June 29, 2014 – Mt Bachelor, Cow’s Face

On a whim, I called Andy on Saturday to see if he was interested in finding some corn snow on Bachelor, with the possibility of doing some fishing after skiing.  He was in, so we made plans for turns the following day.  I woke early on Sunday morning, picked Andy up at his place in Eugene, and we were on our way to the mountain by 6:00 am.  After a brief stop in Oakridge for a quick breakfast, we made good time up Highway 58 and the Cascade Lakes Highway and arrived at the mountain a bit before 9:00 am, parking at the Sunrise gate.  Coverage was still good, but the mountain had definitely melted out quite a bit since I’d driven by after a trip to Broken Top the previous week.  Skiing to the base was no longer an option, but snow did extend down to within a few hundred feet of the parking lot.  We set out and started up the mountain, switching from booting to skinning about halfway up between the base and the top of Sunrise…..

The view from Sunrise

The view from Sunrise

We opted to skin up to the top of Sunrise, and then follow the Summit chair to the top from there for a direct approach.  The snow had already corned, but a slight breeze kept conditions nice and made for easy skinning.

Andy nearing the top

Andy nearing the top

At the top near the summit shack, we mulled over options and considered dropping into the Cirque Bowl, but decided to head east and check out Cow’s Face, with an option of riding the Cirque Bowl on a second lap.  The views from the top of Cow’s Face looking south were nice, and reminded me I needed to get out to the lakes this summer for some family camping trips.

Looking south from the top

Looking south from the top

After soaking in the views for a bit and rehydrating, I strapped in and headed down the slope, enjoying absolutely perfect corn snow for several hundred feet down the slope.  I stopped at a suitable point to shoot a few shots of Andy heading down the upper pitches of Cow’s Face….

Andy cruising

Andy cruising

When Andy made it down to me, he grabbed my camera and headed down to a spot to snap a few photos of me cruising by.  The action shots turned out decent, even though I’d inadvertently left my shutter speed to 1/160 from my son’s birthday party a few days prior…..

June turns on Cow's Face

June turns on Cow’s Face

Slashing through the corn

Slashing through the corn

At the bottom, both of us were stoked with how good the snow rode, and our decision about doing another lap on Cow’s Face or dropping into the Cirque Bowl was made before we even put our skins back on.

Heading back for another lap

Heading back for another lap

The skin up Cow’s Face was pleasant, and within 45 minutes or so we were sitting back at our summit perch on some flat rocks, feet in the snow soaking in the views.  Looking down over the mountain, I was stoked to be lounging peacefully in a spot that a few months earlier would have been crawling with skiers…….

Looking out from the summit

Looking out from the summit

Dropping in for lap number two, Andy and I repeated essentially repeated our previous run.  I dropped first, farming our tracks from the previous run, then stopped to snap shots of Andy as he cruised down.  This time, I motioned for him to continue past me and continued shooting as he skied by….

Andy on lap 2

Andy on lap 2

 

More corn turns

Corn snow with Moon Mountain as a backdrop

I rode down to Andy, and again he took my camera and skied down to a spot while I waited for him to set up.  When he motioned he was ready, I turned into the slope and enjoyed several hundred feet of smooth corn while he snapped photos as I cruised by…..

Slashing a June corn turn

Slashing a June corn turn

 

More perfect corn

More perfect corn

Andy skied down the remainder of the slope to our stopping point just above treeline, and each of us had big grins from the great corn.  Again we donned skins and headed back up, this time stopping short of the true summit with a plan to ski the slopes just east of the main run adjacent to the summit chair.  The ride down to the base of the summit chair was great corn, even though it was nearing 1:00 pm.

Heading down to the car

Heading down to the car

Below the Summit Chair, we cruised around and enjoyed dropping off natural features created from the melting snow.  We were able to ride to within a few hundred feet of the parking lot, and I was able to connect the last several patches nearly to the bottom of the Sunrise lift.  Andy snapped the below photos looking back at the mountain, and my tracks in the last patch by the lift are visible…..

Looking back at Bachelor from the parking lot

Looking back at Bachelor from the parking lot

After the ski, we changed into shorts and sandals, enjoyed a cold beer, and hit the road in preparation for an afternoon of fishing on the upper Deschutes.  A half hour later, wading in one of my favorite streams in the sunshine and tossing a fly rod, it was hard to imagine another place I’d rather be.  I caught a few small rainbows, and alternated back and forth between the fly rod and my ultralight spinning setup.

Fishing the upper Deschutes

Fishing the upper Deschutes

After spending a couple hours along one stretch, we headed down the road to try one more place before hitting the road for home.  After a few casts in an area choked with windfall, Andy was successful in pulling a nice brook trout — the kind which we’d come for — out of a difficult pocket….

Andy with a nice Brookie

Andy with a nice Brookie

A hour or so later, heading down the highway, I was stoked to have had another fun day in the Oregon Cascades on a day when I almost didn’t head out.  Thinking back over the month and the great weather and conditions, I’d say June 2014 was one of the best months yet!  Here’s a parting shot from our day….

Cruising down Cow's Face

Cruising down Cow’s Face

 

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