Over the years, Mountain Shop customers have travelled out to Northeast Oregon’s Wallowa Mountains. From early December to the end of March they go for Oregon’s best backcountry powder skiing with outfits such as Wing Ridge Ski Tours or Wallowa Alpine Huts. In July, August, and September they head into the spectacular Eagle Cap Wilderness for day hikes and multiday backpacking trips. Hunters frequent the Wallowa Mountains in October and November. This leaves April, May, and June pretty much empty in the high country. In the late spring trailheads open up and the snowpack stabilizes. With a little bit of exploration and some creativity you can be rewarded with some of Oregon’s finest ski descents.
The combination of time of year and the places explored are what “The Other Wallowas” refers to. The Wallowa Mountains aren’t known for the spring corn like the Sierras or the early summer Volcano descents like the Cascades. Cold dry winter snow and backcountry yurts and shelters is what skiing is about. It doesn’t have the multitude of alpine rock routes of the North Cascades, although it does have some of the best scrambling in the state. The Wallowa Mountains have an extensive network of wilderness trails. Still the majority of hiking and climbing traffic sticks to a handful of popular trails, primarily accessed from the Wallowa Valley on the north side of the range. Mentioning a trip outside of a handful of well known locations always brings a blank look. Where is that? It is “The Other Wallowas”
The pictures here are from a ski trip in early June 2011. Do you recognize any of these areas? If so we want to hear from you.
For those interested in trips in the Wallowa Mountains of NE Oregon. Skiing, hiking, car camping, scrambling, or mountaineering contact us and we will get you pointed in the right direction. Those of you who recognize some familiar landmarks from these pictures will probably already know “The Other Wallowas”.
Tags: backcountry skiing, Eagle Cap Wilderness, scrambling, ski mountaineering, Wallowa Mountains
Posted in: Trip Report