Local People

Friday, May 1, 2015

Volcano Tour Part 2: Mt. Bailey and Mt. Thielsen

Posted By on Fri, May 1, 2015 at 2:12 PM

On Tuesday morning, the fourth full day of our trip, we headed up Crater Lake Highway, through a tunnel of trees glistening with fresh snow melting in the morning sun. It was a crisp, cold day and the snow was refreshing. We parked on the side of the road between Diamond Lake and the east ridge of Mount Bailey. Without a direct trail to the summit, we decided to bushwhack to the ridge and head straight up 3,000’ to the summit, carrying our skis on our backs until the snow was deep enough to skin. The sun was shining, lighting up Mt. Thielsen to the west and the dark blue waters of Diamond Lake below. Yet the air remained cold enough to keep the fresh snow in its powder form. By the time we reached the top of treeline, I was sinking to my knees as I broke trail. It made for hard work getting up the ridge, but our excitement for Bailey’s east bowls grew with each fluffy step. Storm clouds threatened and at times, the summit became socked in and diminished visibility, but each time, it cleared up again a few minutes later.

We reached the summit, and to our amazement, it wasn’t scoured or wind loaded. There were some enormous cornices across the bowl, but just below us looked good. We did some small tests for stability and quickly realized that not only were we in foot-deep powder, but the snow was totally stable, so we dropped into the bowl and skied the best powder of the year. I know with the lack of snow this year, everyone has said that it was the best powder every time it snowed this year, but seriously. This was legit!

We paid for our powder turns with a long bushwhack back out to the road. The snow down low had melted, leaving partially hidden logs lurking below the snow and brush, waiting to take us down (and they did, more than once). We reached the road with a mix of exhaustion and relief, ready for a beer and a meal. The Pine Drops IPA I had stashed in the snow managed to stay cold even though most of the surrounding snow melted. Then snow flurries reappeared, so we packed up for a trip to Umpqua hot springs. We arrived late, after dark, and were shocked to find a total party scene and all of the springs occupied. We decided to come back at sunrise with our coffee instead. We crawled into our tent, set up next to the roaring Umpqua, which more than drowned out the noise of the partiers and made for an excellent night’s sleep. In the morning, we had the hot springs to ourselves and the hot water reinvigorated my tired muscles that had been cold for days on end. We hiked out and headed back up to Diamond Lake and the Mt. Thielsen trailhead, where we laid our gear in the sun to dry, made breakfast and got ready for our next volcano.

Mt. Thielsen is an easy hike (on a real trail!) that heads pretty much straight up its west ridge, where it intersects the PCT before emerging above the treeline. Its pointy, 9,183’ summit is an aesthetic icon visible from Crater Lake, Highway 97 and the mountains around Bend. We saw coyote tracks in the snow intersecting the trail and disappearing into the forest. We could also see our tracks in the Mt. Bailey bowl to the west. It was a sunny and warm day, the storms finally having seemed to move on. The snow was soft, but it became mushy as we ascended the slope above treeline, quickly lowering our expectations for the descent. But, it was a beautiful day and we had the mountain to ourselves, so we definitely were not complaining.

We reached the top of the ridge and looked over the steep drop off to the east. Crater Lake's glassy blue waters and Phantom Ship on its surface were just barely visible. From the ridge, the final climb to the base of Thielsen’s summit pinnacle looked really close and was tugging at me. We figured we had enough time to get up and down before dark if we didn’t hesitate too long. We couldn’t see the actual route up the summit pinnacle, so we couldn’t tell whether it was covered in ice or clear, but it couldn’t hurt to go up and check it out, so we dropped our skis and started booting up the slope.

