Spring into Summer Solstice

I always really enjoy the spring in Central Oregon. The months of April through June have a great variety of good climbing and skiing options in our area.  There are very  few areas in the US with as much diversity of great stuff to do as we have here.

My late April and May skiing had a few great trips on the docket. The great ski guide Martin Volken once said that this is the time of year when Cascades skiing turns from Good to Great. This is really the truth!

One of my favorite trips to do at this time of year in the Ski Circumnavigation of Mt Hood. Crossing as many as 7 glaciers, and with a vertical component of 4000 feet and 12 miles of skiing, this tour is great sample of the many faces of Mt Hood. This is Oregon classic, and not to be missed by any diehard volcano skier!

Zig Zag Glacier Mt Hood

Above, Christopher starting the tour at daybreak.

Some real ski mountaineering! Climbing up from the Reid Glacier to gain the Sandy Glacier.

Mike enjoying some of the more glaciated terrain on the north side of Mt Hood.

The reward for skiing halfway around the mountain? An excellent soft snow run down the Snow Dome to the Eliot Glacier.

The tour ends with a fantastic 3500 foot run down the White River Glacier to Timberline Lodge.

In May, the Central Oregon Peaks really show their best side, as this is when skiing around Broken Top and the Three Sisters is in it’s prime. One of my favorite tours in the area is Broken Top Bowl. There are many great open runs that grace the area. Some are steep, and others are pretty reasonable.

Here Joe and Caroline are looking forward to a great day skiing. The SE Shoulder of Broken Top is immediately behind.

On the ridge leading to the SE Summit, and the first run of the day– The East Ramp!

The East Ramp is a sweet shot, starting steep, and with cliff’s below, it feels like it has a lot of exposure. The turns were exhilarating.

Joe and Caroline skiing down the lower bowl with the ramp system behind.

Our next objective for the day, was Pucker Up, a steep SE facing run on the SW Ridge of Broken Top. We threw in a little ski mountaineering practice on the way, did some rope climbing and some great cramponing. This allowed us to check the conditions on the way up, instead of just jumping in from the top.

The view down below my ski tips.

Here is Caroline styling it on free – heel gear. What a great run.

Looking back at our last descent, what a great tour!

Skiing is beginning to wrap up around here now. But for the die-hards, there will be snow for a while yet. We don’t have any ski trips left on our calendar now, so it will be great to look forward to next season!

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