January 22 – January 25, 2015
A trip with 11 fellow peakers into the Wallowa Moutains of Northeast Oregon through Wing Ridge Ski Tours.
Pre Day 1 – January 21st
We took off after work and headed to Eastern Oregon. On the way we saw a bad ass wolf (maybe a coyote… not as cool) feasting on some kill (maybe scavenging) in the road. Spirit animal or #wolfselfie? We got into our hotel accommodations after midnight and headed to bed for the short amount of rest we could get ourselves.
Day 1 – January 22nd
After signing our waivers in Joseph, OR with a pleasant man working at Wallowa Alpine Huts, we drove into the Salt Creek Snow park, arriving around 11am. We packed up our gear, cracked some champagne and headed out on the skin track.
Conditions were easy on the way up. There was a mellow skin track which must have been set by a guide previously. The track led right to our hut. At the time, only one other had traveled the same track, a good sign in hopes we’d be one group of few on the ridge. We arrived at the Wing Ridge Huts around 12:30pm.
The accommodations were as expected. We had a cooking hut, 2 bunk huts, a toilet area, a wood splitting area and a sauna hut. Each bunk had room for 6. We were stocked with a healthy supply of fire and cooking provisions.
After settling in, the first group of peakers headed up the ridge around 1/1:30pm. We didn’t take the most direct route up, but it was pleasant being in trees without having to bushwhack like we often do in the Cascades.
Shawn pushed the ridge almost to the peak between Salt Creek Bowl and 1st Bowl. David forgot his GPS at the hut, so we didn’t track this mission. We dropped into 1st Bowl on a northern aspect. I got first drop, almost getting taken down by some rocks just below the surface of snow, right near the entrance on the wind-blown ridge. Turns in the bowl were great. Not blower, but deep enough to make us all yell out with stoke. We took the north face of 1st Bowl into the tree line below, and headed back to the hut system. Despite a short day of turns, we were ready to eat.
Dinner followed. Our group had night one of cooking duties. We cooked chicken stir-fry. The crew was greatly satisfied with our meal. We cooked way too many noodles, but hey, we didn’t leave anyone hungry. Washing dishes without a proper wash basin proved to be interesting. The crew wrapped the night up with a game of Oh Hell. We all got a good nights rest in our toasty huts.