It was harder going than expected – the snow was deep and really soft, sticking to our boots and causing us to slide backwards. But, we made it to the base of the summit pinnacle, which, it turned out, was partially covered in snow. We still couldn’t make up our minds on whether to try climbing it or head back down to our skis. We were so close. We had been on a roll, bagging the last two peaks, and it was so tempting. Aaron started up the first couple climbing moves to see how it was. I started to follow and lost my confidence after a few moves. I had never climbed rock in my crampons and I wasn’t fully trusting my footing. Plus, it’s not a place where you can take a fall and expect to be okay, and we didn’t have a rope with us. And, even if we made it up, the thought of down climbing was troublesome. We have both been on the summit in summer conditions and decided that it didn’t make sense to take the risk. The descent back down to our skis was still tough in the mushy, slippery snow, and I was scolding myself for pushing it over the top. In the end though, it worked out.

Back at our skis in fading sunlight, we noticed that the snow had firmed up during our little side adventure up to the summit pinnacle. Awesome! We skied down on almost-corn snow for about a thousand feet before it got soft again. Even still, we were able to ski quite a ways down the trail to where we had stashed our shoes for the final hike out on dirt. As we made our way back to the trailhead, we saw the sun light up Thielsen with evening alpenglow before it finally sank behind Mt. Bailey.

Booting up Mt. Thielsen in mushy snow.
  • Booting up Mt. Thielsen in mushy snow.
We cooked burritos and camped at the trailhead for the night. The next day, we would be taking a rest day as we drove north to Mount Adams and Mount St. Helens. We also decided that since we didn’t get to ski Lassen Peak at the beginning of the trip, we would tack a day tour of Mt. Rainier onto the final day of our trip. 
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Friday, April 24, 2015

California and Southern Oregon: Blasting Wind and a Surprise Storm

Posted By on Fri, Apr 24, 2015 at 10:55 AM

The Volcano Tour kicked off with a series of setbacks that altered our plans right off the bat. First, the California Cascades got up to two feet of snow several days before we left Bend, blocking access to the trailhead we needed for Lassen Peak. So, Mt. Shasta became our first objective. Our plan was to spend the first night camping at Helen Lake, at about 10,400’ and then head for the summit at 14,179’ the following morning. We arrived in Mt. Shasta City on Friday evening and stopped to pick up extra batteries and water. To our dismay, we discovered that The Goat Tavern, where we planned to enjoy a post-climb beer and burger, had gone out of business. We found a quirky pizza joint whose entertainment included ancient looking vending machines with temporary tattoos, questionably old gumballs and a “Love Meter” that we fed quarters to learn our sex appeal (my rating was sadly low). But the pizza was good and they had Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA on tap. With fully bellies, we headed up to the mountain and found a place to camp for the night.

On Saturday morning, we loaded up heavy packs and made our way up toward Helen Lake. It was slow going as we adjusted to the weight on our backs, but we got used to it and made good timing, reaching camp in just over three hours. The weather was sunny with storm clouds shifting through, dropping snow flurries, but it wasn’t too cold. The wind, however, was blustery and powerful gusts were increasing as we made camp and cooked soup, hot tea and hot cocoa. We watched snow getting launched over the ridge above us and occasionally making its way down to us. It felt like getting blasted in the face with sand, and with wind burned faces, we retreated into the tent and set an alarm for 3 am.

Those aren't clouds. That is snow getting blasted in every direction by the wind.
  • Those aren't clouds. That is snow getting blasted in every direction by the wind.
At 3 in the morning, the wind had not let up, and combined with the bitter cold, made for a restless night. Concerned about the risk of a wind slab avalanche on the exposed face we intended to climb, we decided not to attempt the summit on this trip. After 14 uncomfortable hours in the tent, we braved the wind, packed up and skied back down to milder conditions.

