The Oregon Trip: Spines, Lines and Woods


Continued From The Oregon Trip: Big Mountain Lines.

Having temporarily slaked our big-mountain-line-slaying thirst with the previous day’s activities, we got off to a decidedly non-alpine start for the second full day.  We had heard that the forecast was for snow and poor visibility, and sure enough it was pretty socked in when we lumbered out of the yurt that morning.  To make matters, it came in wet and heavy, on top of the whatever may have refrozen after the afternoon’s sun.  Between the dubious snow-pack and our dubious legs, we decided to stay out of the alpine and stick to low consequence pistes for the day.

Overcast and wet…

The fog made for some surreal scenes.

Low viz…

The conditions were less than inspiring, but we figured we’d make a go of it.
Photo credit: Ryan.

Our first objective of the day was to head back up toward Rocky Top, and check out the conditions on the windward side of the ridge.  It was a decent sized slope with a medium pitch but nothing too complicated.  I broke trail through the heavy, crusty mank that had come in over night.  At the top of the ridge the winds were whipping up a ground blizzard and practically chased us down into the cover of the terrain contours.  Unfortunately the wind had beaten us into submission, and no one bothered to pull out a camera for this leg of the trip…

View Norway Basin in a larger map

The skiing was half-decent if not a bit crusty and the weather was much more tolerable off the ridge.  However we learned an important lesson: the snow was slabby and the wind direction was being influence by the local contours of the land.  What we thought was a windward slope was actually getting loaded from somewhere.  Rob and Karl both kicked off very smalls slabs (a few inches deep and running only 10 feet or so).  They were both able to ski out of these slides, but we decided that it was time to seek more sheltered less exposed terrain.  After all, the snow was still coming down and the wind was still blowing.  We turned back toward Bob’s Hole, swung by the yurt for a lunch-time IPA and pushed on toward Spines and Lines, a set of spines and chutes nestled just south of the yurt.

View Norway Basin in a larger map

Spines and Lines dumps you into the Pit of Despair, a local depression lower in elevation Bob’s Hole and considerably lower than the yurt.  Nothing like winding up like 600 vertical feet below home at the end of a day of skiing.  We made sure not to wind up at the absolute bottom of the Pit, yet when we got to the end of the run and saw the climb that lay ahead of us, we despaired anyway….

Anyhow, the skiing looked decent and there seemed to be very little wind around the yurt when we left, so we hoped the snow-pack would be more reasonable in that area.  Brad broke trail up to the top of the line and we eagerly got ready to ride some untouched back-country spines.  The snow was still heavy and but we made the best of it and shot some quality POV footage.  Karl and I rode the spine to looker’s left (above), and Ryan, Brad and Rob followed the chutes to looker’s right.  The snow was nowhere nearly as slabby as it had been earlier in the day, but Rob still managed to kick off a large slough in one of the chutes, reaffirming our suspicions that the alpine would be a no-go for the rest of the trip.  We climbed out of the Pit of Despair and returned to the yurt to plan our attack for the last full day of skiing.

I break trail up out from the Pit of Despair back to the yurt, with Brad following.
Photo credit: Ryan.

When we awoke on the last full day, we were greeted to nearly two feet of heavy new snow.  Low angle woods, here we come.  We plotted a course due east of the yurt toward East Lake Falls.  The slopes to the east of Rocky Top cascaded their way through well spaced evergreen and eventually into a north-south running drainage.  We decided to check out the conditions and just lap woods for the day.  Again, the gloomy weather left us without sufficient motivation to pull out the point-and-shoots, but we managed to capture some good POV cam actionand even some cool chase cam shots.
View Norway Basin in a larger map

Continue Reading at The Oregon Trip: Return to Civilization.

Gear List (click links for more product info):

Black Diamond Factor 130 Alpine Touring Boot - Men's Black/Envy Green, 27.0 Dynafit Titan TF-X Ski Boot - Men's White/Red, 27.5 Dynafit TLT Vertical FT Z12 Binding Black Diamond Fritschi Diamir Freeride Pro Binding -120MM Black Diamond Contour Elliptic Trekking Poles - 1 Pair One Color, One Size Black Diamond Raven Pro Ice Axe Black Diamond Raven Ice Axe Black Diamond Sabretooth Clip Crampons The North Face Patrol 34 Winter Backpack - 2135cu in TNF Black, M/L Black Diamond Deploy 3 Shovel Black Diamond QuickDraw Tour Probe 190 Backcountry Access Tracker DTS Beacon Backcountry Access Tracker 2 Avalanche Beacon Black Diamond Guide Glove - Men's Natural, M Petzl Cordex Belay/Rappel Glove Tan, M POC Synapsis 2.0 Helmet White, M POC Lobes Goggle Black/White, One Size Patagonia Capilene 1 Graphic Crew - Men's Mango, L Black Diamond Ascension Nylon STS Skins One Color, 95mm Sea To Summit Ultra-Sil Dry Sack XL/20 Liter, One Size Mountain Hardwear Compressor Insulated Hooded Jacket - Men's Blue Chip Sapphire, M Mountain Hardwear Compressor Pant - Men's Mountain Hardwear Mountain Tech Vest - Men's Sapphire Black, M REI Shuksan Pants with eVent Fabric - Men's 32 REI Gear ShopBuy GoPro HERO Camera at Free Shipping on Orders over $50

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