October 20, 2017 – Willamette Pass Dusk Patrol

It was snowing at the Pass, it was October, and I was itching to get out for an afternoon of touring.  After a morning of work attending a couple of meetings I couldn’t get out of, I left the valley around noon and headed up Highway 58 to check out the conditions.  It took me a few minutes to shovel out a space near the gate, and after a few minutes I had most of my gear ready.  I toured around for a few minutes while waiting for the rest of the crew to show up, and snapped a few shots of the base area in its fresh winter coat…

The lodge and base area
The Patrol Room

After a few minutes, Dan, Joe and John pulled up, fresh off cutting a cord of wood on the Waldo road.  They geared up quickly, and we set off to see what was up.  Skinning up KP, the snow was pretty thin — it was apparent whatever snow was on the front side had fallen earlier in the day – and the depth was around 5-6 inches.  We continued up, working our way up Eagles, and eventually towards Peak 2.

Looking up from the base
Going up Eagles

There was 16 inches at the Peak 2 snow stake when we got to the top, and we took a short break to enjoy a cold one and take off the skins before dropping in for some turns….

Looking down Northern
The top of Peak 2

With the snow coverage being what it was, we elected to ski the top of Boundary and then check out Escalator.  The snow on Boundary didn’t disappoint, and Escalator skied pretty well too, despite the thin coverage.

Heading down Escalator
Looking back up at Escalator and Northern

John and I toured back up Destiny while Dan and Joe went back up Escalator.  We each hit another lap on the runs we skinned up, then met back at the bottom.  At that point, we all agreed it was worth one more run from the top, so we headed back up to do it again.  Dan captured a few photos of me on upper Boundary enjoying my first day of October riding at the Pass….

Cruising down Boundary
Touring back out

Once we made it back to Boundary, we were starting to lose light, so we made the call to head to EPA.  A few minutes later, we were enjoying a cold one readying for the ski out the front-side on marginal conditions.  Joe snapped a photo of John, Dan and I below before we strapped in….

Hanging out at EPA

We started down KP, making turns carefully, avoiding any obvious rocks or snow covered objects.  The run skied pretty nice.  Dan and I decided to ski Eagles, while Joe and John continued down KP.  Eagles held about 6 inches of snow, and proved challenging to ski, but was fun in a crack headed sort of way.  It was nearly dark, but I snapped a few photos of Dan anyway to document the descent.  I like the noisy feel of the photo below, it reminds me of an old school shot from long ago…

Dan on Eagles

At the bottom of Eagles, we regrouped with John and Joe and continued down KP.  The run skied surprisingly well, and I only hit a few rocks.  We had to be extra careful near the bottom, and Dan even walked a section, but everyone made it out unscathed and had shit eating grins on their faces at the car, so I’d say it was a great day.  At the car, we loaded gear and hit the road, heading back down 58 to the valley, ready to do it again when the snow flies!