West Fork Lostine River - 6/20/17

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daver
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West Fork Lostine River - 6/20/17

Post by daver » June 22nd, 2017, 4:52 am

We decided to go back to the Wallowas with an early morning mid-week day trip. My buddy had to be back by 4 to pick up kids from daycare so we hit the road at 3:30 AM. Amazingly there is already a hint of light at that time. Our intention was to head up the Copper Creek trail if possible to get across the Lostine River somewhere, if not then we would just journey on the West fork.
We hit the two pan trailhead with not a single car there at about 6:00. Almost immediately we started encountering snow on the trail.
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The Lostine as might be expected is ripping right now, and it became apparent pretty early that we probably would have a tough time finding the right set of logs and islands to get across. Just too much water right now. It had been in the 90s in Enterprise the day before and the melt was making itself known and submerging a good section of trail in places.
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As the snow thickened the route finding slowed quite a bit. Had a nice crotch deep post hole into an icy creek which filled my boot with water, but well worth it.
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Ultimately we ended about 4 miles in on five feet of snow. It was hard and only the occasional post hole, but there were a few sketch water crossings. The rewards were well worth it.
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So great day of playing hooky from work, and got back in time to spring my friend's kids, but not before a good late lunch at the Terminal Gravity brewpub in Enterprise with their super uptight cat.
lostinepost_31.JPG

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drm
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Re: West Fork Lostine River - 6/20/17

Post by drm » June 22nd, 2017, 6:47 am

I would have thought you would be able to walk a ways up canyon before hitting full snow, but it looks like you were probably on 100% coverage within less than a mile?

daver
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Re: West Fork Lostine River - 6/20/17

Post by daver » June 22nd, 2017, 5:18 pm

drm wrote:I would have thought you would be able to walk a ways up canyon before hitting full snow, but it looks like you were probably on 100% coverage within less than a mile?
It was not quite black and white like that. Most of it was in the trees in the river bottom, and where there was tree cover, I would say maybe a 1-2 miles that was pretty much the case. We really only had one area where things really broke out, and that was pretty snow free (mountain shots were there), although the trail was pretty wet with running water wherever there was no snow. It doesn't help that it is highly utilized by horses. The trail ditches pretty deep. We saw a lot of horse crap that looked fresh, but was in an area that probably no humans, let alone horses have been this year. Just frozen leftovers. We're at 135% of normal for precipitation for the water year out this way, and it is going to be a late season for the high country this year I think.

bwells1989
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Re: West Fork Lostine River - 6/20/17

Post by bwells1989 » June 23rd, 2017, 3:06 pm

Constant 5 feet snow 4 miles in? Did you see any of the passes? Are they feasible for the determined with crampons/snowshoes/axe?

daver
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Re: West Fork Lostine River - 6/20/17

Post by daver » June 23rd, 2017, 3:24 pm

bwells1989 wrote:Constant 5 feet snow 4 miles in? Did you see any of the passes? Are they feasible for the determined with crampons/snowshoes/axe?
I think there is plenty of terrain to hit. My boss went up Mule Peak with snow shoes to 8700ft a couple weekends ago. You can see from my photos, that some of the exposed stuff up out of the valley floor is opened up. I think if we could have crossed the Lostine, we could have gone quite a ways up before being stopped. I would say go forth and see what you can do. I have a coworker that wants to hit the south side this weekend, and the big debate was the south side gets more snow, but probably melts faster, so which is better for access, north or south. We got in six on Hurricane without too much trouble 3 weeks ago. Crossing major drainages might be an issue. You can always base camp, and day trip. I don't know about hiking through yet though.

daver
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Re: West Fork Lostine River - 6/20/17

Post by daver » June 23rd, 2017, 3:40 pm

daver wrote:
bwells1989 wrote:Constant 5 feet snow 4 miles in? Did you see any of the passes? Are they feasible for the determined with crampons/snowshoes/axe?
I think there is plenty of terrain to hit. My boss went up Mule Peak with snow shoes to 8700ft a couple weekends ago. You can see from my photos, that some of the exposed stuff up out of the valley floor is opened up. I think if we could have crossed the Lostine, we could have gone quite a ways up before being stopped. I would say go forth and see what you can do. I have a coworker that wants to hit the south side this weekend, and the big debate was the south side gets more snow, but probably melts faster, so which is better for access, north or south. We got in six on Hurricane without too much trouble 3 weeks ago. Crossing major drainages might be an issue. You can always base camp, and day trip. I don't know about hiking through yet though.
Here is a photo high up that shows the snow remaining near treeline. Crappy shot, so didn't post before, but gives a perspective on what is left in some locations (SW of where we were on the Lostine).
lostineposta.JPG

bwells1989
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Re: West Fork Lostine River - 6/20/17

Post by bwells1989 » June 24th, 2017, 7:32 am

Thanks for the feedback! I'd be interested to hear how your buddy's trip on the south side goes. We were planning going up 1910 from East Eagle in the south in the coming weeks. Guess we're rolling the dice about getting up Horton Pass or any others. Might be a game time decision whether to take one or all spikes/axe/snowshoes.

mtnhiker56
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Re: West Fork Lostine River - 6/20/17

Post by mtnhiker56 » June 25th, 2017, 5:42 pm

Had a nice crotch deep post hole into an icy creek which filled my boot with water, but well worth it.

....mmm....a bit puzzled here...my 10th grade english teacher had a phrase for sentences like this...too long ago to remember....anybody?

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miah66
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Re: West Fork Lostine River - 6/20/17

Post by miah66 » June 26th, 2017, 10:32 am

Have they started logging the Lostine corridor yet?
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daver
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Re: West Fork Lostine River - 6/20/17

Post by daver » July 1st, 2017, 7:40 am

miah66 wrote:Have they started logging the Lostine corridor yet?
Didn't know that was a plan. Not that I noticed.

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