Snow Cave Outing

February 25, 1989

Ten adventurous troglodytes rendezvoused at Willamette Pass Ski Area around noon on Saturday. After much logistical conjecturing we were off up the chair lifts loaded down with full packs and some nagging questions as to our sanity. After some innovative exits from the chair lift at the top of mighty Eagle Peak, we headed out to find a suitable spot to build our snow caves.

Everyone had their own unique approach as to design and construction technique. Our site boss (Bud Proctor) was very helpful in offering advice on the most cost efficient and structurally sound methods of building. Several natural hazards, such as small trees and fallen logs, were encountered and incorporated into the overall design plans. Frank Lloyd Wright couldn’t have created more aesthetic and naturalistic shelters. Five ambitious miners combined to create a split-level, megacave, the “party hut,” which served as a social gathering place for the small city in the snow.

It was rather cold and wet and the group retreated to the relative comfort of their synthetic and down cocoons at an early hour. Except for a few minor disturbances such as one member sliding off his sleeping shelf in the middle of the night, it was an unusually quiet evening. We awoke to a beautiful clear morning. After packing up our frozen and wet gear, we headed off towards Rosary Lakes. It was quite a challenging experience skiing with full packs. We had one broken ski and face plants too numerous to count. The ski trip wasn’t as graceful as Ice Capades but the scenery with a layer of fresh powder was beautiful.

Snow caving for those as yet uninitiated into the full rites of mountaineering is an unusual mixture of periods of enjoyment, exhilaration and camaraderie interspersed with ties of numbing cold, discomfort, and epic stoicism. The hardy snow cave participants were Rick Ahrens, Rich and Jan Anselmo, Tom Donnelly, Gene and Connie Everard, Jim Farwell, Carol Horvath, Tom Woxell, and our fearless leader Bud (the black eye) Proctor.

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