Ski Trekking at Crater Lake Feb 17-18, 2020

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A. Hugh Jass
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Ski Trekking at Crater Lake Feb 17-18, 2020

Post by A. Hugh Jass » February 22nd, 2020, 7:38 am

I noticed the weather forecast at Crater Lake National Park looked great, so I loaded up the gear headed down. I arrived at the Crater Lake backcountry office, got my permit, and headed toward the Rim Village via the Raven Trail.

The Raven Trail was a perfect fit for my Altai Hok skis. The terrain was generally uphill, but there were a lot of tight turns and hills to climb and descend.

When I got to the rim, the sky and weather were perfect. I skied along the West Rim trail toward The Watchman. The skiing on The Watchman was mixed and the slope angle was a little shallow for the Hoks to perform with speed. But on this beautiful day, I didn't care about the slow skiing. I was having a blast.
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Raven Trail from Crater Lake backcountry permit office to the Rim
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Wizard island as Raven trail ends at rim
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West Rim Route
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Crater Lake and Wizard Island
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skiing down The Watchman
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Camp

johnspeth
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Re: Ski Trekking at Crater Lake Feb 17-18, 2020

Post by johnspeth » February 22nd, 2020, 9:27 am

I'm curious about your skis, a nice expression of backcountry snow travel tradeoffs. Your trip sounds like the perfect use of your skis.
Do you telemark turn or regular alpine turn?
They have a short segment of built-in skins. Are you concerned the more demanding downhill parts will wear out your skins?
Did you ski the steeper north face of the Watchman? If so, how did that go?
It looks like you swapped in a pair of telemark bindings. Is that correct? What kind of boots did you like to use?

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retired jerry
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Re: Ski Trekking at Crater Lake Feb 17-18, 2020

Post by retired jerry » February 22nd, 2020, 9:38 am

Nice trip, report

"A. Hugh Jass" - ha, ha, ha,...

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A. Hugh Jass
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Re: Ski Trekking at Crater Lake Feb 17-18, 2020

Post by A. Hugh Jass » February 22nd, 2020, 2:47 pm

johnspeth wrote:
February 22nd, 2020, 9:27 am
I'm curious about your skis, a nice expression of backcountry snow travel tradeoffs. Your trip sounds like the perfect use of your skis.
Do you telemark turn or regular alpine turn?
I only do Tele turns - I've never been on downhill skis. I have quite a quiver of Nordic skis - 6 sets
They have a short segment of built-in skins. Are you concerned the more demanding downhill parts will wear out your skins?
I have skied them 15 times for a total distance of 75 miles since mid-December. No wear at all - like new conditions on the skins.
Did you ski the steeper north face of the Watchman? If so, how did that go?
I was solo. Since I am solo, I do not ski avalanche-risk zones. I went up/down the <30-degree West slope.
It looks like you swapped in a pair of telemark bindings. Is that correct? What kind of boots did you like to use?
I started the Raven trail on my leather Alpina boots. After only a couple hundred yards, I realized, because of my 25 pound load on my back, that it would be difficult to ski the leather boots. I went back to my truck and switched to my Crispi plastic 3-buckle boots. It was a breeze after the switch.

Overall the Altail Hok skis did great through the woods on the Raven trail. That had a lot of turns and ascents and descents over many small hills. My Soul-7 or BC-90s would have been more difficult to maneuver through the woods.

The ski along the West Rim also went really well with the Hoks. Think of the Hoks as a skiable snowshoe. They were pretty bad skiing downhill on the Watchman. The skins slow down too much with more than 2 inches of powder. I have skied Tumalo with 2-inches of fresh powder and they performed well. I actually like that they ski slowly when skiing through tight trees.

Honestly, I bought the Hoks only to do part of the effort for mountaineering. Using the universal binding, I plan on going up to The Lunch Counter on Adams this June, and Helen Lake on Shasta - then I'll do traditional mountaineering to the summits with boots/crampons. Then I can ski out on the "mashed potato" warm snow. I've post-holed too many times on Shasta and Adams on the descent with traditional mountaineering boots.

By the way the Hok skis come with a "Quiver Killer" like setup. They have machine screw inserts. So, you can swap out the bindings in about 5 minutes, and do it repeatedly.
Last edited by A. Hugh Jass on February 23rd, 2020, 5:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

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jessbee
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Re: Ski Trekking at Crater Lake Feb 17-18, 2020

Post by jessbee » February 22nd, 2020, 4:24 pm

Cool, I've never heard of those skis but then again I'm pretty green on Backcountry skiing. Hoping for good weather for the full circumnavigation next month. Curious how much traffic there was beyond the Watchman. Any tracks? Any other people camping?
Will break trail for beer.

Blog and photos

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A. Hugh Jass
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Re: Ski Trekking at Crater Lake Feb 17-18, 2020

Post by A. Hugh Jass » February 22nd, 2020, 7:45 pm

jessbee wrote:
February 22nd, 2020, 4:24 pm
Cool, I've never heard of those skis but then again I'm pretty green on Backcountry skiing. Hoping for good weather for the full circumnavigation next month. Curious how much traffic there was beyond the Watchman. Any tracks? Any other people camping?
There were no tracks West of the Watchman. I am also planning a circumnavigation trip of CL in the next 4-6 weeks. I will be using a pulk-sled for my gear and I'll probably switch to my BC-90 skis + Alpina Telemark boots. I'm going to leave my sled at the Rim Trail, then drive back to the Visitor's Center. I don't want to pull that sled on the Raven Trail. It's "only" a mile - but it's a tough mile to pull a sled. You have to park at the VC for all backcountry overnight trips.

The Hoks are better for carrying a backpack like I did on this trip, IMHO.

The great policy with Crater Lake NP is you are supposed to make a hidden camp away from the view of trails, the road, and other camps. I know there were at least four other camps out there from my conversation with the BC Ranger, but I didn't see any camps.

Have fun on your trip.

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