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When the Chairlifts R Down

December 17, 2019

 

1000' above the rain

There are big boulders on the upper slopes of Mt Hood. We need several feet of snow before they can safely open the higher chairlifts. Last week, a nice storm hit the mountain, dumping about 2' of powder above 6000', but the lower snowshoe trails got more rain than snow. So I went up to where the snow was.

 

Above the crowds

The parking lot at Timberline Lodge was full, but all the activity was on the lower chairlifts, below the lodge, because the lifts weren't running on the upper slopes - saw only a few hardy souls who were willing to carry their skis and climb.

 

Beyond restricted area

Normally, you can't snowshoe or skishoe on the ski slopes. But since the lifts weren't running, I was able to go anywhere without restriction. This was great fun, and an opportunity to explore the mountain above treeline and west of the ski area, which is restricted for skiers and snowboarders, and usually inaccessible to snowshoers, unless they climb up from Timberline Trail and the PCT.

Note: When venturing into the backcountry, always be aware of the risks of avalanche.

 

Storm coming in

The weather and clouds were threatening, but the precipitation held off. Traversing westward, the contours at the  6400' level go up and down one ridge and small canyon after another. It's interesting terrain, and there are some great views to the south.

 

Fun coming back down

The powder was wonderful in the canyon bottoms and the lee (east) side of each ridge, but on the windward side of the ridges there was an icy crust. I was glad my Altai Skis have steel edges. 

It was great to get out there in the fresh snow - there was some good snow at Thanksgiving time but I had missed it because we were traveling.

 

Short video

see 3 and a half minute video

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