From there, we booked it back to Oregon and camped at the summit trailhead at Mt. McLoughlin. The weather was sunny and forecasted to continue improving through the week, so we were feeling optimistic and excited. On Sunday morning, we took our time drinking coffee before hitting the trail around 10:30 am. Compared to Mt. Shasta, we expected a mellow day, with about 4,000 feet of climbing to Mt. McLoughlin’s 9,495 foot summit. The hike was relatively mellow, although the wind reappeared during the final 1,000 feet to the summit, gusting strong enough at times to knock me sideways. The ascent was just steep and icy enough for the wind to stir up my fear, and as I kicked my crampons into the snow, I pleaded with the wind for a break. This time, it did give us a break and we successfully reached the summit, snapped some photos, and switched over to skis for a long ride down the northeast bowl and back to camp. The skiing was tough—a grabby, breakable crust—but the views were incredible. We could see the Crater Lake Rim, Mt. Bailey and Mt. Thielsen to the north, Mt. Shasta to the south, and Fourmile Lake and Klamath Lake down below.

Aaron skiing NE bowl of Mt. McLoughlin with Fourmile Lake below.
  • Aaron skiing NE bowl of Mt. McLoughlin with Fourmile Lake below.
Skiing the NE bowl of Mt. McLoughlin.
  • Skiing the NE bowl of Mt. McLoughlin.
Back at the trailhead, we opened celebratory beers (Deschutes Pine Drops IPA) and began cooking dinner. We noticed the temperature had dropped and clouds rolled in, but with the sun low in the sky and a sunny forecast for the week, we didn't think much of it. Then it began spitting rain and lightly hailing, but we laughed, thinking it was just a passing squall. By the time it was dumping snow, we were running back and forth from the picnic table to the car, throwing gear wherever it would fit. We devoured our dinner in the car and then headed out, intending to drive to Mt. Bailey via Medford and the Crater Lake Hwy. As we turned from the forest road to the highway, a full on white out had descended on us. Crawling through the snow at maximum speeds of 25 mph, I was still in denial, thinking that this storm would soon dissipate as quickly as it had appeared. But that didn’t happen. The snow stayed with us almost the entire way to Medford, and exhausted, we pulled onto the first quiet forest road we found and called it good for the night.

In the morning, we woke up to sunshine and blue skies, surrounded by forest of old growth blanketed in sparkly white snow. Feeling revived from the previous night’s ordeal, we made our way up Crater Lake Highway toward Diamond Lake, where  we would spend the next two days climbing and skiing Mt. Bailey and Mt. Thielsen. To be continued... 

Camp along Crater Lake Highway.
  • Camp along Crater Lake Highway.

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

In the Spirit of Giving

Posted By on Thu, Nov 21, 2013 at 10:05 AM

The Source's 2013 Give Guide is on stands now. Featuring nearly forty of Central Oregon's finest nonprofit organizations, what they do, and what your donation can do to help them help our community.

Like this!
  • Like this!

We've put together profiles of some local nonprofit all stars, read them here.

And give a little bit! Click here to see the full Give Guide.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

541 Threads Kickstarter Campaign Needs Your Help

Posted By on Wed, Dec 26, 2012 at 6:02 PM

As the generous and innovative minds at 541 Threads have been donating to local food banks throughout Central Oregon and the state for the past few years now, they need your help now with their Kickstarter campaign to film a documentary called "Making MAGIC".
It will showcase their journey to Las Vegas for the Magic fashion trade show.
They need your donations to make this documentary happen so please help support a local company who is trying to take their mission nationwide.
Be sure to also check out their new storefront on Minnesota St. and my local heroes article on them in next week's issue.
Here's the the video for their Kickstarter campaign:

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Bend's Eric Tollefson Lands Big Gig

Posted By on Thu, Dec 6, 2012 at 11:41 AM


One of Bend's favorite local acts, guitarist and songwriter Eric Tollefson just announced something big. He will be opening several Pacific Northwest dates for Donavon Frankenreiter this coming March. That's a pretty slick deal for Tollefson who has been touring in support of his latest album The Polar Ends. (admittedly, I was just singing Tollefson's "Sister Sarah" while getting ready for work the other day)

Check out the dates below and let any friends in those towns know about the show!

