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treknclime

Mt. Bachelor Closed to Uphill Traffic!!

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It appears as though the Bachelor ski area HAS CLOSED MT. BACHELOR TO ALL UPHILL TRAFFIC, INCLUDING ATers, snowshoers, and hikers. The closure is in effect during the official downhill ski season.

 

There is a SMALL uphill area up the neighboring cinder cone, but that's an insignificant peace offering:

 

trail_map_sm.jpg

 

This unprecedented closure was quietly done through the ski area’s new operating plan, authorized through the NFS. Evidently, there was NO public input solicited on the closure that will likely affect many users.

 

The ski area president cites safety as their reasoning behind the closure, but did not offer uphill users any options or accommodation, such as an uphill safety corridor (perhaps from the end of the catch trail), despite the fact that uphill users have been using the mountain for decades.

 

Although I don’t live in the Bend area, I do manage some uphill trips up Bachelor, and it would be a huge loss to me if this closure were implemented. I did a search for the closure on cc.com, and didn’t see any threads...so thought something ought to be posted.

 

Does anyone know if the Access Fund has been involved, or is this something they get involved with?

 

THERE IS A MEETING THIS TUESDAY, ON DECEMBER 8, TO DISCUSS THE NEW CLOSURE, AND ALL UPHILL USERS IN THE BEND AREA ARE ENCOURAGED TO ATTEND. Details are as follows:

 

http://www.mtbachelor.com/winter/services/safety_policies/uphill_access/index.html

 

Text from the above link:

++++

Uphill traffic is defined as skiers or snowboarders or snowshoers who are traveling up the slopes, using climbing skins or other methods instead of chairlifts. In order to reduce safety concerns associated with uphill traffic Mt Bachelor and Deschutes National Forest have designated all areas within the special use permit as closed to uphill traffic except for a designated corridor for access to the cone using Leeway run. Be advised: The cone is considered unpatrolled and uncontrolled outside of our regular operating hours. Also to accommodate backcountry access off the Summit lift a backcountry access gate would be maintained near the bottom of Larry Valley on the south side to allow for skiers to use the Summit lift, and then exit the permit area to access Kwolh butte. These restriction will not apply during the off season when ski operations are not underway (ok to hike then) except for areas in snowmaking or grooming operations.

---------------------------------------------

Update (12/02/09)

We are acutely aware of the concerns expressed by uphill/skinning/hiking/AT/Randonee recreationists regarding Mt. Bachelor’s 2009/2010 Operating Plan parameters for uphill access approved by Deschutes National Forest officials. This topic is an agenda item of a meeting I have with Shane Jeffries, Bend/Fort Rock District Ranger, on December 8. I will provide another status report following this meeting. In the interim, the stated policy will remain in effect.

As background and in our on-going effort to educate guests and onlookers alike, I provide the following information regarding how we arrived at the current policy in conjunction with our partners in the Forest Service.

Providing a safe work environment for our staff and recreation area for our guests is the primary concern and responsibility we assume as a special use permit holder on the Deschutes National Forest. Safety concerns are in fact the ‘tail that wags the dog’ when determining our operating practices. Every year prior to receiving permission from the Forest Service to open Mt. Bachelor to the public we are required to submit and review an Operating Plan that addresses nearly every aspect of resort operations, from Avalanche Control and Emergency Plans to Signage and Vehicle Use.

In this year’s review we identified two critical safety issues we believe needed to be addressed in the 2009/10 Operating Plan:

1. The need to eliminate, or greatly reduce, the exposure posed to our avalanche control personnel while hiking up and hand-delivering explosive charges on the Moraine.

2. The need to address both the surge in the number of on-mountain incidents and the tone and severity of the conflicts encountered by our mountain personnel with uphill/skinning/AT recreationists, particularly involving free-grooming/winch-grooming and avalanche control operations in the morning hours preceding opening to the public.

As a result of the review we acquired a new Falcon GT Avalauncher to remotely deliver explosives to the Moraine to take our Patrol staff out of harm’s way and to safely reduce the time required to clear the Moraine from avalanche risk and to open the area to the public. We also evaluated multiple alternatives to establish a new uphill access policy we believed would balance our need for safe, unencumbered and clearly defined operating practices with a continued measure of uphill access for recreationists within the ski area boundary/special use permit area. The uphill access policy as stated is a result of addressing these issues.

This is not an issue unique to Mt. Bachelor; other ski areas operating on Forest System land are also currently working to balance safety, operating practices and access. However, every ski area poses its own unique challenges to arriving at that point of balance. We are committed to working with the Forest Service and recreationists to find that balance point for Mt. Bachelor. I ask for your cooperation by adhering to the policy until such time adjustments, if any, are made.

