Saturday, July 31, 2010

Rafting the Deschutes River

Clare and I just returned from a long weekend in Eastern Oregon. We left town on Friday and spent two days camped in Camp Sherman, Oregon. taking it easy. On Sunday we drove over to Maupin, Oregon to meet up with some of Clare's co-workers for a rafting trip on the lower-Deschutes River.

The section of the river that we floated was pretty mellow but we did have a few decent rapids that managed to get our blood pumping a bit.  Everyone had a good time and it was an excellent way to beat the heat.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

North Sister Climb

My Buddy Mike Smith and I just got back from a great climb of North Sister in the Sisters Wilderness of Central Oregon.  We had a fantastic but grueling time heading up this wonderful mountain. We made it to the trailhead on the west side of the mountain at 5:00 PM on Saturday and began the 6 mile slog into the base of the climb. We we're traveling with split snowboards in the hopes that we would get some turns. Unfortunately the snow down low was really patchy so we ended up having to hike almost four miles with the boards on our backs!
Here is Mike finally enjoying a bit of skinning on the snowboard! We ended up pushing on to our high camp in the dark and making camp at the terminus of the Collier Glacier. After a brief nap (it is hard to consider four hours actual sleep!), we got geared up and began the climb.
As we climbed up the Northwest Ridge of the mountain we we're treated to some great views, including a fantastic look at the east face of Middle Sister (at the top of the post). Once we hit the ridge it was fairly straight-forward climbing (see the picture of Mike above) until we made it to the traverse beneath the summit (picture below).

The traverse to the gully in the center of the picture above was steep and exposed but the snow was generally pretty good (albeit a little icy).  We opted to forego the rope, despite the exposure, because we felt that moving fast through the traverse was our best option for avoiding the potential rock fall from above.
North Sister actually has two summits, one is just a few feet higher than the other, but the route to the top of the highest summit was melted out and sketchy (as seen in the picture above) so we swallowed our pride and were content to get on top of the lower of the two summits. We managed a few thousand feet of snowboard turns in the slushy snow of the lower part of the mountain on our decent, and then had to hike the boards out for the final push to the car. We made it back by 5:30 PM on Sunday for a total of 24.5 hours.