June 23, 2020 – Mt Bachelor

Day two of our three day trip found us waking at dawn in the Upper Three Creeks Snowpark outside of Sisters. We got going early, wanting to both beat the head and the crowds that we expected to find at Mt Bachelor. After wolfing down a quick breakfast and loading gear, we hit the road around 5:00 am in search of more corn.

Morning at Three Creeks Snowpark

The drive into Bend and up to the mountain went quickly, and soon we were parked alongside the road at the Sunrise lot, getting our packs ready for the day. There was only one other vehicle at the gate when we started hiking, but we knew it wouldn’t be long before more folks started showing up.

At the Sunrise gate

After a quarter mile of less of walking, we were able to don skins, lighten the pack, and travel more efficiently. We did have to navigate several road cuts the mountain had made for service vehicles, but soon were above the treeline and working our way towards the summit…

Joe heading up

Above the Sunrise chair

We worked our way up and eventually to the top, and decided a run down Cow’s face was in order. Sitting at the top, I pulled out a latest offering from Ninkasi Brewing and snapped a few pictures of a new favorite — a Hazy Domination IPA. Putting it on ice, we transitioned over to ski mode and prepared to drop in to test the snow conditions.

Hazy Domination by Ninkasi

I dropped in first, and the snow was in prime shape — perfect corn. Finding a suitable place to setup, I began snapping pictures of the skiers as they headed down, including the couple below of Dan below…

June corn on Cow’s Face

Corn cruising on Cow’s Face

We continued our way down the slope, and the snow remained perfect. About halfway down, I found a spot I like for pictures, and with my 70-300 mm telephoto Canon lens, began firing shots of Joe as he ripped the corn with the cascade lakes and peaks behind him. The first shot below is one of my favorites from the day, capturing Maiden Peak, Mt Bailey, Mt Thielsen and Crane Prairie Reservoir along with Joe…

Joe slaying corn on Cow’s Face

Looking down Cow’s Face

Towards the bottom of the run, we veered skiers right, and Dan grabbed the camera and took a few shots of me, before we finished by skiing down to where the snow began to transition from corn to mush.

Matt enjoying the corn harvest

Skiing the lower snowfields

We called it quits between 7000 and 7500 feet, and donned skins for the long hike back up and out. It was a warm skin back up, but eventually we made the top, grabbed our gear, and headed over to check out conditions in the Cirque Bowl. As we neared the top, the views of the Three Sisters, Broken Top and beyond hit us in the face, and not having skied at Bachelor in awhile, I had forgot just how beautiful the scenery was…

Heading to the summit

At the top, we took a break for lunch, put the beers on ice, and enjoyed a nice rest with a view. As we were sitting there, two sisters (religious sisters from the Catholic church) made their way to the summit and we had a nice chat with them. We enjoyed our cold beers, snapped some photos of the scenery, and prepared to drop in. Right before we dropped (I already had my bindings strapped), a third sister made her way to the top, and I’m still kicking myself for not unstrapping and getting a picture of those three sisters in front of the Three Sisters (and Broken Top)!

Matt on the summit

Dan grabbed the camera at the summit, and set up to shoot a few shots of me as I descended. Dropping in, I could tell the snow was awesome, and I ripped the steep headwall of the Cirque Bowl, enjoying each turn on the way down. Working my way over to the Pinnacle, the snow was even better on skiers left, so I rode that side down to the flatter slopes below…

Skiing along the pinnacle

Cirque Bowl turns

From there, it was fun turns on the lower angle slopes below the headwall, and we ripped the bowl down towards the cirque. I could tell Joe and Dan were having a lot of fun, and tried my best to capture a few shots of the action as they skied down…

The skiers descending the Cirque Bowl

Skiing above the cirque

We worked our way down to the Cirque, which was really full and a very colorful — a real deep turquoise color. I couldn’t muster enough speed to pond skim, so we’d have to settle for some scenic pictures instead.

The Cirque and Tumalo Mtn

The Mt Bachelor cirque

The cirque was quite impressive, so much so that even Dan and Joe snapped several pictures. We milled around for 15 minutes or so, admiring the natural beauty of the melting snow and reflecting water, then headed out to make turns down the lower mountain and out to the car…

Dan & Joe hiking out of the Cirque Bowl

Skiing below the bowl

We skied decent snow below the Cirque Bowl, then worked our way over to Avalanche for some fun turns on the lower mountain. Lower down, we were able to pop into the trees and ski some nice snow in Dilly Dally Alley way down to an elevation only a hundred vertical feet or so above the car — a pretty satisfying day to end the day.

Dan on Avalanche

Joe milking the snow to the bottom

From the end of the snow, it was a short walk back to the parking lot and to the car, where it was nice to get into flip flops and shorts. The temperature was warm – it ended up being near 100 degrees later in the day — so we put some beer on ice while we took care of our gear.

Back at the car

A short time later, it was time to hit the road, and we headed back towards Highway 20 in search of a good spot to ski for the third and final day of our trip. Reflecting back on our day, all of us agreed that even though we didn’t ski completely “wild” snow, the snow quality was about as good as it gets, and we were definitely happy with our choice to visit Bachelor for June turns.

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