Protected: July 30-Aug 1, 2017 – Middle/North Sister Environs

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July 25, 2017 – Mt Bachelor

The end of July is a time I look forward to every year because of an annual three day work conference in Bend.  This year, instead of bringing my mountain bike, I decided to bring the snowboard.  I’d scored a bit of beta from Dan, who skied the mountain a couple of days earlier, so my only concern was how the weather would shape up.  My plan was to hike and ride the mountain on my way over to the conference on Tuesday afternoon, and I left work at noon under sunny skies.  The forecast was calling for thunderstorms in the mountains, and there were a few clouds rolling in and out when I pulled into the parking lot.  After waffling about whether or not I should hike the hill, I decided to give it a go, and drove over to the Sunrise lot since there were so many people mountain biking at Pine Mountain.

Bachelor from Avalanche Run

It was warm as I started up the road, around 85 degrees.  As I worked my way up the mountain, I started seeing hundreds of butterflies flying around.  I’d noticed quite a few on the way over too, and it appeared that the California Tortoiseshell butterflies were in the midst of a super migration.

California Tortoiseshells

I worked my way up the road and popped out at the base of the summit lift, then headed west towards Pine.  The views towards the Three Sisters and Broken Top loomed large to the north, and I could see a few clouds building.

Looking out over the Sisters & Broken Top

I kept going towards Pine and turned off the road and onto snow at the bottom of the Rope Tow patch, which was only about 100 feet from the road.  Once on snow, I was able to make good time, and found myself setting a pretty quick pace because I wanted to both try and beat the weather as well as get to my room to check in.  Soon I arrived at the base of the Cirque Bowl, and it was filled in nicely.  If you look closely, you can see Dan’s tracks from a couple days earlier coming off the top…

The Cirque Bowl

I continued climbing, and at the base of the cornice headed up to the ridge.  At this point, there was a big nasty cloud building behind the mountain, and the sky to the south and east was getting really black.  I decided to press on against my better judgment, but figured I could get the hell out of there pretty quickly on the board if I needed.  I practically ran up the last bit to the summit, and pulled out both by my tripod and a beer.  Time from the car was under 1 hour and 40 minutes, which included a change over from shoes to snowboard boots.

Summit selfie

Summit beer shot right before I strapped in

As I was taking a few pictures and admiring the views to the north, I heard a big rumble right behind me, and decided it was time to get the hell off the mountain.  I put the beer back in the pack, strapped in, and dropped.  The turns were really nice, and I shredded the entire bowl top to bottom, all the way to the road.  At the bottom, I felt comfortable enough to drink my beer, and went about getting my boar on the pack and changing back to trail shoes.  Looking back up the hill, I snapped the below photo looking at the bottom of the Rope Tow patch which shows the change in the weather…

Rope Tow Patch

One back in my trail shoes, I jogged down the road, something I usually don’t do, but I was looking forward to checking into my room, as well as getting some dinner and a cold micro brew in Bend.  I made it back down to the car around 5:15 pm, for a car to car time of 2 hours and 45 minutes.

Sunrise Parking Lot View

On the way in to Bend, I stopped along the Cascade Lakes Highway to snap a few photos of the mountain, including the shot below….

Bachelor from Cascade Lakes Hwy

I checked into my room around 5:45, and an hour or so later was enjoying a cold beer and good grub at Worthy Brewing with a few friends.  The following days at the conference were fun, and I managed to get out one evening after the sessions were complete with Brian for some fishing and photo shooting out at Tumalo Falls.  Brian did the fishing, and I did the shooting.  A few shots of the fall are below…

Tumalo Falls

Summer color at Tumalo Falls

I have to admit, summer in Bend is pretty nice.  Whether it’s snowboarding on the hill, flyfishing on the river, mountain biking on the trails, or drinking beer in one of the many brew pubs, it’s a pretty good life.  With that said, here’s a parting shot from my trip to Bachelor…

Sparks Lake & South Sister

 

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