Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Memorial Day Turns on Barrett Spur

Bohle dropping off of Barrett Spur into 2000+ feet of perfect corn
Over Memorial Day weekend, Mt. Hood delivered again, serving up untracked slopes of perfect corn snow and incredible vistas of Cascade volcanoes.  We departed Portland early on Saturday morning - around 5 am - headed for the wild and free north side of our local volcano.  Our goal was to ski Barrett Spur, a little peak surrounded by the massive glaciers, ice falls and ridge lines of a remote corner of Mt. Hood.  Our efforts paid off, and we harvested several thousand of feet of beautiful spring snow before stopping in Parkdale to drink some local micro brews en route to a not-so-secret but still untrammeled rock climbing crag. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Applegate and Garfield Peaks -> The Wombat

Crater Lake National Park
Smith Rock State Park
Oregon is a state of many faces, marked by a wide diversity of landscapes, from the sand beaches and rocky cliffs of the coastline, up and over the Ring of Fire and the Cascade Crest, to the High Desert of the east.  When you gaze down from far above, all these unique places look so close together, one blending seamlessly into the next as mountains rise of out foothills, and rivers wind themselves in broad arcs across valley bottoms and fertile plains as they had for the ocean.  It can seem like the distant reaches of the state are far away from each other, but in reality all this diversity is crammed into a pretty small package.

And it's a good thing too, because this varied landscape creates some crazy and unpredictable weather.  Sometimes, storms roll in from the Pacific for months on end, and it seems like endless days of powder shots will never last forever (remember the winter of '98-'99).  Other times, like this year, a blocking ridge of high pressure can make Oregon feel more like Colorado for weeks and months at a time.  We are exposed to wide extremes in temperature, precipitation and geography, and its awfully hard to predict when conditions will be good for whatever it is that floats your boat in the outdoors.   

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Photoset from Whitsler, Joffre Lakes

Finding turns in the Joffre Lakes Basin
I celebrated my birthday last weekend with a three-day trip to SW British Columbia, continuing the elusive 2013-14 search for powder snow.  We caught a great day at Blackcomb with 6-10" of fresh snow on top of a very firm base, with clear skies and amazing views.  The masses were stoked!  The next day, we explored the backcountry around Joffre Lakes and found a thin layer of windbuffed powder on top of a very thin, crusty snowpack with lots of exposed rocks.  In a NE facing basin at the height of winter, the light was tough, but I got a few shots of the peaks across the valley and some half decent images in the shade.  The temps were really cold - around 15 deg F - and we had to hike out because of the low snowpack, but we managed to log some mileage on our old-man legs.  On our drive back to Portland, we stopped in at Squamish and checked out the nesting bald eagles down by the Squamish River - so cool!  Coastal BC is drop-dead gorgeous and only a few short hours from Oregon - go check it out!