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Climbers near the halfway point. The shadow of Mount Hood is visible at sunrise
On Tuesday June 16th students from Catlin Gabel school found themselves looking across the entire state of Oregon (and Washington) from the summit of Mt. Hood. The day was perfect, with a light breeze, and the students made the ascent in less than six and a half hours.
Just below the summit at 9:15 am
Snow school the day before the climb
On the top
Carefully descending from the top
After the climb
A fine spring weekend spent among the dry hills and and rushing Deschutes River of Central Oregon. Fifteen students set forth on this venture, determined to paddle against the wind, climb to the canyon rim, swim the frigid rapids and camp beneath magnificent starry skies.
Smith Rock is a world renowned mecca for rock climbing. A group of 19 students from Catlin Gabel spent a weekend there under sunny skies in April. Students climbed climbs ranging from 5.7 to 5.11c in many different places throughout the state park. On Saturday night the group enjoyed a large barbecue before driving over to the Grasslands to set up camp. Once our tents were up we spent hours telling stories around the campfire.
The biking/hiking trip was definitely relaxing and invigorating!
While zooming down the road on our bikes along the Deschutes River we witnessed tons of GORGEOUS scenery.
Everyone was able to enjoy the warm central Oregon weather as well as everyone’s company.
We had a tasty barbeque with the CG smith rock climbers the first night and slept under an enticing, starry, night sky!
The next morning we awoke for an exciting day hike up and back down smith rock.
This is definitely a trip worth running again.
1 amazing horror mockumentary.
This student-led winterim knocked our socks off! We explored several of the many wild areas of southern Oregon and far northern California, from the heavy snowfall Crater Lake National Park to the desert sun and dark caves of Lava Beds National Monument.
On the trip to Rainier National park, we experienced snow, foxes, avalanches and the hard work it takes to keep a flame going.
Most of the crew didn’t have any experience on snowshoes. After we threw on our packs and headed out, it became clear to us how hard we were going to have to push ourselves.
As it turned out, we started in the bottom of a huge valley. The way we chose to go was up.
The first hour was the hardest because we were traveling at a consistently aggressive pace, with much-needed rests in between.
After summiting the crest of the valley wall, we took in the views of the scenery around us and as a group decided where to sleep.
With 45 minutes left ‘till the sun went down, we reached “The Throne,” a mini-peak that became our home for the next three days.
Atop our Throne, we could see everything surrounding us, with Mt. Rainier to the North, the Tatoosh range to the South, and everywhere snow. We quickly set up the tents, made dinner and jumped in our cozy sleeping bags.
The next two days were full of snowshoeing adventures, eating PB&J’s, and hanging out at base camp.
It was a great experience that we will never forget.
What a great way to unwind! Eight Upper School girls spend a weekend relaxing and playing on the Oregon Coast. The sun shone down on us at Ecola State Park, where we climbed amongst boulders, hiked to a viewpoint of an island lighthouse, and spotted a whale lolling in the waves. We spent the night in yurts--playing cards, eating marshmallows and fighting off raccoons. Sunday morning we checked out the shipwreck of the Peter Iredale and military bunkers at Fort Stevens.
Girls Cross-Country Ski to Peterson Prairie Cabin: January 26-27, 2009
Ten Upper School girls gathered together for an overnight ski trip to Peterson Prairie Cabin near Mt. Adams in southern Washington. Many were new to skis, but all found their balance and moved gracefully even under heavy loads. A twilight trip to see natural bridges and the big ditch was followed by a huge pot of pasta and hours of laughter and "Taboo" by the campfire. Though two of our party departed early, all had a good time in the snowy woods.
Boys Cross Country Ski to Peterson Prairie Cabin: January 25-26, 2009
Illness and Other Obligations distilled this trip down to an elite group who gathered at Catlin in snowy conditions Sunday morning to set out on the trip. Extremely icy conditions in the Gorge made for a slow transit in the bus to Hood River, where we picked up our rental skis and warmed ourselves with infusions of hot beverages from several coffee shops. After crossing the Hood River Bridge, the route northwards into Washington was snow covered but not so slippery.
At the Atkisson snow park we tested out the skis in the snowy lot, then loaded up our packs with the group gear. The recent snowfall made the evergreens seem like a scene from a giant’s Christmas card as we made our way along the snow covered road towards the Peterson Prairie cabin. At the turnoff to Ice Cave the tail end of our troupe met the Catlin Middle School group that had been at the cabin the night before. They gave us encouraging words to motivate us on to our destination.
