January 19, 2020 – Sled training in the sun

It was shaping up to be a beautiful day at the Pass. The big storm event had come to a close a few days earlier, and we were greeted by sunshine and gorgeous weather for our Sunday. After gathering for the morning meeting and discussing the day’s plans, we headed out to open the mountain.

P2 crew up top on EPA

Looking out towards Peak 2

The groomers were in good shape, and once we had the front side open, we headed to Peak 2 to spin a couple of laps. Around 10:00 am, it was time for sled checkoffs. I’d been asked to get a few pictures of our new UO Edge sled, and even though my allegiance is to Oregon State, I obliged by taking a few photos…

Shannon and Greg with the Edge

Greg and the Edge

After shooting a few pics of the sled, I swapped out lenses, and was eager to shoot a few portraits with my 50 mm f/1.8 Canon. Matthew made a good subject, and then I snapped a picture of Greg, Joe and Shannon before we headed out to do some loaded sled work…

Matthew at the top of EPA

Greg, Joe and Shannon

We took a run down Eagles Flight, and I drove the 100 while Shannon drove the Edge. After half the run, I swapped out from the handles to the tail rope, and then we finished out the run and took the sleds down to the base, and then back to the top of EPA.

Telephoto shot of Diamond Peak

Matthew ready for a sled check run

The next several runs were spent checking off the other alpine patrollers on the sleds, and we were able to get everyone through by noon. On the last run, I was ballast for John, and with the aid of my fisheye lens, was able to take a few pictures from the vantage point what would normally be a patient…

Brian coming in hot to the top of Eagles

Fischer pulling me down Eagles

Once the sled training was done, I went in for a quick lunch, and the remainder of the day was spent dealing with a multitude of issues, including several injuries in the afternoon.

A portrait of Shannon at the top of EPA

Below are a few shots of Hannah and Shannon pulling Greg down the hill in the new Edge sled from earlier in the morning…

Hannah and Shannon running the Edge

Headed down Eagles Flight

When 3:30 finally rolled around and it was time to close Peak 2, I was relieved. After deploying many of my resources on different events that required attention, I was ready for the day to be over. We were able to sweep Peak 2 and EPA without incident, and closing lower mountain went without issue as well.

Moments prior to closing EPA

We closed the day with an evening meeting at the base, and called it another good day of patrolling at the Pass.

 

January 11, 2020 – Powder at the Pass

Saturday looked to be pretty epic, and for the first time in awhile, it appeared P2 was going to score the goods. I met up with the the crew in the patrol room after driving up 58, and the stoke factor was high for the day. The wind was blowing hard, and a significant amount of snow had fallen overnight. After the morning meeting, we headed out, ready for a morning of avalanche work and powder turns.

John and Greg

Given the storm conditions, EPA didn’t open until 9:45am, so we made the most of it hanging out in the lift line waiting for the icing issue to be resolved and the chairs to spin. Once we got word of opening, it was time to head up and run the avalanche route on RTS.

P2 ready to open the mountain

OEC candidates at the base

Dan and I loaded the first chair with Deverton and Greg, and headed up. The wind was howling up top, with sustained winds around 30-40 mph, and gusts up over 50m mph. We cautiously dropped over the rollover into RTS one by one, and the wind was ripping about as hard as I could remember. Lower down, we performed several ski cuts, without result, and finished with a few enjoyable powder turns on the lower run…

Pausing on RTS during avy work

Deverton ripping a turn down RTS

Given the snow and wind, it appeared Peak 2 wouldn’t open for another hour or so, so we spun a few laps on the front side while we waited. A bit later, we got the call, so Dan, John and I headed over, along with Hutch and Jon for avalanche work on the backside…

John and Hutch heading up for Peak 2 Avy work

Jon and Hutch were ahead of us, and when we got to the top of Peak 2, we heard the call on the radio that conditions were looking extremely sketch. As we readied to head out, Rick pulled up with the cat, so we checked in with him prior to heading over to June’s.

Dan and Rick up top

Rick groomed a nice path out to Waldo, and we followed, ski cutting the trees below the run. Shooting cracks were running everywhere, and the snow was extremely wind effected. Hutch and Jon got pretty good movement out of the snow on the nose, we worked our way out the ridge line, cutting cornices and getting some nice slabs to cut loose as well.

Dan on June’s

After we controlled the ridge, I worked my way down and across the meadow, and met up with Hutch and Jon. It was snowing hard, the wind was blowing, and conditions were sketch, so I didn’t get any good pictures of the actual action from the morning, but the slog fest up the ridge in waist deep snow, along with the sweat I worked up told me it was a classic day for doing control work.

