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July snowboarding on South Sister
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July snowboarding on South Sister

July snowboarding on South Sister

     Had the normal three days off this week, and decided to drive down to Bend to check it out. After everything I had heard about it, I was really excited to check out the area and surrounding mountains. Once again, no one could coordinate days off, and those who do have the days off scoff at the idea of going split boarding. It would have to be me and the dog, two nights camping and a few mellow snowboard runs.
south sister
     I drove into Bend late Tuesday night and found a nice car bivy on a dirt road on the Cascade Lakes Highway. The next morning I awoke early and checked out the view. I drove back into town and got some pancakes, Bo saw a deer and freaked out. 

     For the last few weeks I have been telling this joke, "How do you know if a river guide is around?" "oh, he'll tell you." When I walked into the original pancake house at 6 am, there was one other group, and a man stood up and said, "We're the river guides." Guess the joke is true.

    I ate a few pancakes and the client the guides were meeting arrived, I read the paper, drank some coffee, then headed to the mountains. It was a nice morning.

   I hiked a dry mile or so in my boots through millions off annoying little mosquitos  before putting on the split skis. Once the skins came on progress doubled and I was on the moraine in no time.

moraine lake
    This is where the sun cups got plain ol' nasty. They varied in depth from six inches to two feet and made for some slow moving. The higher I climbed the sun cups and runnels mellowed out a bit, and I headed for a high saddle between Moraine Lake and Green Lakes basin. I hung out there for a couple of hours, took a nap and drank from a waterfall created by snowmelt. I stashed my overnight gear here and headed up for a run. 

    I topped out just below the cirque in South Sister's crater, and started the ride down. It was mostly low angle terrain, with a few spots of old cornices and windlips that made some fun jibbins. Bo jammed down at full speed behind me and caught some air on one particular drop that also had a five foot moat gap to clear.

   That night the sun set over Mt. Bachelor, and I enjoyed some well deserved Backpackers Pantry Sweet and Sour Chicken. Only $8.89 in upstairs camping (mandatory shameless plug).

Mt. Bachelor
 
   The original plan was to wake up early and summit the following day, but Bo was incredibly tired. I was a little over it too. I packed up and snowboarded down from around the 9500 ft. level. It was a good run over mildly deep suncups, and fast corn snow. On the final face above Moraine Lake I had to do a 30 foot dirt jib, I just leaned back and let it rip. You know something is funny when it makes you laugh out loud and your all by yourself. After a short climb back up and over the moraine of which the lake gets it's name, I got an extra bonus ride through the forest and down a backcountry-boardercross course to the snow line. Once again mosquitos were out in full force. I lost the trail a bit and fell in a frozen pond to about thigh deep 50 feet from the highway. Another had to be there kinda funny thing.

    Made it to the car safe but wet, although quite refreshed. Took off the boots, drove around Bend in circles looking for a gas station, and got some awesome bar-b-que from a very pretty girl and then headed back to Portland.

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