After settling in to the cabin, and warming up (in more ways than one) with a few rounds of President, we donned skis again and went off in search of the Prairie itself. These open, snowy meadows were surrounded by tall trees so laden with snow they looked like sand drip castles from the beach. We quickly zoomed through the two prairies. Then our junior leaders led us off into the deep woods. They zoomed through gullies and around thickets and down little hillocks with great glee and lots of noise. Trying to keep up with them was challenging practice for the less experienced among us, but good for developing steering and climbing techniques (not to mention methods for falling down and getting up again). The Brownian motion of the leaders, bouncing from fascinating slope to marvelous tree slalom turned the initially trackless forest into a wandering skein of ski tracks. Eventually the random motions led us back to our own tracks and we re-emerged into the meadow precisely where we had left it.
We got back to the cabin at dusk, and got a fire going in the fireplace while dinner was started. We feasted on spaghetti, garlic bread, and Caesar salad. Everyone was satiated. Afterwards there were s’mores made by the fire, cocoa to drink, and lots more cards to be played.
In the morning we were up early to take advantage of a beautiful, blue sky day. We had oatmeal with all sorts of interesting inclusions for breakfast. Then we set off through the snowed-over campground and up the hill to find the Natural Bridges. It was really cold in the clear air, and some members of the group couldn’t get warm, despite the active climbing. So they returned to the cabin to warm up and make lunch, while the others went on to find the bridges themselves, covered, but not buried, in snow. After lunch we finished cleaning the cabin, restocking the wood bin, chopping kindling, and melting snow for the next Catlin group (the girls’ trip) which would be arriving that evening.
Although heavily laden we set off with light hearts in the much warmer, sunny afternoon. We made good time on the way out, despite the fact that the road seemed to have run uphill in both directions. (This is possibly an effect of carrying a heavy pack while on skis). We dumped the packs that the Ice Caves junction and quickly skied down the access road to explore this lava tube. It was festooned with icicles. This did not intimidate our junior leaders who exuberantly led the way to the farthest reaches of the cave. Great care had to be taken not to slip on the icy puddles between the rocks on the uneven floor. Reenergized by an infusion of cookies, the remainder of the ski to the bus went quickly. We passed the next Catlin contingent wending their way towards the cabin as we approached the end of our trip.
The return to Portland was uneventful and the arrival at Catlin was right on schedule. We are left with fond memories of a fun and enjoyable trip in the snow.
Imagine skiing in fresh powder through the forest and up to a dramatic Forest Service fire lookout in Mt. Hood National Forest. Six students and their two adults leaders lived that dream over the break between semesters when the skied into the Clear Lake Butte Lookout.
|The students met the challenge and successfully built a fire in the snow with what they could find in the woods or their pockets|
|The weather was quite good|
|We trailed a bobcay through the woods for a long while|
This January, a group of seven middle schoolers took an awesome overnight cross-country ski adventure to Peterson Prairie near Mt. Adams. We met on a cold morning and drove through forests blanketed with snow to the Atkinson Snow Park. We donned our overnight packs and skied in fabulous conditions up the well-groomed forest road.
We explored the surrounding area: frozen rivers, icicles, and snow slopes were abundant.
We cooked a huge pasta dinner, created a variety show, made smores, and had no problems tucking ourselves into warm, comfortable beds.
It snowed lightly all night and we woke up to 24 degrees, 3-4 inches of fresh snow, and blue-white marble skies.
After a huge oatmeal breakfast and a thorough cleaning of the cabin, we departed—-visiting the ice cave on the way back to the bus.
Students explored the length of the cave, fascinated by the frozen pools on the cave floor and the huge icicles. We emerged from the cave, had lunch in the snow, and skied back to the bus.
The students warmed up with cookies inside the bus and we drove back. It was a perfect weekend in the snowy woods of Southern Washington.
Bagby Hot Springs Backpacking & Service: November 20-23, 2008
In late November, a bold team of Catlin Gabel students, looking forward to four days of climbing and community service, set out to the high desert of Central Washington, to the Tieton River valley.
Relaxation and group bonding were hallmarks of the trip.
After a grueling day of community service (we moved sections of burnt logs for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Elk Creek Station).
Our lodging was the cozy Chinook Pass Work Station, a pair of bunkhouses maintained for firefighters and others doing service in the area.
We played some cards.
OK, we played A LOT of cards.
Some of the students were so thrilled at carrying these logs that they went back a second day!
And then we climbed.
And the climbing was good.
"Nachos en Naches" may have even been better.
At the end of the trip, we were all much closer and we piled back into the bus, only to have a snow-filled adventure on the way home. Returning to our homes, our real beds, and schoolwork, we had challenged ourselves, created stronger bonds, done some good in the world, and enjoyed our time thoroughly. This trip will not soon be forgotten.
