Tomyhoi Peak 7451 feet - August 25, 2020
Tomyhoi Peak has been on my scramble to-do list for a while. Recently, I watched the weather forecast for a great day, and I got it.
I camped at Yellow Aster lakes, and on the morning of August 25, 2020 the sky was clear and I started my trek to the summit.
The climbers trail to the glacier were pretty well defined. I followed the "Becky" route description mostly. I left camp at about 7:30 am and I reached the summit by noon. That was about 1/2 hour longer than the Becky estimate of 4 hours.
I used mountaineering boots, crampons, ice-axe, and climbing helmet. I would recommend nothing less, although it is possible to do naked and barefoot I suppose.
The "gable", a 30-foot gnarly expose section right before the summit, was clear of snow and ice. I had no issues just walking over it. When ice is present, most will cross à-cheval with a foot on each side.
All in all, it was a great day and I recommend starting early. I saw a group of four late in the day heading to do it, and all the peaks around were covered by fog. They did it as a day hike, and did not make it to the summit.
Finally, the area of Yellow Aster Lakes and Yellow Aster Butte were thick with visitors. Many were well behaved and respected the Baker Wilderness; however, too many walked on fragile heather, and, now channelling Harvey Manning, too many were with multiple dogs off-leash and terrorizing marmots and other critters. Please people, this is not Disneyland. It is a national wilderness area.
Sourdough Mtn & Stetattle Ridge - Aug. 10-12, 2020
This was one of the best two night backpacking trips of my life. I got my permit at the ranger station and the next morning I set off on my trek to Stetattle Ridge via the Sourdough Mountain trail. The last three miles were off-trail cross-country travel.
Most people who hike the Sourdough Mountain trail go to the fire lookout. About 1/2 mile before the "lookout" I turned North to head to Sourdough Mountain. I camped next to a large tarn just South of Sourdough.
On my second day I hiked another couple of miles over varied terrain with an occasional climbers trail here and there. The travel is mostly cross country and involves a lot of ascents and descents up/down rock and through brush and trees.
The reward on the second night was my campsite just South of Peak 6728 (Stetattle Peak North). Here I enjoyed great views into the North Cascades and the Picket Range.
Four Peak Scramble - Crystal Range - Desolation Wilderness
July 28, 2020 - I headed down to the Desolation Wilderness to do a four peak scramble traverse of part of the Crystal Range. The four peaks were McConnell Peak, Peak 9120 ("Leland" Peak), Silver Peak, and finally, the popular Red Peak. The last people I encountered on my 11.5 mile approach hike were at Lake No. 3. Once I reached the tarn "lake" West of Silver Peak, I did not encounter another person. The Desolation Wilderness is an amazing place. I have been visiting this area from time to time for a few years now. I have plenty of exploring yet to do in this fantastic place. Visit the 'bible' of the Crystal Range: http://peaksforfreaks.blogspot.com/20...
Mt. Tallac, Lake Tahoe, CA - June 12, 2020
I am from the Seattle area and Mt. Tallac has, apparently, the popularity of Mt. Si. However, this peak is a blast. It is an easy to climb and easy (mostly) to follow trail that directs you to the summit to enjoy fantastic views of both Lake Tahoe and the Desolation Wilderness. The trail, according to my data, is nine miles round-trip with about 3400 feet of total elevation gain. The summit sits just above 9,700 feet. For the best view of Lake Tahoe I recommend climbing Rubicon Peak. See my video: https://youtu.be/lN5Z-sSu8Ws
Baker Peak, Great Basin National Park, June 10, 2020
For me, Baker Peak is the most satisfying climb in Great Basin National Park. Most people will do Wheeler Peak and only Wheeler. On my recent trip to GBNP my first summit was Wheeler. Then two days later I went to the summit of Baker.
Baker is a fun and strenuous day, but so satisfying. It is about 12 miles round trip from the Baker trailhead in GBNP with almost 5000 feet of elevation gain. However, unlike the easier summit of Wheeler, there is no trail to the summit. Just pick your route and go. I first went to the summit of Baker East, then I traversed West to the summit of Baker West.
When you visit GBNP I highly recommend adding a couple more days and add Baker to your peak-bagging quiver.
Wheeler Peak, Great Basin National Park, June 8, 2020
I wanted to do some hiking/climbing in Nevada. I headed to Great Basin National Park and climbed Wheeler Peak and Baker Peak. Wheeler Peak is the second highest mountain in Nevada at 13,064 feet. The highest mountain, Boundary Peak, is 83 feet higher, but is not as interesting as Wheeler, and it is difficult to approach.