Continue reading »

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Friday, November 30, 2012

Local DJ and Radio Station Up for Awards

Posted By on Fri, Nov 30, 2012 at 6:51 PM

It was announced yesterday that local KPOV DJ Charley Engel has been nominated for DJ of the Year by the Academy of Western Artists.
KPOV, which is heard on the radio waves at 88.9, was also nominated for the station of the year. Better known as "Chuckaroo the Buckaroo," Engel has been on the non-profit radio station since its inception in 2005.
His show, "Calling All Cowboys" can be heard on wednesdays from 6-8 p.m., saturdays from 4-6 p.m. and also at
He said in an interview, “It’s nice to know that my peers in the world of western music and cowboy poetry appreciate the effort that goes into Calling All Cowboys each week.
This is one horse I’m proud to be saddled with!”
Well good luck Mr. Engel and KPOV at the Will Rogers Cowboy Awards banquet in February.
We hope you come home with some much-deserved hardware. In the meantime, keep lassoing those listeners with your western spark.


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Friday, March 30, 2012

Bend Singer Chris Beland Prepares Third Album

Bend singer/songwriter Chris Beland is recording his third album and using Kickstarter to make it happen.

Posted By on Fri, Mar 30, 2012 at 5:28 PM


It's been just under a year and a half since local singer songwriter Chris Beland made news when at age 31 he met his father (former Flying Burrito Brothers guitarist John Beland) for the first time. Just a couple of days later, the two of them took the stage together during Chris's sophomore record release party at The Kilns Bookstore in Bend.

Today, Chris is drawing from that experience and the months that followed by creating new songs for a third album, currently in the early stages of production. I sat down with him last week to chat about what we might expect, but even more importantly... the help he needs to make it happen at all.

Chris is using the popular site, Kickstarter to make his album a reality and currently has 38 days left to collect money from enough backers to continue moving forward. It's a unique way of getting everything from tech projects, to films, to records funded and typically, the people requesting the money don't get a dime unless they raise the total amount needed. Chris is hopeful that taking advantage of this new medium for raising money will help him finish making the album and if all goes well, it should be released early this Fall. But even if that doesn't happen... the recording will likely go on, just at a much slower pace.

During the week, you can catch Chris playing live shows around town at places like Jackson's Corner, Bend d'Vine, and Five Fusion & Sushi Bar.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Nature of Words Names New Executive Director

Robert McDowell is named as Ellie Waterson's successor.

Posted By on Wed, Mar 14, 2012 at 11:32 PM

The Nature of Words announced today that Robert McDowell will succeed NOW founder Ellen Waterson as Executive Director of the local literary non-profit. McDowell, co-founder and executive director of Story Line Press, has authored five books of poetry and has published the works of five Pulitzer Prize recipients, six U.S. Poet Laureates, and a Nobel laureate. McDowell is slated to take over NOW starting May 14 but Waterson will stay on until June to assist with the transition.

While we'll miss Ellie (she plans to remain involved, but is looking to support Oregon State University-Cascades Campus with their proposed Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing program, among other things) we look forward to a new chapter at NOW with Mr. McDowell.


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My Morning with Walt the Horseshoer

Walt the Horseshoer is our nomination for Man of the Year.

Posted By on Wed, Mar 14, 2012 at 10:33 PM


Basically, it was awesome. Screw journalism! I want to ride around with Walt and shoe horses, trim their hooves and bullshit with nice horse people.

...Maybe not. I got awful cold and I don't actually know much about horses. Walt knows a whole lot. He's like a horse podiatrist, manicurist and physical therapist are rolled into one jolly and knowledgeable package.

I do know that there are a lot of horses and horse owners in Central Oregon. I didn't know that in Bend, Sisters and Redmond there are enough horses to support more than three dozen mobile farriers (horseshoers) like Walt. 

Walt runs his own mobile horseshoeing service and spends his days visiting clients and taking care of their horses' hooves. Whether your horse needs new horseshoes or simply a hoof trim (clip, actually. See the videos below), Walt is your man.

We're profiling Walt the Horseshoer in next week's Culture section, check it out. In the mean time, watch the videos below to see in greater detail what it is that Walt does.

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