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Yin and Yang: Explore the Backcountry or Curl Up with a Good Book 

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Some days you're just raring to go grab adventure. And sometimes a crackling fire, a slumbering dog and a good book call your name. That's the Yin and Yang of life.

If you're jonesing for the backcountry, check out some great local resources, and if you just want to read about adventure, we've got a couple of truly inspirational authors coming our way.


"We believe that there is a significant safety issue not being addressed here in Central Oregon: avalanche danger in the backcountry," said Lauren Miller, fundraising and events coordinator for the newly formed non-profit group, Central Oregon Avalanche Association (COAA).

"From being out in the backcountry through this last storm cycle, I know first hand that the snow around here, although more 'maritime' than that in Utah and Colorado, can move. We also believe that every year, more and more people are pursuing winter back country adventures in Central Oregon."

The Northwest Avalanche Center ( provides forecasts that extend south to Mt. Hood while the Mt, Shasta Forecast Center ( focuses on areas immediate to Mt. Shasta and extends very little to the north.

"There is currently a significant spatial gap between two nationally funded avalanche forecast centers, a gap that incorporates the bulk of Central Oregon riding terrain," said Miller, "We aim to bridge this current gap by coordinating local efforts and information exchange to provide condition reports and baseline data to Central Oregon user groups. We also aim to coordinate with the aforementioned forecast centers to bolster forecasting abilities in the Central Oregon Area."

COAA has launched a new website ( users are currently posting informal snow pack information on a bulletin board.

COAA is also kicking off a fundraising campaign for:

- Increased snow pack data and weather forecasting accuracy in Central Oregon through the purchase and installation of weather stations and needed equipment at sites frequented by winter recreationalists.

- Avalanche transceiver clinics and backcountry safety presentations.

- A permanent "Easy Searcher Beacon Park" near Mt. Bachelor. By the way, there is a Beacon Training Park in operation now at the base of Mt. Bachelor next to the Red Chair. Four beacons are buried there for your practice, provided free by Pro Patrol and Back Country Access.


Three Sisters Backcountry operates the facilities for the Oregon Avalanche Institute ( OAI is Oregon's original American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) course provider. They offer Level I ($290), II and III courses following theAmerican Avalanche Association (AAA) guidelines. Their regularly scheduled courses are based at their Field Office at Upper Three Creeks Sno-Park.

COCC also is offering a Level I Avalanche course January 28-31 for $175 (


If you haven't read Three Cups of Tea yet, of course you must. Since an aborted climb on Pakistan's K2 in 1993, Greg has dedicated his life to promoting community-based education and literacy programs, especially for girls, in remote mountain regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan. He is the co-founder and Executive Director of the nonprofit Central Asia Institute.

Greg has a new bestseller out, Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan (

Greg will be speaking in Bend on February 11th at 7pm at Bend Senior High School. Tickets ($20 general admission) will be on sale at the COCC Box Office, Camalli Book Company and Paulina Springs Books.


Arlene Blum is a trailblazer in so many ways. I met Arlene and heard her share her story a couple of years ago in Salt Lake City. "Wow," is all I can say.

Best known for leading the first American - and all-women's - ascent of Annapurna I, considered one of the world's most dangerous and difficult mountains, Arlene also led the first women's team up Mt. McKinley (Denali) and was the first American woman to attempt Mt. Everest. She made the first traverse of the Great Himalaya Range of Bhutan, Nepal and India and hiked the length of the European Alps with her baby daughter on her back.

National Geographic Adventure magazine included her first book, Annapurna: A Woman's Place, in its list of the "100 Best Adventure Books of All Time." It's her 1978 story about fund-raising (with t-shirts that said "A Woman's Place is on Top"), organizing thirteen women, more than 150 boxes of gear, numerous Nepalese guides and porters, and achieving the summit itself.

Her new book, Breaking Trail: A Climbing Life, ( is an unforgettable account of the trails Arlene has pioneered, not only in mountaineering, but in science.

Arlene will be presenting a free slide show and book signing in Bend on February 20th at 6:30pm in Pinckney Auditorium on the COCC campus.

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