By: Chris Davenport
Written on May 8, 2012
I wish my words could clearly convey just how much fun we are having on this road trip. From the amazing Spyder Land Yacht and all of its comforts, to the amazing people and their positive energy we have met along the way, to the truly fantastic skiing on our first four volcanoes, it’s been an epic trip by any measure.
Jess, Daron and I continued to ramp up the fun factor today on Mt. Thielson, a dissected shield volcano that lies just north of Crater Lake National Park.
Thielson has many things going for it, but the easy approach, steep upper face, and fun summit rock climb make it a standout. Every peak we have skied on this journey has been special in its own way, but on Thielson it was all about the perfect velvet corn snow. I mean truly perfect! As we skinned the steep upper Southwest Face in the cool morning shade, our thoughts were all about timing, as they tend to be during the spring ski-mountaineering season.
The face was frozen hard, making for some sporty skinning, and the shadow crept up behind us as we ascended. We hoped and prayed that after some time on top Mother Nature would work her magic and the corn would be ripe!
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We hit the summit ridge after almost three hours and took a break to eat, take photos, and attempt some Instagram action (which failed ;-)).
Thielson is one of the few if not the only volcano on our list that isn’t skiable from the summit. The ancient volcanic plug that caps the peak makes for some great rock climbing, however. The grade is moderate, so we climbed ropeless, but there is a great sense of exposure on this arete nonetheless.
On the summit we enjoyed mild temps, no wind, and stunning views. As Jess said in her post yesterday about Mt. McLoughlin, its so cool that we can look south and see the peak we skied the day before, and turn north to see the peak we will ski tomorrow (Mt. Bachelor). We also got our only look at America’s deepest lake, Crater Lake.
Because we were praying our timing was perfect for ideal corn snow conditions, we decided to break out some fresh corn Daron had grilled up the night before and have a pre-ski snack!
I am a bit of an exposure junky so I took some time to dangle my feet of the vertical wall of the North East Face.
We rapped back down the summit spire, right to the snowy ridge where we had left our skis. Although the top several hundred feet of the face were still warming up, as we got lower our smiles widened as our skis carved into the dreamy spring snow. The corn trick had worked! Our timing was ideal and the snow was about as good as corn snow gets.
We were back at the Land Yacht in 45 minutes, delighted to find that Captain Grant had the green grass (fake) rolled out, the lawn chairs setup, and the Whole Foods Market waffle recipe ready to go with Vermont maple syrup.
We are on our way to Bend, one of my favorite towns in the PNW. Tomorrow is a rest day - meaning we will just skin up Mt. Bachelor! :-)
Stay tuned and thanks for reading.