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 Post subject: Mt. McLoughlin-Southern Cascade grand tour continued...
PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 4:45 pm 
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After an awesome weekend last weekend on Lassen and Shasta (see "Shasta Accidents!?!") I went and hit up a peak I've been thinking about for several years now, but first I had to scope it out from 60 Miles to the south on top of Pilot Rock:
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Pilot Rock is a great 3 miles rt 1k' vert hike with a couple class 3/4 moves to get to the top that offers unobstructed and outstanding views of Mt. Ashland to the West, Mt. Shasta, the Eddys and Trinity Alps to the south and of course Mt. McLoughlin to the North. This is a shot of Mt. M's Southern aspects:
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Knowing that the coverage on the S. side looked better this June than any other in the last 6 years, and knowing that my goal was the NE bowl that holds snow even better, I knew it was on. Amar Andalkar calls the McL NE bowl "easily the best ski descent in S. OR" (paraphrase). So I hit the road and got an email on my crackberry while in route from Buell with this shot of the NE face from 10 days ago-Thanks Buell for the Beta!:
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I bivied in the Summit TH parking lot after a beautiful drive through the S. OR Cascades and woke up at about 7:30 am to a group of 5 skiers heading out with the same objective in mind. This normally doesn't happen on McL since it's so out of the way, so I actually took comfort in the fact that I wouldn't be completely alone on the mountain. They got out about an hour before me, but by about 9am I set out down the trail:
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Plenty of H20 in the rivers and creeks of OR this time of year:
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...because the snow at the lower elevations is finally starting to melt out:
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Now McL is only 9600' but the TH starts out at 5500' so it makes for a bit of work just getting to the continuous (read skinnable) snow. It reminds me of a mini Shasta in it's perfect conical shape and the fact that it's the biggest damn thing around so it attracts all the weather. The trail went for a couple of miles in patchy snow before disappearing all together. In reality you'd better be good with your compass on this mountain. Looking out toward 4 mile lake and Mirror Pond (namesake of my favorite beer!) from the East ridge:
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By lunchtime I had caught up with the 5 skiers, (forgive spelling, if I can remember all 5 names it's a miracle) Kelli, Aaron, Art, Chris, and Nick. I got some pictures of them and they got some shots of me with our objective still 1500' above and bathed in Bluebird conditions:
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I let the skiers go ahead while I enjoyed my full lunch, having seen first hand that there would be fresh tracks for all of us. The forecast called for 20% chance of afternoon precip and I couldn't help but spy some clouds rolling in from the SW. Brown Mountain, which is only 8k but right across the highway and definitely on the list for next winter...it's got all kinds of fun looking chutes and features on the North face:
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Within an hour or so I caught up with the skiers again a few hundred feet below the summit some wispy clouds but things were looking good:
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Just a few minutes later we made it to summit, and guess what?:
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We waited on the summit for over an hour for a window to clear so we could ride the NE bowl (diff. descent route then the ascent route so visibility was kinda crucial), but alas 3pm rolled around and it was time to make a decision so we descended near the ascent route on the SE face. The first 1k' was all socked in, and below that I separated from the skier group so no riding shots. But all in all it was high quality corn for about 3k'. Being the snowboarder that I am, the reason I separated from the skiers was that they started traversing back to the east from fairly high up and I saw a fall line gully I just couldn't resist. I dropped it and ended up getting sucked to the South more then I anticipated so it made for an interesting hike out through the dense woods. After wandering in what I thought was the general direction of the TH for awhile I found this tree:
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The arrow is a compass bearing back to the TH. Unfortunately for me I had to traverse over and through multiple gullies where man-eating postholes (that semi circle next to the posthole is my crotch imprint!)...:
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....dense woods and thick deadfall were abundant:
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Overall the GPS said I had climbed 4300' and traveled 15.5 miles.

It was worth it. I also scouted out several other THs and may go back and give it another go for the NE or N Bowls next weekend. We'll see...

Thanks Buell for the all the Beta! Getting a shot of the line you want to do on McL within 2 weeks of when you want to do it is highly unlikely to say the least, but alas a fellow splitboard.com-er comes through!

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 Post subject: Re: Mt. McLoughlin-Southern Cascade grand tour continued...
PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 5:19 pm 
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The snowpack down there is crazy. Nice work getting up there the NE chute is just as good as Amar states.

Buell is a standup character.

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 Post subject: Re: Mt. McLoughlin-Southern Cascade grand tour continued...
PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 7:43 pm 
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jbaysurfer
Where did you score thet ride?
Is that one of the new voiles?

