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| |-+  May 2011 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  May 28, 2011 - Garfield Peak, Crater Lake
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Author Topic: May 28, 2011 - Garfield Peak, Crater Lake  (Read 1694 times)

Posts: 479

May 28, 2011 - Garfield Peak, Crater Lake
« on: 05/30/11, 08:04 AM »

After changing plans at least three times due to the inclement weather and road conditions over the past week (South Sister then Hood then Middle Sister), Todd and I decided to take a gamble and head out to Crater Lake National Park and see if we could find something worth riding.  The gamble paid off!  The park had received about a foot of snow on Wednesday and Thursday, and more was forecast for Friday.  The base at the rim was still at 115 inches!  After putting in a half day of work on Friday, we made the 3.5 hour drive to the south entrance of the park and conditions were looking good.  Our plan was to ride Garfield Peak, which sits east of the lodge and stands just over 8000 feet high.  It was hard to believe how much snow there is still.  We stopped into the ranger station to get a bit of beta.....


We found a suitable campsite just outside the park boundary and pitched the tents, made wood and had a beer by the campfire.  It snowed a bit that night, and was fairly cold when we awoke early on Saturday.  Stepping out in the parking lot, it looked like an additional 5-6 inches had fallen overnight.  Soon we had the packs loaded and started skinning east from the main lodge and our objective showed itself for a decent picture.....

After a decent amount of traversing, we found what looked like the only suitable way up Garfield Peak in a grove of trees that offered protection from the avy prone slopes.  I could tell we'd be in for some excellent riding as the snow was light and dry.  After an hour or so of steep skinning, we reached the crater rim and were able to look down into the Caldera...

Riding into the caldera is prohibited and can earn you a $200 fine plus the loss of your gear.  I didn't have a whole lot of interest anyway since many of the lines were super steep ending in freezing lake water, but there was a place or two that looked doable, though I doubt skiing into the caldera will ever be allowed in my lifetime.  After taking the view in for a bit, we started skinning again.

We elected to ride from the sub-summit off of Garfield, about 200 feet lower than the true summit, mostly because the line we wanted to ride looked way better and the effort to turn ration of going to the top wasn't what I would call "good."  Strapping in and making the first few turns, I felt like it was early February instead of late May.  Here's a shot of me riding down the first line....

Todd took a line slightly to my east, allowing me an opportunity to take a few photos of him in the super light pow.

I made several more turns and let me tell you - faceshots in late May are awesome.  Here's a shot of me busting down through our skin track....

We skinned back up the steep slope for another run of goodness, taking about 45 minutes or so to reach the top.  This time we took a slightly different line, and made several turns in a nice chute before traversing over to a point nearer the caldera for more turns.  Snow conditions were similar to the previous run and were excellent!  It was hard leaving and heading back to the car, but we wanted to make some turns at Red Top on Sunday.
« Last Edit: 05/30/11, 08:19 AM by stoudema » Logged

There is nothing more practical in the end than the preservation of beauty." - Theodore Roosevelt

Posts: 2428

Re: May 28, 2011 - Garfield Peak, Crater Lake
« Reply #1 on: 05/30/11, 11:03 PM »

Great  TR and photos.  The powder turns in late May are a memory that will last a lifetime.  Wink
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