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ARob

Skiing Crater Lake?

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I am thinking about heading to Crater Lake for new years, digging a fatty snow cave (if there's enough snow) and finding some good slopes. Has anyone been to CLNP lately? The webcam showed a decent amount of snow. I actually have never been there, so any advice is welcomed.

 

Thanks

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I skied there last May. There is a good run next the the Visitor Center down to the lake. You can also tour around the rim and that is what I would do if I were to go this time of year. I have not been there in the winter and I know the visitor centers are closed. I would call the park and ask what road it plowed closest to the rim and go from there.

 

If you have not checked this link yet it might help

link

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They should plow right to the rim year round. I've been up that way a few times in winter and they tend to be a little slow at plowing it out, but it does get done. Mt. Scott has some good lines from what I've heard, and its best to get at Scott from the road not from the visitors center.

 

It looks like there are some sick lines lookers left of the visitor center down to the lake near Wizard island. Probably a bitch of a hike back, but for those turns i'd probably do it.

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Did the circumnavigation last April, TR here. Pretty rad trip.

 

So, the official word is that you're not allowed to ski into the caldera, though I agree there are several lines that look amazing.

 

The road accessing the park from the south is plowed year-round, not too sure about the road from the north. If you're looking to log real vertical then getting to Mt. Scott is probably your best bet, though there are plenty of fun smaller peaks within easy distance of the park entrance (from the southern entrance, heading clockwise).

 

The park rangers are super helpful, I'd suggest emailing them for exact conditions and trip planning. No matter what you end up doing in the park, you'll have a rad time, it's absolutely amazing and you likely won't run into too many folk this time of year.

 

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Thanks for all the feedback. I was thinking of the circumnav, but that may be better in the spring. There's a system moving that noaa says could drop eight inches tomorrow or wednesday and continue to snow through the week. I read about a couple of avy prone spots.

 

Are you passing through a lot of potential slide areas or can you stick to the crest generally and away from terrain traps?

 

I am also concerned that maybe it's just gonna be a lot of post-holing. Mt. Scott sounds like some fun. We might just dig a snow cave and stay warm with my buddies Jose, Jim, and Jack for the New Year.

 

Thanks again for the feedback and have a good new year.

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The rangers can give you good info on the avy-prone areas. They're quite small, and there are certainly ways to avoid them (bypass trails are marked on the park maps). Usually they're below cliffs that are prone to dumping snow/rock onto the rim road.

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I hiked the rim road Thanksgiving weekend 2008. The snow very spotty and didn't seem worth bring skis, and aside from a couple shady spots, I didn't regret that decision.

 

The circumnav is beautiful in winter, and definitely worth doing. There are only a few spots aside from Caldera rim down to the lake (which is indeed illegal) that would have much in the way of turns. In the spring, before the rim road opens, the better access to Mt Scott may be from the east, outside the park boundary. Amar Andalkar's website has good, detailed info about the areas of the park that have the most notable ski runs: http://skimountaineer.com/CascadeSki/CascadeSki.php?name=CraterLake

 

As for avy danger, there are really only two places and the recommended reroutes are published here. Of the two, the Dutton cliffs did indeed seem worthy of respect. Besides snow avalanches, there was rock and icefall on the road when we (quickly) hiked past.

 

I would love to go back in the spring right before the road is plowed and beast it out in a day on some nordic gear. Probably need to train a bit for that one, though...

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I skied the rim one December back in '86. We took two days. There are two avy spots but as I remember one is short and the other I can not remember at all. We stayed on the road the whole time. The one thing you really want is descent weather because of wind as there is no real protection.

 

One fun little tour I have also done is to ski out along the rim for maybe 5 miles??? to where the PCT comes in. Then drop down off the rim and follow the PCT which will then bring you back to the road. Or may be it is an access trail between the PCT and road. Hell it has been too long ago but anywho it makes for a nice little overnight tour that gives you a bit of the rim but then goes down off of it into more protected areas.

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The road to the rim from the south is plowed most of the time. They may get behind during big storms. The north entrance is closed and unplowed. I believe snowmobiles are allowed from the north entrance to the junction with the rim road.

 

I'm pretty sure the main visitor center is open all year, the one at the rim is not. The cafe/gift shop at the rim is supposed to be open.

 

The trip around the lake is fantastic. I took three days doing it in late winter a long time ago. The east side is pretty remote, getting out in any direction over there is a long ways. I only saw two other people who were finishing (in the other direction) shortly after I began. The area south of the lake is windblown and the route can sometimes be hard to follow so a map and compass are essential to have.

 

There are only a couple avalanche areas on the trip around the lake, and they are well known and avoidable. However, if you ski for turns in other places there is a lot more potential. Mt Scott is all steep open slopes, the slopes down Mt Garfield to the visitor center area are steep and open, and anything inside the rim is avalanche terrain (and also prohibited). A couple weeks ago a guy took a ride on the Mt Garfield slopes, got strained out by some trees, and spent some time in the hospital with a broken pelvis I believe.

 

Mt Scott is a long approach, and a long way from anything if you do have any problems. It has some large avalanche paths on it. In the later spring it can be approached from the east using some forest roads off of 97 that go up to the park boundary. It is an easy day trip, even with multiple ski runs, from this side. However, before the forest roads melt out this is also a very long approach. A snowmobile would be a great way to do this trip.

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