I made it to the Tumalo Mountain Trailhead just in time for three and a half hours of sleep before a day in the backcountry with some friends from G5. It snowed over a foot last night so it was not that hard to get energized and stoked for the day ahead.
We spent the day shredding bottomless pow, laughing and got to catch up with each other. What a perfect day. Amazing how less than 24 hours earlier I was headed to Squaw Valley feeling sick to my stomach. The tides had turned.
The very next day I returned to the same zone on snowmobile with my friend Rex. We were welcomed with radically different snow conditions and higher avy dangers as a result of the rising temperatures. Conditions change fast in the mountains.
My post from today’s adventure:
Skiing this zone yesterday was a humbling experience. We received a small reminder of the power of nature and how conditions can change in seconds out here. Grateful my buddy and I skied away to shred another day. Be safe out there friends.
Rex’s post from today’s adventure:
Really fun day in the backcountry with @skiclimb! We were on the same wavelength. Scott and I both stayed up late the night before, hanging with friends and needed to sleep in. So, naturally a noon start felt organic.
However, we encountered a rapid rise in temperature that affected the snow conditions adversely as the day progressed. We dug a snow pit at the top of the zone and the stability appeared to be good. There was no propagation or explosive energy in the snowpack. But halfway down our line we realized it wasn't so stable.
Luckily, we skied only 100ft at a time, kept each other in sight and managed our risks effectively. One of the ski cuts we performed consequently set off a significant slide on the top 6 inches of snow. Had we not picked our way down this steep terrain we may have potentially gone for a hazardous ride.
This experience reminded me of an avalanche I was partially buried up to my nipples in 2014 and gave me a returned feeling of post traumatic stress.
Even if you do everything right in terms of analyzing the snow pack, that analyzation is only valid in that specific time, location, elevation and aspect. One can ski 300 feet down the snow covered slope and encounter completely different snow conditions!
Nature never ceases to blow my mind and expand my perspective in this mountainous environment. Be careful out there everyone! ❄️🗻⛷🚀😎
Rex and I returned home safe this day. Neither of us got even partially buried, but we did kick off three noticeable slides while navigating down some expert ski terrain in the Three Sisters Wilderness.
The next day I connected with my buddy Blair. We were going to ski Tumalo Mountain and the back bowl if avy conditions permitted. En-route to the top we crossed paths with Mike for Central Oregon Avy. He gave us a professional run down to the snow conditions. After our conversation and analysis we were convinced skiing anything beyond low angle tree runs was suicide.
Blair and I did summit Tumalo, we dug a pit in a slightly dangerous area and the results were pretty mind opening. Our snow pit column test resulted in a fracture at 30cm, 60cm and 120cm. Basically, if we were to ski the bowl and trigger a slide then burial was a probable outcome.
As the conditions in the mountains worsened my mind shifted from pow skiing to work mode. Yes, I still work, however my relationship to work has changed radically. It is no longer my life, rather a means to live the life I want to live. The rest of my week in Bend was spent meeting with some of my amazing customers that I am truly honored to serve, spending time with my best friend and preparing for my return home.
Continue Reading - It’s Still All Hood - Welcome Back to Mt. Hood, Oregon --->
Epic adventure to the summit of Broken Top today. Fun ski off the top.
I had an amazing solo adventure up Tumalo Mountain last night. The sunrise and first track pow turns this morning were unreal. Full of happiness and gratitude.
The mountains have a unique power to enlighten a man. They can make a sad man happy, angry one kind and teach the simple concept of gratitude.
I am so grateful for the storm that rolled through our suffering mountains this past weekend. Pray for snow!
All photos were taken in the Three Sisters Wilderness near Moraine Lake at South Sister. The backcountry skiing opportunities there are endless. It is humbling to finally ski a zone I have been eyeing since the age of 12 when my father and I first summit this Central Oregon volcano.
We awoke at four am to get a beautiful sunrise on Tumalo mountain. What we got was more than that. The mountains blessed us with fresh powder, spiritual awakenings and one of the most beautiful backdrops one could ask for.
For these reasons; Tumalo Mountain in Central Oregon has quickly become one of my go to spots for backcountry skiing. I can be on the summit within an hour and a half of leaving my front door and like today have an entire back bowl of fresh powder to enjoy with good friends.
If you have never experienced a sunrise in the mountains then I suggest you add it to your bucket list. Better yet get your butt out of bed this weekend and just do it.
