Aerial photo of Mt. Jefferson showing our ski line, the beautiful Southwest Face. Photo by Jim Morrison
By: Chris Davenport
Written on May 12, 2012
As I sit here in the Spyder Land Yacht driving north towards tomorrow’s objective, Mt. Hood, I can’t help but reflect on the last eight days and the ten peaks we’ve skied. Both Jess and I have mentioned in our blog posts how cool it is each day to look south and see the mountains we have skied, and then to turn north and see our future. We’re tired – really tired – with tens of thousands of vertical feet in our legs and only one rest day … yet somehow the stoke meter stays pinned.
This trip has been a dream on many levels, but perhaps the greatest gifts have been from Mother Nature herself. The weather has been perfect the entire time, and the corn-snow cycle as good as it gets on these big Cascade volcanoes. What we did in our lives to arrive at this place and be blessed with such gifts is beyond me. I’m just grateful to share these experiences with such amazing people.
I think I have heard Jess say “today was my favorite volcano” at least five or six times so far, and it was loud and clear today on Mt. Jefferson. This massive mountain has no easy access this time of year and was the lowest starting point we have had so far (around 3,100’) so we were looking at a huge day.
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We have been loving all the recipes the Whole Foods Market healthy eating specialist Sarah has put together for us, but we decided to create our own delicacy today, (or maybe we should call it a culinary experiment). Jess cut a ton of veggies and dropped a dozen eggs and some cheese and cream into the crock pot last night, and we turned it on at 1:30am.
When we woke up at 4:20am the aroma in the Land Yacht was heavenly. She had created the world first Volcano Frittata. We welcomed newly arrived friends Jim (who skied Shasta with us) Glen, and Sarah into the RV for a hearty breakfast.
The team hit the trail at 5:20am and made quick work up through the massive timbers of the forest to the snowline. We had a hard freeze last night and were able to crampon all the way from around 5,000’ to the summit at 10,300’
Jefferson’s steep summit was guarded on all sides by cliffs covered with rime ice, but we found a way through and stepped on top at 11am after climbing over 7,000’ vertical on great snow. Now it was time to wait for the snow on the south-west face to soften up.
By the time we made two raps back down the steep rime we knew it was going to be good. I’ve skied some perfect corn in my time but today was as good as I’ve ever had it. Over 4,000’ of the perfect velvet-soft corn snow we all dream about. You could ski fast, I mean really fast, and with total control, as gravity swept your body down the fall line.
The amount of G-force you can generate going fast in perfect corn is insane, and it can push your skis and boots to the limit. Luckily I’ve got the finest setup from Kästle (the TX97) and Garmont (The new Cosmos) so I can let these products do the work for me. :-)
The vert blew past us and the smiles were huge by the time we reached the dirt and our running shoes. The descent back through the forest elicited feelings of psychedelia – the trees are so huge and green and the smell of the forest is palpable. We were all waiting for an Ewok or a Sasquatch to pop out!
What can I say… the Volcano Tour rolls on in fine form. We are psyched to welcome close friends Ted and Christy Mahon from Aspen to the team for the next week and to meet our friends Mike Arzt and Ian Fohrman who drove all night from Colorado tonight at Timberline. Tomorrow is Mt. Hood, a volcano I first skied on in 1986 as a scrawny teen.