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fheimerd

[TR] Mt. Hood - Wy East 5/1/2008

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Trip: Mt. Hood - Wy East

 

Date: 5/1/2008

 

Trip Report:

I've been watching storm cycles pass through oregon and waiting for the perfect day to go ski Wy East. Couple of days of cold snow and clearing on Thursday was the forecast and this time I wasn't letting my chance get away from me. I left portland at 5:00 and was skinning by 7:00. I wanted to get up there earlier because I knew it was going to be warming up but getting up before 5:00 is just damn hard.

 

The 1 ft+ of snow that they got on the east side of the mountain was wind blown with minimal ski penetration but pole penetration went to about 1 ft in the deep spots. As I skinned up I kept looking at the face trying to assess snow conditions and choose a safe way to the top. With the warming and snow consolidation I was concerned about avalanch danger. The way the snow was compacted I figured if it was going to go it would be big. Finally at the base of the face the snow changed. No more wind pack, just nice soft powder. I couldn't believe my good fortune. The whole face was sitting there ready to be had.

 

I decided to go around into the cliffy area climbers right to avoid exposing myself to avalanch hazards. I packed up the skis and took out the ice axe thinking boot packing might be better for the steep slope and gullies above me. It started out easy enough with nice soft styrofoam snow that was perfecrt for boot packing. Then about halfway up one of the gullies the styrofoam turned to ice covered by an inch of powder. At this point I began to curse at myself for leaving the crampoons at home. Progress slowed and my legs began to ache from the strain of standing on my toes and chipping at the ice to make footholds. An hour and 300 vf later I was relived to top the gullies and finished the ascent by skinning up the mellow slopes above the face. Things ere definately warming up but everything had been so solid up to that point I wasn't so concerned anymore after my previous brush with fear in the gullies.

 

Big G turns with my Verdicts gave me that flying sensation as I cruised down the face. I love that run. I finished off the day by cruising down funky wind affected snow in Upper Heather Canyon. Recent snow doesn't seem to have made it to far east. All in all an excellent day dishing up everything one could ask for in a ski trip.

photo#5195944815050051458

Edited by fheimerd

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10,800 or so. Can't remember exactly. Seems like the slope ends and some craggy rock begins. That's where I stopped.

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Had two buddies up there on Sunday attempting Wy East, but a ski patroller from Meadows turned them around and threatened to have the Sheriff arrest them if they did not turn around and go down. The patroller, named Brad, said that Meadows will not allow anyone to cross their property to access the upper mountain and that going out of bounds puts anyone subject to arrest. He called "Meadows security" and had them escorted to the parking lot. Is this true? If so, how does everyone access the Wy East while staying off of Meadows territory? If it is true, I think it is complete BS. It is national forest service out of bounds. They did not use lift service and skinned up to get there. Also, does anyone have the regs to show me the rules of Meadows?

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It is total BS that they throw their weight around about upper Heather. I have always started at Timberline and traversed under the steel cliffs to Wy'East, but it seems pretty weak that Meadows can shut down the access to dozens of square miles of mountain just because they have a "Conditional Use Permit" to run a ski area. I'm pretty sure the legality of the whole thing is very grey- I think they only have the right to boot you out if they assess imminent danger to you or other guests at their ski area from your presence on the upper mountain (like you kick an avalanche down, or they are blasting and don't want you there). I'm pretty sure in a court of law they would have a hard time making something stick unless they could prove that you interferred with their avy control and therefore endangered lives. Interesting topic indeed...

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In the past I've found if you talk to meadows ski patrol before hand they are usually pretty cool about letting you skirt the boundary of the ski area. I remember them telling me to just stay out of sight. Maybe they are getting more militant now. Wasn't a problem when I went up because meadows was closed. I agree it's total bullshit and that guy Brad seems like he went a little overboard.

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This issue with MHM comes up every year. As fheimerd stated, if you talk to them first usually they are cool. They have the right to patrol the in-bounds area, and that is what they are afraid of ... that your poaching the ski area. But if you explain your intentions and stay to the side of the runs as much as possible then they usually don't have an issue.

Screw Brad

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