Oregon Mountain Community

How Arc’teryx handles the names of their products, and why you should care.

If you aren’t familiar with the performance brand Arc’teryx, their product names might be confusing. Determining what product best suits your activity is as easy as reading the name of the product. Because Arc’yeryx names their products like a scientist might name a new animal. This taxonomy is not only the name of the product, but also a set of conditions that it was designed to be used in. To help decode the product names, here’s a handy reference guide.

Read more ›

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Guides



Part 1.

“It is hard to explain” says my Norwegian friend. “ It means, glue, or sticky… but not quite that”.  Leading him, I ask if it sort of means “ooh, don’t touch that”. He grins “yah, yah, klister means sticky, gooey, and better not to touch”.

Klister does seem to be a witch’s brew of Vaseline, honey, pine resin, and who knows what else…red dye #2, baby poo?  Best not to touch. Yet what I find most amazing about klister is that, after smoothing it onto my ski base with my warm hands, simply going skiing seems to make it disappear from my skin. And skiing on a good klister day can be fantastic, with outstanding glide and grip.  So why do so many try, as much as they can, to not use klister even when it is the obvious choice?

Klister horror stories are common.  Klister has been blamed for the invention of pattern based waxless skis, for ruining car upholstery and down jackets, creating hilarious but unintentional hair styles, and perhaps even turning people completely away from Nordic skiing. Worst of all, a bad klister day means no grip whatsoever and glide matching a snowshoe.

Tools and techniques

Like most fears, klisterphobia is most often due to misunderstanding. When to use and how much to use is an area for enlightenment, but most fear might come from the how.  Here are some tips on making the “how to” less frightening.

The best klister wax job is usually done inside a warm waxing room, but it is rare that we get access to such facilities.  Applying klister outside can be made much easier with some cool tricks.

1)      Put some painter’s tape (that easy-to-peel off blue stuff) at the ends of the ski wax pocket. If you slop over the klister a bit, it will be on the tape, not the glide zone
Read more ›

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in General

Worn Wear – a Patagonia Film About the Stories We Wear

There are some good stories about some good clothing in this short film.  Patagonia builds clothing that is like equipment; it is specific for it’s purpose.  Patagonia’s philosophy is that you are better off, in the long run, to buy something that has a timeless design, durability, and becomes your go-to clothing item for many years.  Not only will this philosophy save you money, but it will save the earth’s natural resources.


Posted in Gear Guides, General, Guides

Weather Forecasts Can Save Lives

Certainly not all, but some poor decision-making can be blamed on dubious weather forecasting.  This video paints the problem with a broad and general brush, however most mountain search and rescues pivot on the decision-making that occurs after bad weather conditions become worse.  It’s hard to pull the plug on a climb, but good forecasting might just help you justify doing it.  This video gives props to our local North Siders, in the Hood River Crag Rats.  Donations are always welcome.

Posted in General

Fitting Rock Climbing Shoes

Watch Heinz Mariacher explain how to properly put on and fit your SCARPA rock climbing shoes.

Posted in Gear Guides, Guides, Shopping Guides

Heli ski guide Aaron Karitis dies following Haines avalanche

On Saturday, 31-year-old Aaron Karitis, from Bend, OR, was caught in an avalanche near the Kicking Horse Valley west of Haines, Alaska while heli-ski guiding for Southeast Alaska Backcountry Adventures. Aaron survived his injuries until late Monday night.

Read more of, Aaron’s friend, Tess Weaver’s touching article on the Freeskier website.

Posted in General

Mt. Bailey Cat Skiing

Head guide Rick “Oz” Oswald on top of Bailey with Mount Thielsen in the distance

Running a cat skiing operation isn’t much different from running a farm.  The failings of weather and equipment are omnipresent.  This season has been a trial of patience for the Mt. Bailey snow cat business in the Cascade mountains of central Oregon.  The meager snowfall before Christmas meant cancelled bookings and dangerous ski conditions.  Our group of skiers and snowboarders, from Portland, OR, had our fingers crossed and prayers in mind, last week, when we drove the 4.5 hours south to Mt. Bailey for two days of skiing.  We had gotten 5-6 feet of snow in Feb., so the base was adequate, but it had rained recently and the forecast favored a warming trend. Read more ›

Posted in General

Accident report for the Feb 11 avalanche in the Wallowa Mountains


Here is a report, by the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, of the avalanche in the southern Wallowa mountains of Oregon Feb. 11th, 2014.  5 backcountry skiers were caught, 1 was uninjured, 2 were injured and 2 were killed.


Posted in General

Stevens Pass Avalanche Control from a Helicopter

This video shows a massive avalanche on Rooster Comb near Stevens Pass, WA.  A ski patrol bomber dropped 50 pounds of explosives, from a helicopter, to set this one off.  The crown is estimated to be 15-20 feet in places.  If you want a longer, and more rocking sound track, version check this out.


Posted in General

Should you use a mountain guide on your next trip?


You’ve poured over the maps, planned & packed for every conceivable contingency. Done all of the hard training necessary to prepare both your mind & body for your next big mountain expedition. However you are still left wondering if you should go with a guide or not. There can be pros & cons to both guided trips & unguided trips. Here are 3 things to consider when selecting the right choice for your next big mountain adventure. Read more ›

Tagged with: ,
Posted in General