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| | |-+  May 29-30, 2017, Wallowas, McCully Basin
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Author Topic: May 29-30, 2017, Wallowas, McCully Basin  (Read 1027 times)
DG
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Posts: 277


May 29-30, 2017, Wallowas, McCully Basin
« on: 06/01/17, 09:17 AM »

I don't think I've ever made it through a summer backpacking trip in the Eagle Cap Wilderness without looking at some rocky peak and wondering how it might ski in the spring. A yurt trip this past winter was my first time skiing there, but still didn't cure the itch for a wilderness-type trip. Over Memorial Day, we decided to check it out, hiking/skinning in to camp in McCully Basin, a classic glacially-carved valley on the NE side of the range, ringed by north-facing terrain and overlooked by Aneroid Peak.

We parked just past the McCully Creek trailhead (~5,700 ft). Patchy snow started around 6,000 ft, and continuous snow for skinning around 6,800 ft, but it's melting out quickly. The hike in felt like a slog with skis and camping gear, but the trail is kept in good shape. The snowpack in the upper basin is deep but there were a few melted-out spots to be found here and there that could be excavated for a tent, and the creek is conveniently mostly snow-covered for crossings, but with periodic opening to gather water.

The heat prevented good overnight overfreezes, and the snow got sloppy pretty early, so we stuck to a couple of mellow routes, skiing from a saddle along the McCully/Big Sheep Ridge, and climbing up Hidden Peak. There is plenty of steeper terrain still snow-covered, though, and we didn't see any obvious signs of slide activity except for a couple small wet releases on steeper faces, and some cornice collapses over in Big Sheep Basin.

The itch was scratched, but I'm not sure that the condition was cured.



* McCullyPanorama.jpg (56.18 KB, 960x319 - viewed 512 times.)
« Last Edit: 06/01/17, 10:04 AM by DG » Logged
Wachusett
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Re: May 29-30, 2017, Wallowas, McCully Basin
« Reply #1 on: 06/01/17, 09:52 AM »

Well done. It's freaking gorgeous out there.
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Jim Oker
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Re: May 29-30, 2017, Wallowas, McCully Basin
« Reply #2 on: 06/01/17, 12:45 PM »

I've always thought a wintertime traverse (when coverage is good down into the creek/river valleys in the range) would be a pretty cool Wallowas trip. Pretty  open travel for the most part.
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PhilH
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Re: May 29-30, 2017, Wallowas, McCully Basin
« Reply #3 on: 06/01/17, 08:42 PM »

A group of 7 of us stayed in the McCully yurts last winter and had a very nice 4 days of skiing.  There is plenty of terrain out there, and as our guide told us "the snow is always good snow in McCully." A more accurate statement would be, you can always find good snow somewhere in McCully.
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DG
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Posts: 277


Re: May 29-30, 2017, Wallowas, McCully Basin
« Reply #4 on: 06/01/17, 09:23 PM »

Quote
Well done. It's freaking gorgeous out there.

Thanks, for sure!

Quote
I've always thought a wintertime traverse (when coverage is good down into the creek/river valleys in the range) would be a pretty cool Wallowas trip. Pretty  open travel for the most part.

Me too - if you could sign up for a couple of the yurts (maybe Norway and McCully) with a night between somewhere, it seems like it would be quite a trip

Quote
A group of 7 of us stayed in the McCully yurts last winter and had a very nice 4 days of skiing.

I bet - seems like it would be dreamy to be in there after a good winter storm.
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