First chair on Peak 2 after control work; Photo by Jon Marshall

With control work done, the rope at the closure dropped and it was game on. I spun a few laps on Northern, which was riding great, and met up with Jon and Shannon who also were ripping it. The snow was pretty blower up top, but definitely wind effected, especially down low, where it required effort to keep speed up and not sink to your waist.

Jon shredding down Northern

Shannon getting the goods

We spun a few more laps on Peak 2, enjoying it until our legs became tired, finally heading down to the front a few minutes before 2:00 pm to get a quick bite to eat and return the avalanche gear. The remainder of the day was spent enjoying a few turns down RTS, followed by Peak 2 sweep and then upper mountain sweep. Dan and I hung out up top during upper mountain sweep, and vacated via RTS as the evening light started to wane.

Afternoon turns down RTS

Dan up top with the lift crew at the day’s end

On our last run down RTS, the snow was still skiing nicely, and it was an awesome way to end the day. Down in the patrol room after sweep, everyone was pumped on a good day, and the beers after the evening meeting hit the spot as usual. Day like this one are definitely what makes patrolling at the Pass special, and don’t happen often enough!

December 29, 2019 – Last Patrol Day of the Decade

Sunday, December 29th would be the final patrol day of the year as well as the decade, and I headed up solo to the Pass to enjoy a day with Patrol 2. Given the meager snow depth, it would be a lower mountain show for the second week in a row. Nevertheless, it was good to be on the hill making turns.

Ed, David & Todd at the top of Twilight

After the morning meeting, I headed out to the Twilight chair, and spun a few laps on Duck Soup, Timburr Glades, and Rough Cut. I caught a picture of Ed, David and Todd at the top of the chair with my new Canon f/1.8 50 mm lens that I’d got a couple days earlier, and then headed out to make the short hike to High Lead Glades. Hiking out to the glades reminded me of earlier years gone by, when I made the same trek with Dan and Joe in similar conditions…

Looking out towards High Lead Glades

Diamond from High Lead

When I got to the Glades, I was welcomed by a great view of Diamond Peak and some smooth snow on the run. I sat there for a moment or two, enjoying the solitude, before strapping in and enjoying some fun turns back down to the intersection with Timburr Glades. From there, I figured it was time to spin a few runs on the Sleepy Chair. In fact, I think it was my first time (while patrolling) spinning 3 laps on Sleepy…

The view from the Sleepy chair

Sleepy and Diamond

After the exertion that is demanded from Sleepy, it was time for lunch, and then an afternoon cup of coffee. On my way to the lodge to get said coffee, I snapped a few shots of the lodge with my new 50 mm lens…

The Lodge

The rest of the afternoon was spent spinning laps on Twilight, with one more hike out to High Lead thrown in for good measure. Even though we were only skiing on 10 to 12 inches of snow, the riding was pretty good, all things considered. At 4:00 pm, it was time for lower mountain sweep, and I snapped a shot of the closing crew up top before we headed out.

Closing Crew

David on Sweep

A short time later, sweep was complete, and after our evening meeting, it was time to head down the road and say goodbye to 2019. Here’s to hoping that 2020 comes in stronger than 2019 went out…..

Parting shot of the Lodge

 

March 16, 2019 – Spring Patrolling at the Pass

Mid-March means longer days at the Pass, with weather that’s usually snowy or sunny. For Patrol 2 on Saturday the 16th, it was the later rather than the former. We pulled into the parking lot around 7:30 am like normal, stepped into the patrol room and began gearing up for the day. After the morning meeting, several of us headed out to open EPA in the morning sun.

Craig up top

After opening RTS, which was pretty nice, I headed over to Peak 2 for a few runs. Since we were closing in on the end of the season, I decided after a few runs that it was worth hiking the Avy route one more time for the season. I hiked out to the Nose and snapped a few pics with my fisheye lens. The Nose offers one of the best views of the backside of the Pass…

The view from the Nose

After I left the nose, I met up with Jodie and Jon, and we headed over to the Meadow for some beacon practice. The Fish had hid a couple beacons; we found the first one quickly, and the second one a bit later, reinforcing the fact that in the event of an avalanche you’d better hope there isn’t more than one victim if you only have one or two rescuers.

Jodi at the top of Waldo

After the avy practice, we stashed the gear back at the top of Peak 2 and headed in for some lunch. I snapped a few pics of Hannah and Meghan before I headed down, including the shot below…

Hannah and Meghan on Peak 2

I headed down to the base via the Rosary runs, which were nicely groomed and made for some fun turns. In the aid room, the Social Committee (Rich and Hal) were busy making lunch for the patrol. On the menu for today was corned beef and chili, and it hit the spot. Rich and Hal make patrolling on Saturday worth it no matter what the conditions are like!