"Sunrise is one of those magical times of day. To spend it in the mountains with your friends is priceless."
Summit as friends!
When most people were driving down the mountain I was headed up. Maybe this story will explain why my crowd of friends have always been a little bit crazy, rebellious, trouble making, rule breaking bad asses.
At 4 o'clock PM I headed toward the Tumalo Mountain Trailhead. My gear was packed and mind was ready for a new adventure. I would be sleeping on top of Tumalo Mountain in Central Oregon, at 8000 feet with no shelter. I camped in the back bowl last year while filming a backcountry ski video with REI, but never on the summit during early spring.
I started skinning up Tumalo around 5 o’clock at which time the trail was still slushy from a warm afternoon. I took the hike one slow step at time. My body was still a bit fatigued from a ten mile trail run only hours prior. Over the course of the last 500 feet the wind started to really pick up. On the summit I would meet a consistent breeze of 20 MPH. This was enough for me to know that without a wind block I would have a miserable night. I got to work!
On the summit I found a place to build my shelter that would provide me with a view of the mountains and sunset from my sleeping bag. (see photos below) I built a wall that would protect my body from the wind, which was becoming more fierce. After the wall was complete I crawled into the protection of my sleeping bag. Aww! What a beautiful view and amazing place to relax. I thought!
I enjoyed a pre-made dinner, read some pages from my book “The Passion Test” and the sun began to set.
As the sun set on the snow capped mountain tops my mind drifted into a meditative state. I was reflecting on life in general. It is really incredible to see how much my relationships, happiness health, physical fitness and passion has changed over the last year. I asked myself some deep and rather personal questions on the mountain top that evening.
And, today I think I found the answers. It is amazing what you can find if you just look inside yourself. Calm your mind, listen and stop looking around. The answers will come.
I spent the night sleeping under a star filled sky with moon lit mountains in the back drop. Each time I awoke the mountains were there. Peacefully sitting still in the vast wilderness. The wind never died down during the night and I wrestled with getting good sleep, but one poor night of sleep was worth the experience.
It is amazing where our feet can take us with a little willingness to do things outside of what others would perceive as a normal adventure. My friends and I have always been those swho seek an extraordinary adventure that creates stories of amazement. That will never change!
Now, I am off for another ten mile trail run in Shevlin Park. Let this wonderful adventure of life continue..........
Summit as friends!
Scott Rowley South Sister Summit
On 5/11/13 I set out to ski climb South Sister. My adventure quickly went off course. I ended up on top of Devils Hill, where an epiphany smacked me square in the face.
Sitting on top of the hill something in my head told me that if I am to continue living a life that is largely absorbed by alcohol and pot then I will quickly end up in a very dark place. To put things simply..... I am not a person whom can handle these kinds of habits. That morning I packed up, went back to town and entered myself into AA and NA. Not by another persons will or demand, but rather my own.
This journey has just begun. I will continue to travel peaks and valleys. Some days will be harder than others, but with hope, faith, love and the right tools I will conquer this inner demon.
Today, I went back back to South Sister. This time with a clearer head and different mindset. I no longer felt alone.
My friend Rex and I left the trail head at 2:15 am and we were quickly thrown off route. It was as if my demon wanted us to go back to Devils Hill. This side track resulted in an additional 700 feet vertical of climbing, wasted energy and a doubt that we were going to make the summit.
Voices in my head persisted to tell me that I was not alone and we were going to conquer the mountain. I was not going back to the same dark place I was three days prior.
The sun began to rise as we scaled the ridge that drops into Moraine Lake. We were back on track and the summit was in sight. Thousands of feet above us sat a peak that would be our destiny for this day.
En route to the top I kept hearing people telling me things about myself that i'd never thought before. I kept thinking about all the moments that i'd messed up and people i'd hurt along the way.
We reached the summit, skis and all at roughly 10 am. We were climbing for 8 hours. Exhaustion felt like an understatement, but for the first time in a long time I was at peace. I had absorbed myself into something far greater than myself and started to regain hope in a life that is truly amazing. It was reaffirming to sit on the summit and reflect on my decision to get sober and stay sober for the rest of my life.
"A powerful, positive day awaits! Rise up!"
Today, I began seeking balance in my life. I will seek out those whom have found balance in an effort to help. Funny that balance is a 7 letter word. Are we ever truly balanced?
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