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 Post subject: Volcano Raid Round 2: part 4 North Sister
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 9:51 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2008 12:40 pm
Posts: 531
June 26th

Jon was kind enough to drop me off near Santium Pass on his way back to Seattle where I stayed the night at the Detroit lake campground waiting for Ari (TGR) and Buell (splitboard.com) to meet up with me later in the day. After both of them arrived we decided to tackle the North Sister in 3 sisters wilderness. We drove to the pole creek trailhead and camped for the night preparing for an early morning start to avoid potential rock fall. We woke up around 4:00 and were bushwhacking through the forest by 4:30 heading in a straight path to the North Sister.

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After around two hours of bushwhacking we found ourselves on the lower slopes of the Villard headwall with the early morning colouir right in front of us. We decided that we would climb up the NE ridge and assess conditions along the way with hopes of hitting up the colouir. We cramponed up the steep firm slopes until reaching the exposed snowless ridge were we took our crampons off for the exposed 4th class rotten rock making sure that every hand hold was solid. After some more scrambling across the North face we found ourselves 100 feet below the true summit with a ramp extending into the colouir.

Arriving to the base of the Villard Headwall
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Cramponing up the steep face
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Buell up higher
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Gaining the ridge with the northern Oregon Volcano’s in the distance
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Some more rock scrambling
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After some up climbing we were able to find a flat spot to strap our boards on. To reach the colouir we had to traverse a 50 degree exposed slope for 40 feet to a ridge that separated the Villard face. The chute itself was steep and committing with no room for mistakes as a runnel ran down the gut 2000 vertical feet with 6 foot walls and cliff bands along the way. The snow had softened up quite a bit making it quite edgeable the whole way down.

Traversing the exposed face to access the early morning colouir
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Looking down the chute
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I dropped in first
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After riding down to the end of the continuous snow we bushwhacked 3 miles back to the Pole Creek trailhead where we packed up our gear and got back on the road.

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 Post subject: Re: Volcano Raid Round 2: part 4 North Sister
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 12:40 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2006 8:29 am
Posts: 580
Location: Oregon
Damn - the snow in the EMC looks tasty! Nice shots!

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 Post subject: Re: Volcano Raid Round 2: part 4 North Sister
PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 7:07 pm 
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Joined: Fri Nov 19, 2004 8:41 pm
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Location: Santa Cruz, CA
You lucky bastard - nice work! :) Every time I have gone up there the conditions and/or my timing have been a bit off. Interesting route, I guess that makes sense given that both Villard and EMC can be serious bowing alleys.

Couple questions. What time were you dropping into EMC? How was the snow stability in the chute? Loads of sluff coming down the runnel?

Here's what that area looked like a month earlier (5/24)... not exactly stable.

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 Post subject: Re: Volcano Raid Round 2: part 4 North Sister
PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 7:32 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jul 05, 2008 7:38 pm
Posts: 390
Location: Eugene and Coos Bay, Oregon.
jimw wrote:
You lucky bastard - nice work! :) Every time I have gone up there the conditions and/or my timing have been a bit off. Interesting route, I guess that makes sense given that both Villard and EMC can be serious bowing alleys.

Couple questions. What time were you dropping into EMC? How was the snow stability in the chute? Loads of sluff coming down the runnel?


Jim, the Villard was pretty messed up snow wise on this trip, but rockfall was minimal. I only saw one rock come down the Villard all day and I am not sure that Kyle did not set it off with his sluff when he did the traverse over to the EMC. Nothing in the EMC.

Earlier in the season would have been better this year. There is a lot less snow this season than last. We also have not had the late season snows that we got last year so stability has been good for a while here in Oregon.

We dropped at about 12. Snow was soft down 3 inches. Ankle deep on the boots. Sluff would hit the runnel and run down it. Definitely a bit freaky.

We left at 4:30 AM from the TH based on your TR and another groups TR about a failed trip last year. Our route was cross country straight at the Villard from Pole Creek. We only walked a hundred feet on the trail.


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