Sunday, March 4, 2012

Skiing Mashed Potatoes on Cone Peak

This weekend Emily and the girls went to Bend for a girls weekend at the Antelope Lodge that I had been to years ago and told them about.   Thus, I had the weekend to myself allowing me to run some last minute errands for our upcoming Hawaii trip and also to get outdoors with Chris in Santiam Pass to test out my new Dynafit bindings on my Black Diamond Megawatt skis that I had mounted on Saturday at Bergs.  

Chris and I got a leisurely start at around 8am on Sunday morning which worked out great for me because I had hung out a little bit with the guys who were playing poker next door for a bit and drank me a decent amount of bourbon in the process!  After checking the webcams I decided it would be ok for us to take the Prius up to the pass because the roads looked pretty good after several days of sun.  

We reached the Tombstone Parking lot around 10:15 and were headed up the trail by 10:30.  From the very start I was super happy with my new ski setup which felt like it was half the weight of the skis with Marker Dukes mounted to them which is what I had to deal with before.   The bindings combined with the really great mohair mix skins and 122mm width was just fantastic.  The ski/snowshoe trail we followed up the peak was very steep in places and switchbacks were tight but the surface area of the ski just gripped everything and I never slipped once.  

The weather was super hot for March and both of us felt like we could have comfortably been climbing in shorts if we had them with us.  The snow was super sticky and was getting really heavy so we had a little bit of a concern for avy danger up on the open summit slopes.  When we reached the edge of the woods we actually paused for a bit to soak up the cool shade before moving on.  Once once on the final stretch to the summit we realized to our amazement that the snow depth wasn’t even deep enough to worry about layers or a possible slide as rocks were poking through everywhere.  Was this really March???   Our concern turned from our safety to the safety of our equipement over all the lava rocks!  

When we reached the summit we were greeted with amazing, yet a little hazy from the heat, views north to Hood and south all the way to Diamond Peak.  I had lugged up the long lens for the D7000 so I took some time to snap a bunch of really good telephoto shots of all the Oregon Cascade Volcanoes we could see from the top including Hood, Jefferson, TFJ, Washington, South, Middle, North Sisters, Bachelor, and Diamond with Mary’s Peak even visible above a valley of clouds to the west.  

We both took two really fun runs down the face of Cone Peak.  The first run Chris went down to get some video of my with our AW100 which takes 1080p but as usual I’m cursed and it didn’t work so the next run he took some with his own camera while I tried to get him the best I could with the D7000.  Both runs were super sticky and it felt like skiing through thick mashed potatoes.  We only saw two other people on the peak with us who were snowshoeing and were thus a lot slower on the ascent than Chris and I with our AT gear.  
After the couple runs it was a quick descent back through the woods to the road which we then skinned up along the snowbank to get back to the parking lot.  I joked with Chris that perhaps the girls would drive by and see us but that didn’t happen.  Instead, they passed us unknowingly as we had a couple beers in the parking lot and then we caught up with them near Lebanon on the drive home when I passed them and game the girls my “game face” as I did.  I felt a little bad because I had told Em it probably wasn’t a good idea to take the Prius with the road conditions and then I ended up passing her in her own car coming down from the pass!  Whoops!  

It was a great and great weather and I definitely got a little burned under the hot sun... a good base for Hawaii next weekend I suppose!

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