March 2002, Willamette Pass Sidecountry

Season passes in hand, Andrew and I left Corvallis early to make some Spring turns at Willamette Pass. The forecast was for sunny skies, and the weather didn’t disappoint when we pulled into the parking lot. After running laps on the lifts, we headed across highway 58 after lunch in search of some fresh snow and different terrain.  We didn’t need to hike for more than about 15 minutes before we found some nice, albeit short, terrain to play on.  The area consisted of steep little cliff drops which made for a fun time.  The pictures I took on this trip were with an old point and shoot film camera I had back in college.  I still have the prints, but lost the negatives sometime back, so I scanned the image, which is why the quality is a bit sub-standard…

Andrew warming up

We scoped out the features from below, before heading up top to get a look.  After walking up and down the cliff band, there were several spots that looked worth dropping.  Andrew dropped in first, then I followed.  The run in was kind of flat, so dropping in was somewhat blind until we got right to the edge.

Matt dropping a small cliff

The rush of adrenaline I got from dropping in was pretty awesome, and we spent the rest of the afternoon hiking in the area, hitting numerous drops along the cliff line.  When we were through, most of the fresh snow had been tracked.

Scoping it out…

Getting good shots proved to be somewhat difficult given our camera gear (though I knew next to nothing about taking photos at the time).  We had to point the camera up where we were going to launch, wait for the rider to drop, and time it just right to allow for the shutter lag.  Then, we could only suspect if we got a good shot by when we heard the camera actually record an image, not knowing if it really would turn out until the film was developed days later…..

Willamette Pass Slackcountry

After we’d had our fill, we rode out to the car, getting some fresh pow turns on the way down while narrowly avoiding numerous rocks that were lurking under the shallow snowpack.  On the drive back to Corvallis, Andrew snapped the below photo of Mary’s Peak at sunset.

Mary’s Peak Sunset

This was an excellent day at the Pass and one I’ll never forget.  Though we didn’t climb any big peaks or ride any huge lines, just getting out to explore a different area and spending time with Andrew with noe expectations was awesome.  Looking back, enjoying the college life and having no expectations is an experience I wish I could repeat every once in awhile!

2 comments to March 2002, Willamette Pass Sidecountry