Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Volcano Extravaganza: Diamond Peak

Oregon may not have the mountains of Washington (or Montana, or Colorado, or Wyoming, or California . . .) but it has the most spectacular volcanoes.  Peter and I have a goal for this spring: to summit as many Cascade volcanoes as we can before I leave for field work.  In early May the weather was warm and amazing, but thanks to the heavy snow year there is still great coverage on the mountains.  We decided to summit and ski Diamond Peak as our first objective.  For only being 8,744 feet tall, its a large mountain volumetrically.  It's a peak who's looming presence just draws you in.

We drove to the trailhead on Saturday night and slept in the car on the cold gravel road.

Testing out the travel pillow case I made for Peter for his birthday.

We awoke to a cold, clear morning.  After breakfast and quickly packing up, we were skinning the last half mile up the road to the trailhead.  In the trees the coverage was a bit patchy.  It may have warranted booting, but we did this instead:

Before long we were gaining a long ridge leading up to the west shoulder of Diamond.  The snow was nice, just soft enough for good skinning; and the weather was warm and sunny.  We stopped for lunch just below the tree line where the winds picked up.

I think he was mid bagel when I made him take this.

We traversed below a crumbly rock band on the south side of the west shoulder where the snow was quickly softening and sluffing under our skis.  With only a few hundred feet to the summit, we packed our skis and began booting along the summit ridge.

 Peter below the false summit

We reached the summit around 12:30 and snapped the obligatory summit photos.  The snow was looking to be perfect for the decent and it was definitely over sixty degrees on the snow.  Realizing that the conditions were perfect we couldn't pass up an opportunity for the spring skiing tradition of a BN (bare naked) descent.  
Mt. Bailey, Mt. Thielsen and the Crater Lake Rim

 The summit!

We skied to just below the ridge to get out of the wind and stripped down.  I chose to stay in my skivvies as I am more prone to the sit-down fall.  We skied amazing spring corn down to the denser trees and reclothed for the rest of the decent.

We worked our way through the trees back down to the road.  In a slightly different place from the way we went up, there was much less snow and a lot more of this:

Now that we have one peak ticked off our list, we are headed for the sisters this Memorial Day Weekend!  Stay tuned for the report!

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