Mt. Bachelor Snow Conditions Report - June 2, 2020
The snow is getting thinner. There is still plenty to ski, and not too many obstacles, but a lot has melted in the past week. There may be another week of "good enough" skiing, but then it will be a challenge. The snow was softer today (mashed potato like) and harder to push through with my tele-turns. My legs were a bit fatigued when I reached the bottom. Last week it was great skiing all the way down. I skied this last week too, right after Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort allowed for uphill travel. It was great conditions last week. Good conditions this week. Also, be aware that "Bachelor" is plowing roads for their summer activities so the ski runs will be interrupted depending on your travel path.
Hike, Ski, Run on Black Butte on April 10, 2020
I grabbed my gear and headed to the lower trailhead at Black Butte. I left the trailhead at 8:00am. I got to the summit shortly after 10:00am. I did not encounter a single person.
On the descent, I encountered three people at the upper trailhead. We all kept our distance from one another. Good social distancing there by all parties.
The summit had snow, and there was some icy conditions at the "switchback" above the upper trailhead. I expect the summit to be mostly snow free by the end of next week.
A total of nine miles and 3400 feet of gain from the lower TH to the summit and back.
Telemark Skiing Soul 7 Skis on Tumalo Mountain
We just got a dump of fresh powder on Tumalo Mountain the past three days. So, I took my relatively new Rossignol Soul 7 skis out for a serious try on my first real powder. The result was that this skis performed as well as I had hoped. They float on the snow and turn really easily. I got a great deal on these used skis at GearFix in Bend, Oregon. The price with Black Diamond 01 Telemark bindings was a tiny fraction of what they cost new, and are in like-new condition! So, I was really jazzed with the gear and the performance on what might be the last good powder of the season.
Ski Around Crater Lake with Altai Hok Skis and Pulk Sled
The weather for Crater Lake looked fantastic for March 10th, 11th, and 12th. So, I put my gear together, drove down, got my permit and skied around Crater Lake.
I decided to use my Altai Hok skis instead of my Rossi BC-90s. They are much more manoeuvrable in tight spaces. It turns out that was the right choice. Ski touring around the lake seems like the perfect fit for the Hok skis.
I removed my Chili Telemark bindings and swapped them out for my Voile 3-pin tele cable bindings. I watched a video where a woman broke her Chili binding cable on the Crater Lake tour. I didn't want any problems. The Voile bindings are great because if an issue developed with a cable, the 3-pins would at least still hold my boot in place. The "quiver killer" like system on the Hok skis make swapping out bindings trivial.
I planned on three days. The first and second days I had seven hours of moving time. The third and final day, it only took another two hours to ski to Rim Village from my final campsite; then it was about a half hour to ski the Raven trail back to the backcountry office. I left the pulk sled at Rim Village and drove back and picked it up. I wasn't interested in dealing with it on the Raven Trail - and no reason to do so.
I travelled a total of 31.5 miles with 8000 feet of elevation change. The North side was the most challenging with massive snow drifts and bare spots in the road.
I had read many blogs and stories, and watched a few videos about touring around Crater Lake. In every story and video people complained about blisters. I used my Alpina Alaska 75 Telemark Ski boots. I did not have any issues whatsoever with blisters or even a hint of a blister. They performed great!
Circumnavigating Crater Lake has been on my to-do list for a while. My weather window was fantastic. Day time temps in the mid-40s (F), and night time lows around 30F. This was a great trip and one I'll remember for weeks to come ;)
Crater Lake National Park Skiing & Winter Camping
I noticed the weather forecast at Crater Lake National Park looked great, so I loaded up the gear headed down. I arrived at the Crater Lake backcountry office, got my permit, and headed toward the Rim Village via the Raven Trail. The Raven Trail was a perfect fit for my Altai Hok skis. The terrain was generally uphill, but there were a lot of tight turns and hills to climb and descend. When I got to the rim, the sky and weather were perfect. I skied along the West Rim trail toward The Watchman. The skiing on The Watchman was mixed and the slope angle was a little shallow for the Hoks to perform with speed. But on this beautiful day, I didn't care about the slow skiing. I was having a blast.
Trying Altai Hok Skis on Tumalo Mountain
It dumped another six inches of new snow last night. That makes about a foot of new snow in the past 48 hours. So, I took my new Altai Hok Skis out for some Telemark turns on Tumalo Mountain across from Mount Bachelor. The skis are a lot of fun. The climb really well. On the steep parts on had no problem with climbing until I got to the last 100 vertical feet and the snow became icy. The skis do turn fast, but are slow through the snow. However, I don't have a lot of experience skiing trees, so I was satisfied with my speed. Overall, it was a great day, and a great ski with my Altai Hok Skis.