Sunday, April 29, 2012

Mt St Helens adventure

Wow. I'm a bit tired from it all, but here are the stats.

Marble Mountain Sno-Park arrival 3:40pm Friday

Departed 4:20pm for base camp on Swift Creek Ski Trail, 2.2mi, 1000' elevation gain to 3760'

Arrive at Chocolate Falls and set up base camp 6:00pm

Wake up at 5:45am get things moving/warm, breakfast, gear up, double-check everything.

Depart for summit on snowshoes ~9:00am

Arrive at summit ~1:15pm, 2.5mi, 4500' elevation gain

Depart summit ~2:15pm Bootpack/Glissade on my bum back to base camp arrive ~3:45pm.

Mt St Helens Trip

Click on title above!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Stairway to Heaven

I <3

We will be doing our best to follow this path to the summit (It avoids slopes >28 deg. whenever possible).

Click the link on the map to get your map nerd-out on!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Tri-County Ridge Snowshoe

I left out early Saturday with my friend Justin to return to the spot Maree and I snowshoed at the previous weekend. The conditions were much different this time, having snowed overnight and continuing to snow throughout the day while he and I made our way to the top of Tri-County Ridge. When we arrived at the sno-park there was about 6-8" of snow on top of the icy crust that Maree and I hiked on. Justin and I had to break trail as we were the first snowshoers out that day (there were already some cross-country skiers ahead of us). After a few minutes on the trail I decided to attach my 5" flotation tails and was glad I had them as the powdery snow compressed 4-5" with each step. They made the going much easier.

After 0.4 miles we left the trail and headed up the ridge line. The new snow was deeper here, and we both engaged our ascent bars (a huge help!) for the climb. After several steep ascents through beautiful expanses of untouched snow, we arrived at the ridge line and were greeted with wind gusts carrying tiny ice pellets. It was like being sand blasted! We found shelter behind a tree and planned our next move.

Justin wanted to dig out a snow cave, so he descended the lee side of the ridge about thirty feet and used the heel-end of his snowshoe as a shovel (note to self: buy packable snow shovel!). I joined in and we made quick work of the excavation, cutting blocks with his pruning saw and using them to build a windbreak around the pit. Once deep enough to sit in we started digging into the hill to make an overhang and recessed area to set up my camping stove. Mac n' cheese with chili beans followed as well as a round of tea. The stove doubled as a welcome hand warmer in between heating our food and beverages. With a warm belly and a sense of accomplishment, we packed up and headed for home. As we headed back up to the ridge line, we noticed our inbound tracks were completely filled with snow, so another 6-8" fell while we were out there.

Tri-County Snowshoe

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

New Shoes!

After going out on three snowshoe trips with my Yukon Charlie's Trail Series 930 snowshoes (above), I had a list of complaints about their performance/comfort. Also deciding that I really liked the sport, I decided to do the research and invest in some gear that would satisfy all my needs and be long lasting.

My main gripes were:

1. Snow would get compacted under the 4-sided crampon under the ball of my foot, causing the traction to be lost and I would then get the sensation of stepping on a rock underfoot. And instead of just the crampon teeth piercing the snow surface, I would have to punch this 'rock' through it making it harder to step. This was uncomfortable and inefficient.

2. On traverses (going across a slope, not up it) I noticed that there was little traction keeping me from sliding sideways and down the hill. Not fun!

3. I probably got a pair that was too long for my needs (the 930 stands for 9"Wx30"L) Oftentimes on traverses the packed trail would be narrower than the width of my shoes side-by-side, so I would have to go one foot in front of the other. This caused me to step on the front of my trailing snowshoe a lot since I had to take such a long step to get in front of the other shoe.

My solution?

MSR Lightning Axis 8x22 plus Removable floatation tails

The 8x22s hold up to 180lbs, and with the tails hold 250lbs, plenty for me and a full pack. I can keep the tails in my pack and if the snow gets deep I can just pop them on for added floatation! I'll be less likely to step on my other shoe since these are 8" shorter than my current pair, and also marginally narrower making it easier to walk side-by-side. The 360-degree edge crampon will keep me stable on the traverses and there shouldn't be any snow build-up under the ball of the foot with this design. Lastly the 'Televator', the little 'U' shaped bar behind the binding, flips up so your boot rests on it, providing calf releif on steep ascents (your foot is more level when you take a step instead of tilted back at the angle of the incline).

Plus, they are made in the Pacific Northwest and were 25% off at REI! :)

I've heard great things about these shoes and am excited to get out there on them and see what they can do!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Tom, Dick and Harry Snowshoe

8.4 miles round trip. Max elev. 4930'. Breathtaking views! :)

Tom, Dick and Harry Snowshoe

Hike Details

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Monday, September 6, 2010

30-mile ride

Left home around 2pm, first stop at Columbia River for a couple hours to watch the world go by, made my way over to Smith Lake for sunset, over to Kenton for a sammy and a brew, then into the downtown zone to catch the MAX (purple) back to the I-205 bike path which I pedaled home on (red). What a day! I <3 Oregon