Saturday, January 19, 2008

Winter, winter, winter

It's been a couple of eventful weeks in Bend with winter coming from all directions and in all shapes and sizes. It's been real snowy, then real cold, then real nice and spring-like. The winter here in Bend can't be figured out but that hasn't stopped us from getting out into the wilderness wonderland of Central Oregon.

There a lot of pieces to put together to make it all happen but the recipe for adventure reads pretty easy. Chase the snow on the hill, pick the sunny days for backcountry, climb if it has been cold. This is what we came up with after we put the whole thing in the oven.

Hoodoo TeleFest last weekend, Todd Lake backcountry skiing Monday, Mt. Bachelor perfect pow Tuesday, the amazingly comfortable Mountain View Hut Wednesday through Friday, and ice climbing Paulina Saturday.

Photos: Ian following Big Paulina. Eric Harvey sending his very first ice climb. The view from the window of the shelter (3 Fingered Jack). The odyssey pulling the Ghetto Rocket, Michelle gearing up.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

New Years Day 2007

Paulina Falls -
Newberry Crater
National Monument

I've been wanting to climb this for years. After a week of single digit temperatures reported at Sunriver Paulina Falls seemed finally probable. It was New Year's Day and the sun was out. The temperatures were climbing back above freezing making the well-formed ice sticky and fun. Josh and the Harvey team had already beat us up to 10 Mile Sno-Park and had made a quick snowmobile reconnaissance up to the falls to confirm it frozen and steep. Michelle and I attached the GhettoRocket to the back of the minivan and slid our way down 97 and up out of LaPine. We loaded more gear into backpacks, unloaded another snowmobile, and headed into the crater (at 25MPH).

From the snow-buried tourist viewpoint the falls begs to be climbed. I splashed across the top of the creek, potholed through some deep snow and was soon stomping out a platform and planning an anchor. Josh joined me at the ledge with crampons on his feet and axes in his hands. He rappelled into the freezing mist first. It was loud and wetter than expected at the base of the icy face. Josh wasted no time, took a quick glance around at the alien icescape, turned back around and sank an ice tool into perfect solid ice. Within minutes he emerged at the ledge, hardly out of breath.

For me it was a bit different. Ice tools felt foreign in my hands, crampons were not the normally comfortable sticky rock shoes. I made wild rock climbing moves with legs splayed and arms over reaching. I set the pick in the ice well, too well, and worked hard to removed it for the next placement. I emerged at the ledge at well, breathing hard. The sun was setting. Josh brought a beer. We drank it.