How is it Spring already? I feel like I was just transitioning from my mountain bike season to backcountry touring, now I’m starting to cross train for biking again and preparing for mountain bike races. We’ve had some great backcountry trips this season so far, including trips around Mt. Hood, Mt. Rainier, and to Crater Lake in Southern Oregon. If you’re in the Oregon area and splitboard, come out to Oregon Splitfest on April 20-22nd and experience the great community here. It’s one of the last backcountry events in the area for the season and really kicks off Spring climbing season.
I just attended the March for Science in Washington D.C. and what a motivational day. From farmers and firemen to children from Flint, people from all walks of life came out to march and show their support for science. During this time, I was able to use the new Gnarbox to do some daily edits. Here is a short same day recap that’s edited with the Gnarbox and filmed with my Lumix GH4 and G85.
The footage I shot will soon be available in Creative Commons to help spread the news of this great day.
Congrats to everyone! The two year project to build three bridges in the mountain bike and mixed use trail area of Stub Stewart State Park, OR came to an end this weekend with the completion of the last bridge. This work was no easy feat and took 100’s of volunteers to help move 20+ tons of rock and materials into the remote areas where the bridges were built.
These 100’s of volunteers put in 1,500-2000 worth of combined hours and spanned many groups including NWTA, Oregon State Parks, Oregon Equestrian Trails, Westside Trail Federation, and the Northwest Youth Corps.
Thanks to Oregon State Parks for making this all possible, including finding grants for Northwest Youth Corps to build the bridges. This gave 19-24 year old America Corp volunteers an opportunity to learn two weeks of carpentry skills.
What used to be the site of the Rocky Butte Prison from 1942-1983 is now becoming a 25 acre mix use park in Portland, OR. Sitting between two major highways, this unused land was recently the home to over 200 homeless. In the fall of 2016, a large outreach effort was started to provide assistance and resources to those living on the land.
A cleanup and trail building effort has since begun and volunteers from @nwtrail, Friends of Gateway Green and @portlandparks have put in thousand of hours thus far.
This multi-million dollar project will also provide the mountain bike community with a local home and the Dirt Lab section of the park is slatted to open at the end of June 2017.
Check out www.gatewaygreen.org to learn more.
We just got back from our second trip up to Mt. St. Helens. We attempted a summit in mid-December but had to turn back because of questionable snowpack stability. This trip was no different, after digging our pit we found some questionable wind layers and chose some safe routes on the ride down. Stay safe out there with all of this very cold dry snow, we don’t get this often in the PNW.
Headed up to Crystal Mountain this weekend with Eric Mireiter and met up with a few Crystal Mountain locals. Waking up Sunday morning, we hopped out of the camper truck to find 21cm of fresh snow and it was by far some of the driest snow I’ve seen in the PNW in a long time. Stay safe out there!
(photo: Cory Betzel on Mt. Rainier)
Well it’s that time of the year again. What time is that? Time to get the board and skis waxed? Time to start watching all of the new powder films? Time to plan all of your Winter trips? Nope.. It’s time to get scared again.
On September 27th of this year, we experienced the first avalanche death of the season in Banff. If it wasn’t already in our Fall plans, this should be a urgent reminder that it’s time to dust off our Avalanche Training books and start to review our materials. It’s easy to go into the season with too much confidence and to forget some of our basic knowledge when the stoke is high after a long absence of powder in our lives. So it’s time to get ourselves scared and educated again before we enter the backcountry…
Where are some good places to get scared? There are a lot of ways but here are some of my favorite places:
- Read the accident and avalanche reports from the past season in your area. Besides being an eye opening reminder of what can happen, it also gives you a better understanding of what happens in your surrounding area. At Avalanche.org you can read about some of the 30 avalanche deaths we had in the 2015-2016 US season.
- KBYG.org has a good list of all of the Avlanche Centers in the US and they also have a terrifying video of being caught in an avalanche.
- Films! Go watch some of your favorite films where people have accidentally triggered avalanches. Another good film is Snowman, the story of an avalanche forecaster in BC.
- Besides your avalanche training materials, Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain is great book to read if you want to get into some statistics on fatalities and accidents.
- Lastly, Youtube “Caught in Avalanche”
Now that you’re scared, here are some useful online resources to refresh your knowledge:
- The K2 Elevated Education Videos gives you a good overview of everything from skinning to digging pits.
- The Jones Snowboards Cheatsheet.
- BCA’s Learn Section.
- University Corporation for Atmospheric Research forecast info.
- National Avalanche Center’s online training.
Enjoy the new pow and stay safe out there.
Just got back from the Inter Glacier on Mt. Rainier. We opted to head to Rainier to escape Oregon’s rising freeze levels and to avoid the crowds at Paradise Glacier. After a dry approach for a few hours we finally hit the Glacier Basin and got our first glimpses of the Inter Glacier. The terrain was a little thinner than Corey, Kristian and I hoped for but still enough dust on crust to get some good turns in. This is definitely some of the best snow we’ve all ridden in years for October and I can tell the stoke level is growing as each storm rolls in.
Threw together a quick edit to get you stoked for the weekend! When you see the freeze levels rising the day after a huge October snow storm, you do what you have to do. You grab the yea-sayers, some bright ass video lights and you go find cold powder. Great riding with you Jay Swain and Cory Betzel!!!
It’s time!!! After the storm that hit the PNW last week, it left Mt. Hood with fresh powder mid-week and corn by the weekend. So Cory Betzel, Kristian Gamiao and I headed up to get our first fresh turns of the season. After dry approaching up to Silcox Hut it was a relief to find 6″ of soft snow on the skin up thru the canyons that lead to Palmer Glacier. By the time we hit the top of Palmer at 10am, the fresh snow turned into perfect corn and rode perfectly for about 1,500 feet.
I hope this is a foreshadow of what the rest of the season holds….