Title: June 2, 2003, Mount Hood (11,239), Mazama Face
Post by: MW88888888 on 06/14/03, 07:36 PM
Volcano #1- Volcano Tour 2003
Ski Descent: 5,239 VF
Distance: 6 miles round trip
On Sunday night, June 1st, I picked Paul up at the Anacortes ferry dock. He was just back from a hard three day sea kayak, and ready for a little R&R. Little did he realize he just left the frying pan for the fire. I pointed out the stellar weather forecast for the week -California-like high pressure, unheard of in early June - and introduced him to my plan of skiing multiple Volcanoes in the coming week. Perhaps it was because we had just met (Paul was a friend of my brother) or perhaps my brothers recommendation of Paul as a strong teammate was spot on, in either case, he nodded and smiled his approval - willfully ignoring the soreness of paddling 50 miles around the islands - and we both drove down to the Sea-Tac airport to pick up the third member of the Volcano Tour 2003.
Brother Wayne was fresh from training for the Vermont Marathon and soon became the athletic soul of the trip. His enthusiasm for skiing in June was infectious and quickly dispelled the fog hanging over Paul and I, who had been circling the airport for an hour waiting for his flight to arrive. Wayne became the pace setter, Paul the de faco photographer, and I, well, the chauffer and chief logician. Our little team was motivated, strong and ready for action. We left the airport at a dreadful late hour, and decided Mount Hood would make a great first stop because of the high access and stupid route finding on the dog route, the South Side. All this and a 5,000 VF ski! We arrived at Timberline Lodge at 2:30 am and slept in the car in the overflow lot listening to the pleasant sound of the snow groomers churning the frozen snow of the ski slopes close to our beds.
At 4:30 am Monday morning, we were off. The snow was hard right from the parking lot and we could easily walk up the groomed snow without crampons. We thought that we had the mountain relatively to ourselves - it was a Monday after all - until the roped parties emerged from hidden snow slopes and filed onto the Hogback, climbing like a line of ants up to and then above the 'schrund. Rats. Luckily, most of the climbers were descending by the time we reached the Hogback and only a couple of stragglers marred our ascent of this infamous section of the regular route. At 10:30 am we summited in sunshine and light breezes, a glorious summit day that was a precursor for more to come.
We decided the main ski down through the Pearly Gates was out of the question because of the threat of traffic and poor snow, and the memory of last years tragedy at the schrund loomed in our collective memories. No matter, just next to the Main Route was the Mazama Face which had been receiving sun all morning. We cautiously made our way down the summit ridge out to the face and cut shelves out of the ice to strap on the snowboards. The first turns were crunchy ice and thin corn snow on a 40 degree slope, but lower down the snow softened and the skiing improved dramatically. We hopped back over to the Hogback once the lower face revealed gaping crevasses and skied wonderful corn snow back down the main route past Crater Rock. Upon nearing the upper reaches of the Palmer Glacier ski lifts, we veered skiers right out onto the smooth corn of the Zig Zag glacier by recommendation of Paul who had spent a summer on the mountain in his youth. What a recommendation! The glacier was absolutely smooth with a steady pitch, and the SW exposure meant it had been protected from the morning sun somewhat and wasnt as grabby as the more southerly slopes. After 5,000 VF of skiing, we made our way back through the ski area and dismounted right in the parking lot near the car.
The lack of sleep drove us from our relaxation in the parking lot, we didnt want to get too comfy - and we drove south for three hours, past Bend to Mount Bachelor for an anticipated restful day of surf and turf.
The choice of Mount Bachelor as goal # 2 came easily when I first viewed this mountain; it was a quintessential volcano. Of course I had known of Bachelor the ski area since my youth and was always intrigued by the marketing slogan: ski from the summit down all sides of the mountain! Yup, sure sounds like a volcano. But the photo of Bachelors perfect Mount Fuji shape and obvious easy access due to the ski area really raised its status. It was the perfect mountain for a Volcano tour. And while the skiing was a draw, Smith Rock was right around the corner, making surf and turf a very convenient option for vacationers on the run.
After many blunders in the uber-stylish town of Bend (which refuses to adequately mark its roads for weary tourist in search of the mountains) we found a campsite with wonderful views of our next Volcano. Big sandwiches of sausage and peppers, and we were off to a good nights sleep.
[Volcano Tour 2003 sample photos available @: http://groups.msn.com/MCSAWashington/shoebox.msnw?Page=1 ]
Title: Re: June 2, 2003, Mount Hood (11,239), Mazama Face
Post by: MW88888888 on 06/30/03, 06:16 PM
Look at that grin! Yes, indeed, can't say strapped it on at the summit better than with this shot!