Thank you,

Dave Rathbun

President & General Manager

Mt. Bachelor, Inc.

------------------------------------------------------

We like dogs. However, dogs are not allowed above our parking lots during our winter operations. Please keep your pets on a leash at all times in the parking lots. These policies are not unique to Mt. Bachelor. They are in line with the overall Deschutes National Forest winter policies.

Map Of Allowed Uphill Traffic Area

 

Mt Bachelor and the Forest Service have agreed to uphill access restrictions within the Mt Bachelor special use permit area for safety. Reasons being:

• Avalanche control operations including use of new avalauncher

• Grooming and winch cat operations 4pm to opening

• Conflicts between downhill riders and uphill traffic

Additional FAQ for those with a lift ticket:

• You can still session the halfpipe

• If you ski into a spot where you need to walk up to get back to the lift - you can walk

• You can go from the top of summit lift to the bowl like you always have

• You can go up the ramp to get on the Summit Express

• You should not hike into closed areas above the tops of open lifts

• The uphill access policy is not very relevant to you if you are riding the chairlifts

 

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Half-pipe could be interesting, Pete, but in the winter 'round Bend I much prefer skating and the occasional up and back on Bachelor.

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Well, this sucks. As for part of the issue...avalanche blasting from a far. They should post signs like Berthold Pass, Co...Ultimately...it's public land and they are just permited to use the mountain. It would really suck if this idea were to spread to other locations. They shouldn't be allowed to go through with this bad idea without a compromise...like the above mentioned uphill only path....

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Welcome to corporate America.

Being a taxpayer is no longer enough.

Now you need to pay a fee or buy stock or both.

Please file your complaints in triplicate on form 321:14:a:12.

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what can they do if you go up? wrestle you and take away your skiis? or your snowshoes? or your feet? Do they really want to call the cops very weekend some wanker hikes in the ski area and what court would bother prosecuting? How about people test the ski area by just going up. I haven't seen alpental do anything with their closures. (which wasn't in the ski area)

 

civil disobediance!

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Funny part is we had some folks call the local Sheriff and he just laughed. Stated point blank that he is not coming up to the mountain to arrest a skinner for breaking some policy that Mt.Bachy made up.

 

All public input should be heard on this topic. Mt Bachy is trying to do things behind closed doors, and then crying "safety". Winch cable grooming is one the concerns for uphill traffic.

 

They don't have anyone certified to run the "Avalauncher" yet. And they don't plan on shooting it any higher than the moraine, not in the bowl. At least that is what i have heard from Patrol.

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Funny part is we had some folks call the local Sheriff and he just laughed. Stated point blank that he is not coming up to the mountain to arrest a skinner for breaking some policy that Mt.Bachy made up.

 

All public input should be heard on this topic. Mt Bachy is trying to do things behind closed doors, and then crying "safety". Winch cable grooming is one the concerns for uphill traffic.

 

 

This is terrible news!!! now all the snooty bachelorites are going to bring their stench to Hood - stay away you upity, tahoe-driving, latte-drinking snobs....!

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not likely. Most of those people who want to skin Bachie are just getting in a lap prior to work or just have a few hours free. Besides they have other terrain to hit before they reach hood.

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not likely. Most of those people who want to skin Bachie are just getting in a lap prior to work or just have a few hours free. Besides they have other terrain to hit before they reach hood.

yes, perhaps you are right will...

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Right, cuz i drive a Tahoe, and i'm snooty.

 

Seems to be just as many Latte drinkers in PDX as anywhere else. Why i would come to Hood to b/c ski? They'll wrestle you down at Meadows and half the time anything above T-Line is ice and rime.

 

Anybody wanna guinea-pig this policy w/me at Bachelor? I imagine they'll send F.S. up to bring me down, but it would be nice to just see what happens. I want to get in on this meeting(as well as lots of others) but it doesn't sound public? What's the deal?

 

JL

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Bachelor is nestled nicely inside a National Forest boundary far from the ambivalent line of sight of PDX hipsters. Why would I drive 2.5 hours up to Hood to run slalom around moving pylons?

 

Keep Hood...fucker reeks of eggs anyway.

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Sound like fun. I'm sure my boss will appreciate me causing friction. I hope Rathbun is waiting in the parking lot. Maybe I can smack him in his face with my powder covered thingy.

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Bachelor is nestled nicely inside a National Forest boundary far from the ambivalent line of sight of PDX hipsters. Why would I drive 2.5 hours up to Hood to run slalom around moving pylons?