Spill the beans

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 Post subject: Re: Mt. McLoughlin-Southern Cascade grand tour continued...
PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 9:25 pm 
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Quote:
Being the snowboarder that I am, the reason I separated from the skiers was that they started traversing back to the east from fairly high up and I saw a fall line gully I just couldn't resist. I dropped it and ended up getting sucked to the South more then I anticipated so it made for an interesting hike out through the dense woods.
- he he ha ha sounds like fuuuuuun.

i saw those skier tracks on McL when I flew over it today. here is a pic from above

Image

seriously though glad you made it out OK. new gps?


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 Post subject: Re: Mt. McLoughlin-Southern Cascade grand tour continued...
PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 9:46 pm 
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Nice work! Conditions look good down there, especially for this late in the year. Should be a good pack on the bigger peaks well into July :D

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 Post subject: Re: Mt. McLoughlin-Southern Cascade grand tour continued...
PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 10:32 pm 
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Location: Santa Barbara, CA/Ashland, OR
Tks for the replies folks.

firstlight wrote:
jbaysurfer
Where did you score thet ride?
Is that one of the new voiles?

Spill the beans


Yeah, I did a review on it here. All I can say is it started life as a demo of next season's Mojo RX, and when it's life ends it'll be a really old, really well traveled Mojo RX... :wink:. I did pay for it, so you can be assured that review is objective. I really like it. It's also got a few good gouges in the base, at the lower elevations those rocks are hovering mere inches below the surface :shock:

fullers2oh wrote:

i saw those skier tracks on McL when I flew over it today. here is a pic from above

Image

seriously though glad you made it out OK. new gps?


Yeah I replaced the old one, and actually I left a story outta the trip report:

When I was hitting around 7k' I started running out of snow, so I did the unbuckle shuffle a few times and one of the times I took the GPS off to fix on the car and sat it down on the snow. You know what happened next? I managed a nifty little descent of at least 500' while having to get creative on my board to avoid rocks, deadfall, trees etc. When I stopped I realized it was time to reascend :oops: I'd left it behind. No way in hell I was losing my second gps in a week. I gotta get that thing permanently attached somehow. I swear I've learned my lesson this time though.

More importantly than all that though...you were flying "over" it? Tell me there's a Hood report or something coming?

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 Post subject: Re: Mt. McLoughlin-Southern Cascade grand tour continued...
PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 10:06 am 
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Nice job. Pretty confusing getting out of there. :lol: I've gotten so turned around in those woods before.

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 Post subject: Re: Mt. McLoughlin-Southern Cascade grand tour continued...
PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 8:47 am 
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Sweet stuff Jbay! That mountain looks primo!! :thatrocks:


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 Post subject: Re: Mt. McLoughlin-Southern Cascade grand tour continued...
PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 9:40 am 
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Nice man! Sucks you got screwed by clouds. So, how were the sun cups with it only being 9600ft? On shasta they're getting huge below 9k. I bet that other mountain would be a sweet mid winter spot (but probably only by sled).


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 Post subject: Re: Mt. McLoughlin-Southern Cascade grand tour continued...
PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 9:54 am 
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BGnight wrote:
Nice man! Sucks you got screwed by clouds. So, how were the sun cups with it only being 9600ft? On shasta they're getting huge below 9k. I bet that other mountain would be a sweet mid winter spot (but probably only by sled).


Thanks for the responses guys.

Actually Brooks, the suncups were virtually non-existent! It was smooth primo corn all the way down to about 7k, then it got a little dirty and rotten below that, but no suncups. It's wierd, it's only a couple hours north of Shasta, but 9.6k' up here seems more like 10.6 @ Shasta. Regarding that other mountain, it seems a lot of riders/skiers up here rely on their sleds to access this stuff, but McL is wilderness so it rarely gets skied in the winter (though I'd love to hit it up next year), and Brown is fairly accesible from the highway so while a sled might help, it's not neccessary.

It's not a great area for you altitude junkies, but in the winters when the area consistently has long lasting snowfields at 4k' it's pretty much wide open solitary powder fields.

Saw your post on TGR, looks like you scored at Shasta! Strong work, well done on the summit!

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 Post subject: Re: Mt. McLoughlin-Southern Cascade grand tour continued...
PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 11:27 pm 
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Location: Eugene and Coos Bay, Oregon.
Nice TR jbay! Too bad the clouds came in right at the summit. Glad the info helped. I sent you more on Diamond from my climb last week.

Suncups on the west side of Shasta are almost up to Helen Lake as of yesterday but not on the slopes above it. Very little icefall at the moment on the Avy Gulch route. As jbay said, there were no suncups on McLoughlin from two weeks ago, just funky snow in the trees.

McLouglin and Brown are reasonably close (by Oregon standards) to the highway so they could be ridden in the winter without a sled. I love the look of Brown. It looks like a ready made ski resort.


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