16 miles of hiking • 2000' elevation gain • 2 nights
I've been wanting to do this bike/ski/climb trip for the past few years. Now have an adventure buddy who can rock all three.
Sunday: We put our skis in a kiddie trailer and slowly rode up McKenzie Pass from the gate. Stashed our bikes and trailer at Lava Camp Lake, and attempted to ski south on the PCT. Well it was a little too late this year for the skiing. The snow was patchy for the first couple miles until N Matthieu, then it was steeply forested. We hiked/postholed and carried our skis about as much as we skiied. After several hours navigating through the wilderness, we were very surprised to find three groups already camped at South Matthieu lake-including a family with barking dog and a fire near a "no campfires" sign. Grrr. Apparently there is an easier way in from the east via the Scott trail. Luckily everyone left the next day.
Well, the views looking south from our campsite were magnificent. The starry sky the first night was incredible, I saw the Milky Way and a satellite!
The next day we did a 10 mile tour through the lavalands. Our objective was Little Brother. We skiied until it started getting steep, then switched to our mtn boots, but the snow was soft and it was arduous. The beginning of our climb,but we were pretty fatigued. The morning was gorgeous, but the weather had turned by the time we reached Opie Dilldock Pass. We decided to climb Collier Cone instead and then suddenly the clouds just covered everything up and it started to rain. So we bailed, rats.
Skiing out of there the next day was also a challenge because going downhill on ice with a heavy pack through trees was beyond my skill level. The tree wells un-nerved me. After falling several times, I got this ominous feeling that an injury was looming, so I just carried them for rest of the return trip.
We dropped all of our gear near the road and went on a nice bike tour of the pass area before heading back down to the gate. Great adventure!