 

Keep Hood...fucker reeks of eggs anyway.

 

now now no need to diss da hood. It does its job well and there a plenty of places to ski of you know where to look :fahq:

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FYI.

The uphill ban is not limited to Bachy. Just seems they are the only ones making it public.

I have no clue about Oregon, but at least one area in WA (on Hwy 2) has already instituted this ban, and more are to follow.

Seems like not much impact up north here, but sucks at Bachelor.

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My buddies were litterally threatened with arrest for riding up the chair at Meadows last season (both had season passes) and then skinning up to hit the WyEast route on Hood. The ski patroller said it was illegal to leave the ski boundary at any point even if you were not returning to the resort. They decided to bail and the patroller followed them all the way down to the parking lot and stated that he called the Sherriff on them if they did not leave the resort immediately.

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My buddies were litterally threatened with arrest for riding up the chair at Meadows last season (both had season passes) and then skinning up to hit the WyEast route on Hood. The ski patroller said it was illegal to leave the ski boundary at any point even if you were not returning to the resort. They decided to bail and the patroller followed them all the way down to the parking lot and stated that he called the Sherriff on them if they did not leave the resort immediately.

 

I have had them pull this shit with me at meadows in that past as well. I like to tell them that they do not own the land their resort is on. I also told one patroller to STFU and go ahead an call the sheriff. He relented, said he would look the other way if we changed our course into the trees so his boss could not see us.

 

BTW, you cannot be arrested for skinning up at meadows. The crime is an infraction, which means that you would only have to pay a fine. If they are threatining you with arrest, you should tell them to STFU because you cannot be arrested for an infraction. Those fucking ski patrollers there think they are cops or something, and as usual they are very wrong.

 

But on the other hand, at Timberline, I have never been given shit for skinning up. Shit from Snowcat drivers, well, that's a different story.

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Hoodoo is even worse.

 

first off they dont allow uphill traffic at all...even try to keep you off when they are closed before and after the season.

 

they also try to charge you with a $50 ticket if you park in their lot (former sno-park) overnight and if your not around they will tie a chain to your car and move it with a snow cat....with no tow signs around. -->my lawyer friend told me this is basically auto-theft...and if they towed my audi like that it would totally fuck up the awd.

 

id love to test Hoodoo, but i dont want to shit where i sleep.

 

any takers? id love to video tape it.

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I'd prefer to go right for the big boy Bachy. Get a group of 10+ folks and just park at the snow park across the street. Head up uber early and just go up Rainbow and on to summit. Bring video camera as well.

 

should be interesting. Maybe a good idea to wait a bit as all the folks are meeting this Tuesday.

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The problem of closure of public land under lease to operate a ski area is not limited to Bachelor. Last year I had email and voice discussions with parties on both sides of the fence regarding Mt Hood Meadows declaration of no uphill travel. I even "tested" the enforcement system there.

 

The Ski Area Permit is issued by the US gov. It will always state that "the lands and waters covered by this permit shall remain open to the public for all lawful purposes". It's called the Area Access condition. We all know climbing and hiking is lawful so it would seem the ski area has no standing to legally declare no uphill traffic.

 

The problem comes when one reads and tries to interpret language elsewhere in the Ski Area Permit and in the Ski Area Operating Plan, which is created by the ski area and approved by the US gov (the Forest Service). This language suggests that considerations for safety will override other aspects of the agreement. A ski area lawyer would argue that public land (the ski area) is covered as legally closeable under that language. I would argue that public closure should be excluded under that language (IOW, if they can't assure safety for uphill travel folks, they can't operate legally because it violates the Area Access condition). We outdoor snow country non-motorized recreationist were left out of the secret horse trading between the US gov and the ski area that gave them the green light for no uphill travel so the US gov naturally sided with the ski area.

 

I believe that this backwards no uphill declaration needs to be confronted with a violator arrest followed by a challenge in court to get charges dropped due to breaking the Area Access condition. Hood River county cops (covering Meadows) are supposedly willing to arrest or issue citations. It sounds like the cops who cover Bachelor are not. I'm NOT a lawyer but I recommend the arrest and court challenge be coordinated with a passionate lawyer (like someone from the CRAG Law Center, an org that advocates for outdoor public land access).

 

That's my history with this troubling situation. I think if we just hike somewhere else, they'll continue to roll over us in other ways. Informal (like STFU) and legal (like court) push back is the way we'll stand our ground. You can contact me at johnspeth@yahoo.com if you'd like to discuss it privately.

 

John Speth

 

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