Well, I am still without a split, but that is not stopping me from getting out there and earning my turns. A cold, wet spring here in the northwest is really making up for the less than epic snow season we had. Here we are almost July now and I have been experiencing some of the best “spring” corn conditions I have had in years of climbing in the Cascades. In the last 2 weeks I have climbed Mt. Hood to get the goods and both trips I have been rewarded with out of this world riding conditions.
The weather finally broke around here so I decided to drive over to Mt. Hood Meadows and hike for some turns. High above the top of Cascade is a broad, open face that leads to a sort of false summit. The entire final 2,000 feet is a pretty even 50 degree pitch. I started my climb from the Meadows parking lot around 11:00 AM with the idea of just going up Cascade for some turns but as I gained altitude, the snow kept getting better and better. It was 80 in Portland and the expected high at Meadows was to be pushing 60 so I was concerned about my late start. No worries though as there was no evidence of slide activity other than some small point release sluffs.
Around 12:30, I stopped for lunch under the shade of the top of the Vista Chairlift, then proceeded on up Vista Ride to Superbowl where Wy East officially begins at the 9,000 foot level. At this point, I had climbed 4,000 vertical feel. The snow at this level was really good and had not overly softened. As I climbed Wy East, the afternoon shadows stretched and the temperature was now right at the freezing mark so the snow was epic spring corn. The last 500 feet to the 10,600 level was a real pain in the ass as I was starting to really feel the altitude and the pitch increased to 55 degrees. The footing was sketchy in a few places, but once I got back out into the sun, the snow softened a bit. I reached the cliff band at the top around 7:00 PM and had a fantastic ride on the best spring corn to the top of Cascade. Below that it was a bit of a sticky slog.
Met up with a guy who was camping at the gate to get an early start the next day. We shared a beer and some good conversation. All in all, Wy East is impressive as hell and arguably some of the steepest ride able terrain on the mountain. The exposure and sheer grandeur of the view creates a real sense of vertigo., but damn it really makes you earn the turns. I was toast by the end of the day.
Here are the pics……………..
Mt. Hood from the base area at Meadows:
Mt. Jefferson to the south as seen from the badlands area of Meadows
View from the top of Vista Ridge
Hiking the ridge above Cascade
High above the top of Cascade on the ridge between White River and Heather Canyon
Hiking the moraine to the base of Wy East
View down into the head of Clark / Heather Canyon
The start of Wy East above White River Canyon
View of the Columbia River and eastern Oregon and Washington fro the base of Wy East Face
Mt. Jefferson to the South
View to the east from about halfway up Wy East
The destination ahead
On the 50 degree portion looking up to the top
Thought this looked cool
Looking back down on Mt. Hood Meadows far, far below