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!