Even though high pressure has been keeping conditions firm, Kip had an idea for a traverse from Sawtooth into Little Granite Creek, down Peak 8620′ into Scotch Creek, then down Ruby. I thought it was a great idea. After strategic rig shuttling we began the slog up Falls Creek to Sawtooth.
Sacajawea, 9838′, is the tallest peak in the Wallowa mountains, and sixth highest in Oregon. I’ve been meaning to get up there, so when Aaron asked if I wanted to go I jumped at the opportunity. We had excellent weather, great travel conditions and good snow. Great day to be on top of the Wallowas.
Only managed to get one picture, Aaron and Devin are superfit dudes so on the rare occasion we stopped I used it to catch my breath.
Sometimes things just don’t work out. There’s a classic couloir I’ve been watching all season waiting for conditions to line up and I was sure Monday was going to be the day.
Tysen and I left Joseph at 0230 and began the slog. Firm snow made for effortless skinning, a light breeze kept us cool, and with the world shrunk down to what’s in front of your headlamp you really have nothing to do but go fast. All these factors helped us make good time and we hit the alpine with the sun.
We hit the couloir’s apron and immediately knew we wouldn’t be skiing it today. The past few days’ warm sun had baked the couloir’s rock walls, filling the gut with mashed potatoes. Ugh. I knew there would be a little, but didn’t expect this much. So we slogged on and hunted for a plan b.
Bummer we didn’t get our objective, but still had a great day out.
You get an awesome view of Hurwal Divide from the Imnaha highway, and every time I see it I think of how good the skiing must be up there. At 9,776′ the northern peak of the divide is the seventh highest in Oregon, which sweetens the pot a bit.
Took advantage of the clear skies and went for a walk in the alpine last Saturday. A lot of naturals out there on all aspects and a thin rain crust all the way up to 8800′ where I topped out. Good skiing conditions in protected areas above 7000′. I got a couple shooting cracks on wind slabs failing at the crust layer and easily got them to run on test slopes.
A few pics of the carnage from the last cycle.
My preferred method for water crossings is to hurl my skis and pack to the opposite bank and find a log or some rocks to shimmy across. The best part about this method is once you throw your skis and pack across you now have an incentive to get across the water. Of course, it also relieves some weight off your back to be able to pull off some ninja moves on those tricky logs.
Sometimes it’s tough to find a good spot and you just gotta make do.
Conditions have been mixed bag to terrible lately. We’ve encountered slush, crusts, mashed potatoes, mank, avy debris, rain, and even some skiable stuff.
We’re finding some great skiing out there even though we’re keeping slope angles low.
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It’s been a painfully slow start to the season, but it’s finally starting to resemble winter out there. Tysen and I checked out the No Joke couloir on Craig and found fantastic skiing conditions.