Chris, Kara, Brent, Rachel, Drew and Dan near Ball Butte Summit

Pine Mountain Sports Presents:

Snow Camping and Backcountry Skiing Fun

Friends having fun on the PMS Todd Lake Snow Camp #1
Dan & Chris warm in their tent near Ball Butte

Snow Camp Outing #1

On February 12 eight outdoor enthusiasts including three Cascades Mountaineers, Julie Ziedman,  Brent McGregor and Kara Mickaelson joined outing leaders Dan McGarigle and Drew Holmes (co-founder of Cascades Mountaineers) for a Pine Mountain Sports sponsored outing to Todd Lake. With snow falling we set out to find a place near the lake to spend the night. After tents were set up and gear was organized, all hands joined in to dig a snow cave and adjoining kitchen where we visited and shared stories out of the wind and snow.

After a comfortable night, we all arose to good weather and great coffee. Soon we were all up on the hill having an avalanche transceiver lesson with the instruction from Drew and Dick Rice, using the donated transceivers brought in by the Ortovox rep, Lisa. About this time, several Cascades Mountaineers members joined us for the fun. John Krog, Josh Gobershock and Cate Hass skied in with Judi Rice. After the "serious" work, Drew spent some time with us and gave pointers on how to make those beautiful "Tele" turns. While the beginners stayed on the lower slopes to practice, the experienced guys headed up the hill to enjoy some great snow and beautiful weather. We all had a great weekend. Thank you Pine Mountain Sports for making it all possible.

Rachel and Jennifer on Ball Butte with Broken Top in the background Ball Butte in all of it's winter glory Brent & Kara's camp near Ball Butte

Drew Holmes skiing the steeps

The following weekend, (the one when we got tons of new snow) Brent and Kara skied back to the cave to make a few improvements. After cutting blocks and narrowing the entrance it was set for Brent to spend the night. The next day, in a howling storm, Cascades Mountaineers member Spurge Cochran and Kara skied back in to help bring out the sled and provide Brent company on his way out. We battled strong winds and thigh deep snow but it was a great adventure and learning experience.

Rachel O'Dell happy in her snow camp tent. Ben, Julie and Brent having way too much fun with those big winter packs on.
The crew skiing into Todd Lake for a weekend of snow camping and skiing fun.

Snow Camp Outing #2:

Ball Butte snow cave filled with friends

On February 23rd Pine Mountain Sports sponsored yet another winter outing again led by Drew Holmes and Dan McGarigle. This time it was Brent McGregor, Kara Mickaelson, Jennifer Macaulay, Rachel O'Dell and Chris Cardis who met Drew and Dan at Dutchman Sno-Park for a weekend of winter fun into into the Three Sisters Wilderness near Broken Top and Ball Butte. We had the good fortune of having our gear hauled by snow machines. In addition, we had ropes tied to the machines to tow us in on skis. We were pulled four miles to the wilderness boundary. We then skied up the Crater Lake Ditch Trail a ways and set up a tent camp on the south side of Broken Top. Once the tents were up we dug a snow cave for the evening meal and social time. The winter weather prevented much of a view, but we went on the slopes above camp to get in some turns on our backcountry and telemark skis. Kara and I choose a gentler slope than the rest.

Kara having fun in full-on winter conditions near Todd Lake Rob and Ben working on the Todd Lake snow shelter Brent skiing out from Todd Lake snow camp

With morning came blue skies and a great day. The group climbed Ball Butte. All but Kara and I skied the bowl facing Moon Mountain. Kara and I recently purchased backcountry skis and are enduring the "fall-a-lot" stage. The snowmobiles met us to haul gear and some of the party out, while the rest of us skied back to Dutchman. We had a great time.