After riding fresh snow in September, Dan and I were in search of October turns, and the weekend forecast was looking suspect. Sunday appeared to hold promise of possible sun after rainy weather passed through the cascades, so we set our sights on Mt Bachelor in hopes of finding something to ski. It was raining near Willamette Pass, but the sun was out as we drove along the Cascade Lakes Highway, and by the time we got to the mountain the weather was perfect.
There was a few inches of fresh in the parking lot, and we soon shouldered our packs and started up the hill. We headed over to Old Skyliner to take a different approach up the mountain, and before too long were able to don skins and start climbing a bit more efficiently…
Once on skins, we made good time and were soon at mid-mountain. The rope tow patch looked good, and we headed up. The snow wasn’t as fluffy as we were hoping, having been scoured by the stiff winds the night before.
Our thought was to ski the Cirque bowl patch, and soon we were in view of our objective. Although there were quite a few rocks around, the snow for the most part looked pretty good.
We continued up towards the bowl on skins, making our way under the steep headwall, where we had to switch to booting. Climbing up the smooth slope, I caught a few photos of Dan in the alpine environment…
About 100 feet from the top we couldn’t make anymore progress due to a super icy layer under the fresh snow. We’d left our crampons in the car, a decision we regretted, but not to worry, it was time to call it and rip some October turns….
The snow quality was better than either of us had thought it would be, and we cruised down about 600 feet or so to the bottom of the patch, enjoying the excellent turns.
At the bottom, it was time for a deserved break to eat some food and drink a beer we’d been packing around. My choice for the day was a Laurelwood Free Range Red, which I snapped a few pictures of with Broken Top as a backdrop…
After our break, we put in a boot pack for another lap. It was 20 minutes or so up before we were ready to drop in for another run. Looking back, I snapped a few pics of Dan climbing in the bowl, including the one below….
Run number 2 was equally as good as run number 1, and this time I headed over to a chute like feature that I wanted to rip while Dan set up below to snap a few photos. The snow in this feature was excellent pow, as evidenced by the shot Dan took below…..
As before, we milked turns down to the bottom, and then headed up for our third and final lap before heading back down. This time, I snapped some photos of Dan getting in on the action….
After our third lap in the upper Cirque, we skied down to the normal patch below. The turns were good on the way down, and a short hike brought us to the patch, which skied better than expected. Once at the bottom of the patch, we climbed back up to drop into the our next line which would ultimately lead us back down to the car….
After our short climb, we found a line that led allowed us to milk turns all the way back down to the road. Amazingly, neither of us hit any rocks as we worked our way down the super thin snowpack….
After a short walk at mid-mountain, we were able to ski back down to within about 300 vertical feet of the lodge. Making turns on 3-4 inches of snow isn’t necessarily easy (or smart for that matter), but it beats walking! At the end of the snow, it was a short hike back to the truck just in time to catch the last rays of sun as we lounged in the parking lot drinking beers, Not too shabby for October!
We made a quick stop in Crescent to get some chips so we could eat the fresh garden salsa I’d brought along on the drive down 58, and soon we were back in the valley, with another day in the books. Until next time, here’s a parting shot from the day…