All Results for: Catherine

Boulder Creek Basin Backcountry Ski

This route will put you on a ridge with several options, in some big and technical terrain. At the top, the NE side will have some cliffs and couloirs into the E. Fork West Eagle Creek drainage, the SW side is some lower angle tree skiing into Jim Creek, and the SE is an open slope and bowl into the Boulder Creek drainage. You can continue on to access the Copper Bowl deeper in. Continuing on the ridge from the terminus of the displayed route could get technical with cornices and some exposure as the ridge becomes more knife-like, so perhaps a safer approach to Copper may be a gentler slope just to the east of Boulder Creek, but then you will be abandoning some good ski terrain on the way...  
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Big stuff coming

SNOW OBSERVATION    
This cycle of snow every week or so hasn't quite built up enough in the high country to ski or snowmobile yet. It keeps getting followed by periods of warmth and sun that is melting it too much. However, more snow is on the way. I was up fairly high in the southwest Wallowas and there are some spots of 2-3 feet of snow hanging around but it is patchy and dirt is showing. Most southern slopes are completely snow free, even in the interior of the Wallowas, like on Eagle Cap.

As of now, roads and trails are mostly clear up until about 7,000' but some of the northern aspects are retaining  Read more

Snow Reduction

by Brian Sather — Posted Wed, Oct 18, 2017

Despite mine, and others, beliefs the mountain snow might be here to stay it has been coming off this week. Right now, it looks like a little refresh will come but might be followed again by some mild temps to maybe open up some high trails again next week. I observed the snow up on Burger and it is mostly disappearing. There was a little snow left on the road around Buck Creek Campground but it is mostly all gone now with the warm south wind that has been blowing off and on the last few days. Also, the tamaracks are now on up high!
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Fake Creek Trail #1914 - Wallowa Mountains

Fake Creek Trail is mostly fake. While it exists on a map, in reality it is a concoction of bad practice in trail making. For starters, there is fake footbridge. Then there are many sections of fake trail and real trail which are difficult to discern. Presumably there existed and old moderate incline trail with switchbacks and then people came along and decided to go steeply up the mountain to avoid all the tree fall down across the trail. This brings up the topic of fake maintenance; there are many trees across the trail and in some places trees were cut out but not on the trail. This is really confusing because usually when I lose a trail the first thing I look for are cut logs to guide me back onto an old trail bed...  
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Squaw Creek Trail #1951 - Wallowa Mountains, Union, Oregon

This is an uneventful but awesome trail that shoots straight up Squaw Creek to the China Ridge Trail. The beauty is its simplicity marching through a low use area with direct access into a remote area. The climb is subtle and direct and makes good time getting up to some nice scenery. The trail is in good shape too. You stay in the trees on the west side of the creek until you cross the creek and the visuals open up as you work directly toward the saddle. There are some oddities about this trail though. The access is weird and there is no good parking space at the trailhead, let alone a good spot to turn a trailer around...  
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China Ridge Trail #1906 - Wallowa Mountains, Union, Oregon

China Ridge is a beautiful ridgetop trail with a nice view in all directions on the western side of the Wallowas. Burger and China Cap are the first peaks you get a nice look at, including the north wall of China Cap which is view-able on a good stretch of the trail after China Cap Pass. The trail serves as an excellent connector for a loop with Squaw Creek Trail and Elk Creek Trail or a more ambitious loop to North Fork Catherine Creek Trail. The trail starts off the Elk Creek Trail at a confusing intersection with no signage. The trail surface is in good shape given the limited traffic beyond China Cap Pass. Some use this trail to climb the peak and depart from the trail somewhere around or before the pass...  
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Squaw Basin First Snow 9-21-2017

by Brian Sather — Thu, Sep 21, 2017

Squaw First Snow, First Cornice

SNOW OBSERVATION    
Well I set out to do a trail run and a trail report, but quickly I was trudging through deeper and deeper snow so here is the first snow ob of the year. The drive up to around 5,500' was uneventful aside from dodging a few bow hunters, but right at the "trailhead" for Squaw Creek Trail the first touches of snow were appearing and it was 35 degrees F. Climbing the trail had me quickly in full white status, with snow still stuck on the trees and some nice quality powder on the ground. The snow hit a little earlier last year< Read more

Flagstaff Trail - Wallowa Mountains

This is an unofficial trail that connects Flagstaff Butte ridge with Mule Peak ridge. It can serve as a bonus connector trail if one wants to do a loop of Sand Pass, Tombstone Lake, and West Eagle trails. Otherwise, it mainly serves as a hunters' trail or alternate access Mule Peak. It is a bit shorter and gains you some elevation over starting at Pole Creek Trailhead. The more recent heavier use of this trail was for fire crews to hike into the fire line for the Mule Peak Fire of 2005. That was probably the last time it was thoroughly cut out. The trail appears to be an old trail that was well established at one time, perhaps for access from an old lookout at Flagstaff Butte or connecting communication lines and transportation to Mule Peak Lookout...  
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Sans Pass

by Brian Sather — Posted Sat, Aug 26, 2017

The smoke is back invading our air again. Thankfully, we had the perfect window of clear skies on eclipse day. That was awesome--totality was one of the greatest things I have seen in my life. The Fire, Weather, & Avalanche Center eclipse forecast was right on with 0% chance of cloud cover, which I was beginning to doubt with all the smoke and clouds the days leading up to it and then it all cleared up magically for us. The Forest Service and other entities did a great job putting all the fires out and keeping others from starting fires leading up to the eclipse. There were a lot of starts...
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