Odell Butte

January 20, 1979

Uncertainty gripped our brave group of nine skiers as we prepared to leave Camp I (South Eugene High School Parking Lot) on a bleak day. An ethereal mist floated over Dexter Lake as we journeyed onward. No one wanted to stay long at Camp II Oakridge), so we pushed on to Camp III Crescent Lake Junction) where we cached some food. It was at this point that I realized that some divine hand was urging us to continue, for the weather had cleared and we sighted the summit of . . . OB 1 (Odell Butte). Spirits were high as we prepared to leave Camp IV (the parking area). Each skier bore the burden of enormous day packs. At Camp V (the two-mile mark) everyone engaged in a ritual of disrobement (a new term). The leader decided to set the example for the day’s attire as he skied off from Camp V in his shorts. As we approached the treacherous upper slopes of OB 1 there was a brief period of altitude strain whereupon members of the group incorrectly identified small hummocks as Diamond Peak and the Three Sisters. It was not necessary to acclimatize at this point, however, as we were only a scant mile from the realization of our goal. Finally, the moment we had all been striving for—the summit! Once on top of it we were spectators for vistas never encountered before. The lookout, the relay tower, the outhouse. (Also the Three Sisters and Diamond Peak.) Sitting in the bitter 35° sunlight, we refueled our bodies with various cuisine. Elk salami was the main staple for one of our hardened group. Finally it was time to-return to Camp IV (the parking area). With incredible skill, nine skiers fell down the upper slopes of OB 1 and skied the last 5¼ miles in less than two hours. As we prepared to leave Camp IV and return to Camp I (S.E.H.S. parking lot) we gazed into each others eyes, silently sharing the knowledge that we had skied OB 1 and . . . survived. The members of the assault team were: Dan Bates, Larry and Zotty Cash, Tim Cook, Dick Dodge, Jack Ewing, Joella Hadland, Randy Zustiak and lead faller Sam Miller.


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