After a relaxing 3 days at Sunriver resort riding Mt. Bachelor and enjoying Bend, Todd, Andrew and I headed out to Tam McArthur Rim to test out the new yurts run by Three Sisters Backcountry Inc., which are in the first year of operation. The place lived up to expectations. We met Shane at the trailhead, got our gear loaded in the sled and trailer, and headed out for the 6 mile snowmobile ride into Three Creeks Lake. The snowpack at 5200 was pretty sketch, but at 6500 it was near 250 cm. Soon, the terrain of the rim opened up before us.
The riding possibilities seemed endless, with steeps, cornices big lines everywhere. We were out touring by 10 am. We were blessed with bluebird skies for the whole trip, and great powder on the north facing aspects. Due to several days of no new snow, the avalanche danger was low, making the steep stuff accessible. The views to the south and west of Broken Top and the sisters were amazing. Here’s a shot of Broken Top from the top of the rim and another of Todd touring out to the point….
We hit the main bowl in the rim on the second day of our stay, and the powder was epic, due to the fact that all the moisture had been sucked out of the snow from temps in the single digits the night before. Our pit revealed a few weak layers 80 cm down or so, but there were no results with an extended column test or compression test. Here’s Todd ripping some fresh stuff…..
Here’s a couple of shots of me riding the bowl in the sunshine……
Here’s a shot of Andrew on the highlight reel…..
The skin back up went nicely after we put the 1st track in….
The yurts were super cozy, with a full kitchen and comfortable bunks. Having never stayed in a yurt before, I was surprised at all the little things – every detail was planned out. The sauna was icing on the cake. On the second night, I brought out the tripod to take a few shots and these were the results…..
After dinner, I was able to shoot this shot of the Raven yurt with a 30 second exposure on my tripod.
The third morning dawned crystal clear and cold (3 degrees F), but there had been some pretty strong winds from the night before. After a few more laps in one of the many bowls, we came back, packed up our stuff and headed out for one more lap of nice preserved pow on the north facing slopes above camp. One last rock drop and it was time to get ready for the 6 miles out….
The trip was excellent, the yurts excellent, and the snow excellent. We’ll be heading back next year again for sure, but will probably forgo the freeze dried meals in favor of some fresh food!
I just got by AIARE Level 1 Cert. from 3 Sisters BCI on February 19-21. I’m very very very excited to head back to Tam for some touring; the area appears absolutely off the hook! Those freight train sized cornices up top are quite gnarly though…
Did you encounter much surface hoar formation during your stay? I know that’s been a persistent demon this year up at Tam….lots of cold clear nights like you described after brief stints of precipitation.
There was some surface hoar on the first two days we were there, but most if not all of it got destroyed on Monday night/Tuesday morning by strong winds. Talking with Shane at 3 Sisters BCI, the main bowls slid a month or so earlier on a buried surface hoar layer, and that layer didn’t show up in our pit. There was a crust layer about 80cm down, but we couldn’t get it to slide with any tests, only after we removed the snow and sheared it out with the shovels. There was a wind load layer starting to form on Tuesday morning though, and I’d imagine with more snowfall the danger will again increase.
Nice! Shane is a buddy of mine and a great guy. I was out there in Dec for a couple days and was really impressed. One of these days I’ll get a TR up. The yurts are super nice and have lots of nice details, and it puts you right at the base of some of the best terrain in central OR. Touring out to Broken Top was a highlight. Glad that you guys got out there to check it out. I think these yurts are going to be very popular now that the word is getting out.
Yeah, Shane was super cool and pretty easy going! This would be a sweet location for a central Oregon splitfest, or at least for a group of several splitters to get together! The yurts are getting popular – I’m going to have to get my reservation soon for next year so I don’t miss out!