Sunday, January 12, 2014

Morning at Timberline

I've been wanting to get to the mountain for some uphill skiing practice.  My winter 2014 bucket list includes another trip to Illumination Saddle, doing better in this year's skimo race, and finally summitting Mt. St. Helens on skis.  Of course, in order to accomplish these ambitious goals, I need to get my butt in shape.

And the only way to do that is to strap on skis, and slog up a slope.

Poor, bare Mt. Hood

Although the snowpack thus far has been less than stellar, there comes a time when you can't continue to wait for perfect conditions.  You have to get your hiney out there and make the best of it.

Ready for some uphill travel!

So despite the crappy, icy snow, last weekend found me at Timberline Ski Area, sticking climbing skins on my skis, and shuffling up the cat track paralleling Magic Mile's groomed ski runs.

Follow the cat track

The good news - it was a lovely, sunny, blue sky day.  The bad news - the wind was absolutely howling, already blowing strong gusts in the parking lot.  That didn't bode well for Mt. Hood's higher elevations, where I was headed.

Skiing selfie

But it felt good to be on my skis, huffing and puffing up the side of Hood.  The exertion of skiing uphill quickly warmed my body.  Although extremely barren of her white coat, the mountain still looked fabulous.  I enjoyed watching snow-riders zip down the adjacent ski run.  And when I tired of this, experimenting with my camera's self timer offered a nice distraction.

My lovely tele skis

Clear skies meant great scenic views - of Mt. Hood in all her craggy glory, of historic Timberline Lodge getting farther and farther below, and vistas of foothills and mountains to the south.  If you can't have fresh powder, sunny weather is the next best thing.

Hood is getting closer

Although starting out gasping for air, I quickly settled into a rhythm and began to enjoy my uphill trip.  I was happy to discover my fitness level was better than expected.  Guess my three-times-a-week running routine is doing something.

Timberline Lodge and Mt. Jefferson

Of course, when there's views like this from behind, how can you not feel great?  Despite the wind (which wasn't dying down in the least) I was glad to be outside on my favorite mountain.

Front view selfie

To break some of the monotony, I set my camera in the snow, activated the self-timer, slid back downhill, and then shuffled back towards it.  The timer was programmed to fire five shots in succession.

After two tries, I was pleasantly surprised to find a couple shots I liked.  Such as the one above.

I cut off my face but captured the mountains

Or this one.  Yeah, my face got cropped out, but the camera did capture a bit of the mountain scenery behind (and my right ski tip).

Hard working legs

And this one's fun too.  A sunburst shining just above the right knee.  And an up-close and personal image of my hard-working legs.

Snowcat and Silcox Hut

After fooling around with silly selfies, the wind picked up, and prompted me to get serious about reaching the top of the Magic Mile lift.  From Timberline Lodge, it's a climb of 1000 feet.  I put the pedal to the metal, and before I knew it, the lift house came into view.  But first, I passed by the Silcox Hut, a mid-mountain shelter turned into rustic overnight lodge.  Guests are escorted here via one of Timberline's lovely red snowcats.

Rocky slopes

Although I'd intended to climb all the way to the top of the Palmer Lift, another 1500 feet higher, the screaming wind, and icy slopes convinced me it was time to turn around.  Stripping off my climbing skins in the strong gales wasn't fun, but I managed to get everything switched without losing any gear to the wind.

It was a slow, shaky trip to the bottom.  The icy snow and rocky slopes kept me constantly on guard.  The only decent snow was found on two narrow groomed runs, which were crowded with skiers and boarders.  Forget trying to do tele-turns - I switched into survival skiing mode.  I just wanted to get myself down unscathed!

Skiing down on ice

Although I entertained the thought of one more trip up the Mile, by the time I reached Timberline Lodge, I was done.  I had no desire to fight the crowds and icy snow a second time.  Despite many photo breaks, I'd climbed 1000 feet in an hour.  Not the speediest, but a good start for little ole me.

The winter is still young, and I know there will be more chances for uphill skiing practice.  This day's trip was a good start.  And, as always, I was glad to be outside on a sunny, winter's day!

Our World Tuesday Graphic

Sharing with:  Our World Tuesday and the 52 Photos Project.


  1. Oh Gosh this is just incredible! You really do amaze me and I love your enthusiasm, all shots were delightful and your selfies are darn cute!

  2. Wonderful selfies.. I love your selfies.. and your enthusiasm, energy, and spirit. You go and you do.. that I find truly wonderful.

  3. Wow--the mountain sure looks 'naked' doesn't it? I am sure it looked much better after this weekend's snow. Love the views you captured and your 'selfies' are very cute:)
    Glad you got up on the mountain this weekend:)
    PS: Is that a lake I see way down there?
    PS2: Love your Mt St Helens goal!

  4. God or bad I could do with some of that here, I'm fed up with Rain

  5. Nice pictures- the snow is sparse but the area is still pretty.

  6. Beautiful views and cute selfies!

  7. The views are just breathtaking and the selfies aren't too bad either.

  8. Can you imagine that we hadn't any snow so far this winter? So beautiful, all the white and the blue sky. Love your pictures!

  9. The sky certainly was beautiful. Love your selfies! But when I saw so little snow cover, I was relieved to learn you made it safely back to the bottom. ;)

  10. Linda, you're a machine!!

    I've never really thought about skiing without using a chairlift.

    Go, you!

    Your selfies are awesome.

  11. We have a ton of snow compared to you! I like the sunbursts.

  12. Beautiful scenery, although the mountain does look rather thin in the snow department. When you're skiing backcountry (like when you climb Mt. St. Helens, do you have to be concerned with avalanches? People are killed every year that way here in CO, we're already lost a couple to avalanches this winter and it's barely started.

  13. Your photography is lovely. And to dare to set your camera down in front of you and take timed! Glad it went ok! And glad you made it down the mtn unscathed! Thanks for sharing your day on the mountain. Never have been skiing although I've often wanted to. Take care!

  14. Wow, gorgeous views and cute selfies! You are brave to be out there in the cold wind and on the ice? I hope you had a fun time skiing..Have a happy week ahead!

  15. I love how you just get out there and always make the best of situations! Even if conditions aren't perfect, you make do. The mountain does look pretty bare! At least it was sunny and the sky was blue. Cute selfies :)

  16. Good for you. I really enjoyed your photos and commentary. Many locals here in Breck use tele's or AT gear to climb up one of the Peaks of the ski area at dawn each morning. My husband and I have talked about renting the gear and trying it sometime. (Hard to get out of a warm bed and face the cold before dawn though!) I think we've been getting all your snow - this is a great snow year for us so far.

  17. I'm so happy to see that you got out. It's been rather barren this year, hasn't it?

    Love all the photos - you always make me want to get out and ski. again.

  18. I can't imagine going up that mountain, let alone on skis. You are Wonder Woman, girl!

    And love your interesting selfies -- very creative!

  19. Skiing without lift? That is an achievment! Great series ...hope you will continue with the fun!

  20. Gorgeous scenery. Looks like you had a great time. I've never tried skiing. I've always said the reason why is because I like all my bones exactly where they are!

  21. looks like fun and you are very brave.


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