Rich and Hal – The Social Committee

Saturday’s Corned Beef

After lunch, I headed out to catch the EPA lift for a 1:00 pm bump slot. Bump was pretty slow, so I killed the time by talking to folks up top as well as shooting a few pics of the surrounding scenery with my telephotos lens…

Lakeview Peak and Beyond

After bump, it was time for a few runs down RTS, which was skiing great in the afternoon sun. I headed in to the patrol room around 2:20, with the goal of snapping a few photos before heading back to Peak 2 for sweep. While I was focusing on a couple subjects, a call came over the radio from Fischer that Kris Kross was closed. For a brief second I thought I was late, then realized John hadn’t turned his clock back. Sure enough, he took a rift of shit over the radio before sheepishly announcing that Kris Kross was back open.

The Pass the Snowbank Along the Highway

The beer out and ready for the post patrol meeting

With my urge to snap a few photos satisfied, it was time to head over to Peak 2 for another lap and then sweep. The snow on the backside runs was still skiing nicely, and I headed down Destiny, one of my favorites, especially in the afternoon.

Ian heading up for sweep

Greg relaxing at the top of Peak 2

As patrol started to gather around the top of Peak 2 for sweep, I volunteered to run the show and assigned runs. As usual for the weekend, we had several folks show up and were able to have one person per run. Before everyone set off, Schweitzer grabbed the camera and snapped a photo of all of us at the top…

Peak 2 Sweep Crew

Patrol coming up after closing

After Peak 2 sweep, everyone unloaded the chair and started off for upper mountain sweep. We decide one more photos was in order, and this time included the Peak 2 lift crew in the shot…

The gang after Peak 2 sweep

We made the short ski/hike over to EPA, and after last chair, swept the mountain clean. Twilight sweep followed, and then it was time for the evening meeting followed by those beers we’d all been waiting for. Hanging in the patrol room after the day was over, drinking a cold one and bullshitting with everyone, there definitely was the bittersweet feeling that the season was waning down. Regardless, it’s been a great season, and there’s still a month or so left to enjoy it until the end.

Sweeping KP to End the Day

 

January 12, 2019 – Sun and Sleds at the Pass

The sun was out and the mountain was bathed in early morning light, and I knew it would be a good day as Dan and I pulled into the parking lot and unloaded our gear at the patrol room. After donning 0ur gear, we had a quick morning meeting and set out to open the mountain. The ride up EPA went quickly, and when we arrived at the top the sun was shining brightly and the east wind was brisk. Before opening any runs, I snapped a couple of photos, including the shots below….

Morning view over Odell Lake

Rescue sleds in the morning sun

I dropped in on RTS, and though it was a bit icy up top, most of the run was in pretty good shape. A few runs later, it was time for some sled work with the sled candidates, and I agreed to work with Jon, a fellow snowboarder, on Peak 2. After a couple of runs down Where’s Waldo, Jon was pretty comfortable in the handles, so we worked over to Escalator for a few runs before heading in for lunch.

Jon bringing the sled up the Peak 2 lift

Lunch was a welcome break, and served up courtesy of the social committee, but we were back out on the hill by 1:00pm  to do a little more sled work. In between runs, a couple of photo opportunities presented themselves, and I was stoked to test out my new fisheye lens…

Patrol working hard

Kyron at the top of Peak 2

An hour or so before sweep, I was stoked to ride alongside Hannah while she took a sled out for the first time in a couple of years after a nasty leg injury. Hannah was solid in the handles – and picked up right where she left off.

Hannah on Waldo

Running sleds on Waldo with Mt Ray in the background

Given the amount of effort we’d put in training for the day, Hannah and I bailed on Peak 2 sweep and skied a couple of runs on High Lead and Eagle’s to get some late afternoon corn before it was gone. We were able to make two runs and still catch the last chair at the bottom of EPA before 4:00.

Hannah skiing Eagles

We unloaded at the top of EPA and found a gaggle of patrollers preparing for sweep, so I orchestrated a quick photo with the fisheye lens. The sun was just getting ready to set over Diamond Peak as the shutter released…

P2 before sweep

At the base after closing lower mountain

I swept RTS and then down George, and then it was time for the evening meeting, followed by beers courtesy of Oakshire. Sitting back and enjoying the bs with fellow patrollers, I was stoked on another great day at the Pass.