June 19, 2014 – Tam McArthur Rim

With a couple of scheduled days off work and high pressure in the forecast, I firmed up ski plans with Joe for Thursday and Friday in central Oregon.  Our first objective would be Tam McArthur Rim, an area I’ve toured several times, but never outside of the winter months.  I left the house around 5:00 am on Thursday and met Joe in Sisters, and we made the short drive to Three Creeks Lakes, parking at the summer campground.  The lake was pretty scenic (it’s always been snow covered when I’ve been there), and after looking things over, we headed out towards the rim.  To our surprise, the huts from Three Sisters Backcountry were still at the campground, as the snow hadn’t quite melted out enough to haul them out.

Three Creeks Huts

Three Creeks Huts

We hiked through the forest on the winter skin track, crossing dirt and snow until we reached the base of the Playground area.  From the Playground, it was a quick boot up to the ridge of the rim below the Proboscis and both of us were stoked to be touring this area in the summer.

Joe and the Proboscis

Joe and the Proboscis

Once on the Rim, it was a quick boot to the Proboscis, where the views were outstanding as usual.  Travel on foot was easy so we kept the boards on our backs and elected not to skin.  The photo below is the view looking east from the top of the Proboscis.

Looking east from the Proboscis

Looking east from the Proboscis

Traveling along the ridge between the Prow and the Proboscis, there was one spot that looked like it would go.  After checking it out, we headed up to the Prow to get the views from the high point on the rim.  Looking west, we could easily see Broken Top, and the summits of the Three Sisters.  To the north, Mt Washington, Three Fingered Jack, Mt Jefferson, Mt Hood and Mt Adams were all visible.  We snapped a few photos after soaking in the scenery, then strapped on the boards to ride back down the ridge to our drop in spot.

The view from the Prow

The view from the Prow

Matt atop the Prow

Matt atop the Prow

At the top of our run, we paused for a minute to discuss options, and it looked like heading straight down and then right would be best.  After that we could work our way over and ski the lookers left side of the bowl beneath the Prow.  I measured the upper portion of the slope at 44 degrees on the climb out a few hours later.  It skied really well as Joe demonstrates in the photo below…..

Joe dropping in

Joe dropping in

I dropped in after Joe and the snow was superb through the steep pitch, and rode very well lower down as well.  We traversed right as planned and enjoyed turns to the base of the bowl along the same path we’ve ridden many times in winter pow.  At the bottom, we made a quick traverse to the west, and put in a boot track up to the base of the Prow.  It had been a year and a half since I’d made turns from the very base of the Prow (although we skied from very near there earlier this year) and the views were just as great in the summer as they are in the winter.  After stashing a beer in the snow for our next lap, we dropped in.  Joe dropped first and stopped halfway down to snap a few pictures of me as I rode by….

Turns below the prow

Turns below the prow

Regrouping at the bottom, the boards went back on our packs for another lap.  Being able to utilize our existing bootpack was nice, as it was starting to warmup and I could feel the sweat beneath my bandana.

Climbing up for another lap

Climbing up for another lap

Back at the base of the Prow, we sat in the shade provided by rock spire above us and enjoyed our lunch and the cold beer we’d left the previous lap.  Sitting there looking out over Three Creeks Lake and Central Oregon while enjoying my Sweet As Pacific Ale from Good Life Brewing Company, I couldn’t think of any place else I’d rather be at that moment in time…….

The Good Life

The Good Life

A bit later, with lunch eaten and our beer cans empty, it was time for another helping of corn.  This time I dropped in first, and ripped the slope with fewer turns and more speed before stopping to snap a few pictures of Joe as he cruised by…..

Joe enjoying more turns

Joe enjoying more turns

With our third lap complete, we elected to climb back up towards the base of the Prow and put in a traverse to join back with our first line to climb out of the bowl.  This appeared to be the most efficient way to get to our next objective — the steep line dropping off the east face of the Proboscis.  The climb out went easily and we were able to get good purchase without using crampons on the steep slope….

Climbing out of the bowl

Climbing out of the bowl

At the top of the Rim, we made the short traverse to the Proboscis and found our line.  Much of the snow on this slope had melted out, but there were still a couple of good options, and we elected for the steeper line with a dogleg to the left off the top.  I setup to snap a few photos of Joe dropping in with Three Creeks Lake in the background…….

Joe dropping in on the Proboscis

Joe dropping in on the Proboscis

Once Joe was safely down, I dropped in and enjoyed the steep, narrow turns off the Proboscis.  At the bottom, we continued our way east along the rim, and climbed the short slope directly above the Playground.  Joe snagged my camera, and I dropped in while he fired a few shots……

Dropping in above the Playground

Dropping in above the Playground

 

Turns above the lake

Turns above the lake

Our final run of the day would be in the Playground area – an area we spend a lot of time in during the winter when the powder is good.  I dropped in first right next to our normal winter spot, and enjoyed excellent quality corn snow down to the bottom.  Joe dropped next, and we regrouped down at the bottom.

Skiing the Playground

Skiing the Playground

We were able to link turns down below the Playground into the trees for a ways, but eventually I elected to make the short 10 minute hike back to the lake with my board on my back.  Joe was determined, and eventually found a way to slide all the way back to the huts.  At the cars, we set about changing into camp clothes and drying boots and skins in the sun.  Joe headed out for a swim in the lake, and I grabbed my fly rod and headed out to see if I could catch a fish…..

Three Creeks Lake

Three Creeks Lake

Unfortunately the wind picked up just after we arrived back at the cars, so I didn’t have any luck fishing, but was able to cool off by wading around the lake.  I think next time a float tube or raft would be a nice addition if catching fish was a primary goal.  After an hour of so of swimming/fishing, we loaded up the cars and headed down the road to camp and get ready for a mission out to Broken Top the following day, quite satisfied with an excellent day of summer corn at Tam!

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