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Boarding in the Wallowas

By: Bill Bonner
Trip Date: April 13, 2001

Night 1

I'm hear , I'm tired. That is about it.

Day 2 (continuation of yesterday)

It took us 7 hours to make 6 miles. Just past half way we had to stop. 75 lbs. of gear was really heavy. We figured we wouldn't make it to camp. We were exhausted so we dug a hole in the snow and got rid of about 40lbs. Today we went back for it.

The rest of the day we went snowboarding. The snow grabbed Kris's nose. Unfortunately I was only able to see the knarly path it made. On our last run I found some perfect bulges to hit tomorrow.

Day 3

Nick and Randy are heading out today. They will have an easy walk out. The sun has been shining non-stop and no wind. I got a sad feeling earlier. I didn't know what I was going to do today. I felt uneasy and bored but I figured it was just a residual feeling. My mind and body have really gotten poor. I'll make it a point to get a workout every day.

Well I just fulfilled today's requirement for exercise. We did virtually non-stop snow shoeing for 4 hours with an elevation gain of 1000+ feet in winds of over 50 mph. The view made it more than worth it.

Day 4

Just got done with a little yoga/stretching, felt gooood. Likin' it.

Today we took along nap and got rested for tomorrow... We decided to summit Pete's Point and board off of it. It's been sitting' up there smiling at us every day.

After our nap we did some blundering on some rock across the valley and checked out an old slab avalanche.

Day 5

Got up at 7:30am. Headed out by 8:30am. Weather was looking good but it quickly turned to s--t. By the time we were at the base of the ridge it was snowin' and blowin'. The top was getting fogged in so we waited for a while then aborted. The snow felt good up high.

We cruised down to the base of a ridge closer to camp and climbed it. Then boarded off it and stopped just 100 yards shy of camp (started snowing real good).

Day 6

Just eaten so far.

The richest blue sky welcomed our hike. The 5 in. of new snow was still light and easy to walk through. The sun's warm rays felt great. (t-shirt weather, Yah!). I estimated a little over 2000 ft. of vert today. I can already feel more strength in my legs. Now time for bed. Rest up for more tomorrow!

Day 7

I'm going to write this down just so I can remember. This day started out with freezing feet, knees, butt and face. I'm still damp and sticky from sweating at some point last night. My shoulders ache. Both arms and both legs slept more than I have all week. And for the last three hours I've laid here feeling unable to get up or fall asleep.


Day 8

The snow keeps a comin'.

Current conditions for Saturday, 04-21-01 @ 4:48 pm...

Clouds, blue sky, fog, snow, wind.

Forecast... More starvation, exhaustion, sleeplessness and frozen feet throughout the day.

We got some great turns in but I've been pretty tired and in a negative mood lately which you can probably tell.

After spending every ounce of energy to get to the top of 'the great divide', I strapped on the board and dropped in to bliss. "Epic turns forever", I thought. Then a cloud blew over head and my perfectly clear view was gone. I searched for Kris's track and found it through a tight shoot. Once Kris came into view at the bottom I saw snow boulders. I directed all energy to the first one. When I realized I wouldn't go around I jumped not realizing that my choice locked my position on my path to a yard sale. Once in the air I saw a clear shot of what's to come. A much larger block of snow was rapidly making it's way toward the nose of my board. When I landed at it's feet I was welcomed with a trip reversing my position on the earth. That was when I decided to test out my newly acquired gymnastic skill of two no handed cartwheels. Flawless! 10's from the judges (Kris, Chubbs, The Mtns.) I had my hood on so I kept my hat but my water bottle was ripped off, my shovel was 30 ft. up and I lost my snowshoes under my board that were previously strapped on to my pack.

When I gathered my things a sense of anger emerged and weird s@#t happened on the way back home.

Day 9

@ 10;30 am. we started blazin'. The weather was finally cooperating. We set out once again for Pete's Pt. Clouds started filling in at the base of what we now wall Coyote Ridge but the weather still looked good so we kept movin'. The view was pretty sweet. The weather coming in looked dark but calm. Kris grabbed a rock and hucked it over the cornice. When I grabbed for one underneath it there were 2 ammo boxes stenciled with,' Pete's Pt.' elev. 9675. There were log books dating back to the sixties. We signed the most recent book, snapped some shots and strapped on the board. The ,as yet, unnamed run was laid out perfectly with 'double drop' waiting at the bottom.

Day 10

Food supply is 1/2 of its original size. Projection, 1 week +. Kris decided we needed a 4th wall last night so he started construction on a quarter igloo half way around the west face. He has a good system that looks like it will work. (Just as I wrote that a part of it fell).

Day 11

Great day. Conscious since 5:30 am. Cold gray light blanketed our 6 mile long bedroom wall. Cold but feeling good. Relieved myself then grabbed the camera. The snow was hard enough to walk on without a trace. As I walk along the valley a dot on the colorless ground caught my interest. A dead still caterpillar laid in the hole his warm body had melted. I picked him up. No movement. I tried to warm him with my breath. Motion. I had dried mango in my teeth so I picked some out and put it in front of him (It turned out to be the back but he hadn't moved one way or the other and there was more movement on that end). When I looked close after another long breath I saw eyes and mandibles. It took him a second but he started mawin' on that mango. I walked him to a tree grove and held him to a branch. He grabbed the needles and started eating the tip of one. He is probably in a bird by now but at least he got to try mango.

Shoed to top of Aneroid Mt. 9702 elev. Not a cloud. Soaked up some harmful rays. 2200 ft. of downhill.

Day 12 (only 3 more!)

The weather is melting the hell out of the snow.(60+ in the shade) I got 1 run in today at 'hat alley'. Did laundry, ate and filtered water. Saw a Huge avalanche. Heard more. Over all, a pretty chill day. Peaceful.

This trip Has made me think of the future. What will I do for a career? What are my aspirations? What are my talents? I am seeing life through new eyes each moment and it amazes me.

Day 13

Headin' out tomorrow morning (weather depending). Another blue sky, warm. Snow disappearing.

Hopefully the weather will last 2-3 mas dias.

Day 14

Packed, said good bye to the coolest place I've ever been (literally/figuratively). The hike took no time and the aroma of rain on soil smelled almost as good as the fresh onion and garlic cheese wraps we made down in the town of Walawa. This day just kept getting better and better. After we devoured the wraps we followed the river to the beach. It was, no joke, hot! We took out shirts and boots off and sprinted for the ice water. Kris stopped short but I got in quick and scrubbed. Then ran out and grabbed the Frisbee to run around and dry. Kris at this time had acquired the nuts to sprint through the "ice" until he tripped. Usually water slows movement but in this case Kris became a bolt of lightning. He was in extreme fast forward.

That night we had to make a little covert op. across the bridge so we could make camp near a gazebo in case of S#!T weather.

Day 15

The weather waited on us. We woke up @ 5:30 am. and packed quick so as not to be caught by the federales and pretended like we just got there.

We have spent the last 8 hrs hiding under this gazebo! The weather is still pissin'.

Well that's all I got written for that trip but thanks to Mary I will be able to have a plethora of epic journeys and live with 'no boundaries'.