Sunday, December 29, 2013

Killing Time, Waiting for Snow

No changes in our local weather in the last week. The Pacific Northwest is still sitting under a persistent high pressure ridge, and the resulting inversion (and fog) in the Rogue Valley has us longing for weather-- any weather-- to come and sweep it out. To escape the fog here in the valley, I went for a hike in the nearby Applegate Valley and snapped a few pictures of the Applegate Lake area with my new Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1 camera (review to follow in the coming weeks). Enjoy the photos, and pray for snow.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Applegate Peak Redux

There's probably no other sport more dependent on mother nature than skiing. For weeks now, the Pacific Northwest has been sitting under a high pressure ridge, which has been steering storms well to the north.  Here in southern Oregon, we're about to close what will likely be the driest year on record (Medford has received 8.99 inches of precipitation in 2013, less than half the annual average of 18.05 inches). Area snowpack is near all-time lows.

While we wait for winter (and precipitation), we go where the snow is. Crater Lake is the only place within a couple hours that we know has skiable snow, so David, Lucy, and I made our way back to Applegate Peak the Sunday before Christmas. What we found were some very challenging conditions, including a half-inch, breakable rain crust, making for a dicey descent. With every turn, we broke through the crust into the softer snow below. Before long, we had skinned up for the descent, just to help us manage our speed on the crust (since turning wasn't really an option).

Monday, December 9, 2013

Applegate Peak

According to Wikipedia, the Rogue Valley in southern Oregon averages 3.6 inches of snow per year. Crater Lake, in the nearby Cascade Mountains, gets over 500 inches of snow per year. So when it snows here in Medford, by extrapolation you can be pretty sure the Cascades are getting hammered with a ton of superlight, blower pow. The snow started falling in Medford on Friday morning... and knowing what was going on in the mountains, I just smiled.