of the Milk Creek drainage.  Notice the downed trees high up on the drainages steep sidewalls.  It makes you think about the avalanches that rip down Jefferson's west face in the winter.  How big is big?? because the potential is gnarly. 

Downed trees high up in Milk Creek.     

After hitting snow, we put on our boots and kept hiking.

 Booting up the "NW Rib".

Good views looking to the South.

Good views looking to the North. (look closely to see Mt. Saint Helen's, Mt. Rainier, and Mt. Adams)

Getting on the ridge bordering the Russell Glacier, we took a break as clouds were keeping the snow frozen.  Heres a cool picture of a bergschrund.

Central Oregon Cascades.

An hour or so later the sun burned off most of the clouds, so we continued climbing.

We had scoped out a nice looking chute on the Russell Glacier Headwall, but weren't sure that it went through.  Getting to the our access point on the ridge, we still couldn't tell if the chute went through.  Buell rode partway down the steep slope, got a good view down the crux of the line, and gave me the thumbs up.

Buell caught these pictures of me shredding.  (photo: Buell Steelman)

(Photo: Buell Steelman)

Getting out of the chute, I turned around and snapped some pictures of Buell carving down.

Steep chute on the Russell Headwall.

After regrouping, we wasted no time and quickly rode down the Russell Glacier.  This glacier has serious exposure to rockfall, even far down on the glacier where you would expect it to be safe.  I didn't feel comfortable stopping, so I took this picture of Buell while we were riding west, and towards the safer slopes.

WOW… WE JUST FREAKING RIPPED THAT!!!! (photo: Buell Steelman)

Looking back at the Russell Headwall, we rode the crooked chute in the center of the photo.

At the bottom of the Glacier, we regained the ridgeline, and booted up to a west facing chute.  Its always nice to get two runs on a volcano mission.  Buell dropping in.

We leaped from our way down the chute.  Buell took these photos of me carving. (photo: Buell Steelman)

(photo: Buell Steelman) 

Buell carving down another great run, Three Finger Jack in the background.

Stoked after an awesome day, we took a quick break, and prepared for the hike back to the car.  Travel was pretty easy, except for a steep half mile section of bushwhack to connect with the PCT.  I took this picture of Buell mid-shwack.  You probably can't see him, but he is in there.

 What a great day in a new area, this is what Oregon split boarding is all about!