For five glorious spring days students from Catlin Gabel sailed through the San Juan Islands of Washington and into Canada. The eight students were the crew for the 50 foot sailboat, manning the helm, the sails, preparing meals and exploring isalnds along the way.
Smith Rock climbing trip, October 2008
By Eddie Junior
Smith Rock climbing trip, October 2008
By Eddie Junior
The air was cold and sweet on that grey October morning as I pulled into Catlin’s parking lot. People moved like chipmunks, carrying large packs to cars and buses as if storing acorns for winter. I was about to embark upon the largest outdoor trip in the history of the school. Some 40 students and 15 leaders, both from Catlin and from a city-wide student outdoor club, The Explorer Post, would take part in our weekend long trip to the rock-climbing Mecca of Oregon.
Two and a half hours later for the cars, and 3 and a half hours later for the people on the bus, we all finally arrived at the Smith Rock parking lot. The annoyed looks of the 20-something climbing bums (who were not pleased to see a bunch of loud kids pull up in a school bus) could not break our high spirits. About half of the group left for beginner rock school at some nearby cliffs to practice belaying, knot tying and rappelling, while the rest, myself included, headed out in smaller groups all over the area. My heart sunk when I heard our group would be going to Staender’s Ridge, which despite its great climbing, presented one of the furthest hikes possible. But I survived the trek and spent a wonderful afternoon lead-climbing and setting up some moderate routes for my group.
Just as we began packing up our gear that evening, I caught the smell on the wind of fresh-cooked meat, melting cheese and a kind of gooey and cold potato salad. We crammed all our stuff into our packs and returned to the parking lot as fast as we could. As I crested the hill leading up to the parking lot I heard the sweet music of angels singing and felt the warm essence of barbeque dinner engulf me. We all ate like kings that night, cramming down cheeseburgers and throwing back root beers, which our wonderful friends who hung up the harness early that day, had cooked for us. After dinner we went to the campsite and enjoyed a long evening of bonfire, guitar, and hanging out with new friends.
After deciding to sleep outside (not in a tent) with nothing but a sleeping bag and my wits to keep me warm, I woke up chilly and my sleeping bag and pad were drenched with dew. A thick fog hung over Skull Hollow campground, but I admired the potential for a beautiful sunny day as I munched a pb&j sandwich for breakfast. Slowly but surely, we took down tents, rolled up sleeping bags and pads, and loaded into cars and the bus for day two of our trip. With basic training out of the way we split up into more small groups which to different sections of Smith Rock’s most popular climbing area. I got to do some more challenging climbing that day, leading and top-roping sevreral routes, while always keeping a mellow attitude. The day wound down at about 2:30, since we needed to get back to Portland in time for hours and hours of homework. 55 people piled back into their respective means of conveyance, tired, but happy, and we set off into the setting sun.
Warm autumn sunshine provided a wonderful enviroment for over forty students who spent a weekend rock climbing at Smith Rock State Park in central Oregon.
This October we went up to the Indian Heaven wilderness, between Mt. Saint Helens and Mt. Adams. We realized before we started our hike that the weather would not be excellent, but decided to go anyways, because we knew we could make the best of it. Although the weather challenged us physically, the spirit of the trip was fantastic, which made the voyage meaningful.
We bussed to the trailhead, guided by our map and the smooth sounds of Simon and Garfunkel. The ride was beautiful, especially after the crossing the Hood River Bridge; the forest was changing into her fall oranges and yellows. I had never seen the wilderness in such a vivid display of color. This was only a glimpse of the beauty to come. We started the hike by letting our high spirits shield us from the rain and cold. As long as we were moving and talking and laughing, the rain did not trouble us.
Before long we settled on a campsite and proceeded to set up our tents. The cold started to set in, and I began to focus on my cold hands instead of the beauty of the lake we were lucky enough to camp next to.
After a quick rest we set out again to explore Indian Heaven. We saw hundreds of little glades and meadows, dusted with reds and yellows. The clouds and the mist created a mysterious and soothing solace, which we might not have experienced if the weather had been great.
We came across a giant patch of wild huckleberry plants, which were weighted down by the juicy fruit. We feasted and laughed together. It was truly amazing to discover that amazing abundance of treasures in the middle of the wilderness. That find was defiantly a high point of the trip.
We journeyed back to camp to cook dinner. The cold was setting in, and the rain soaked through some of our layers. There was no shortage of gourmet food on this trip. We prepared miso soup, French bread with brie, pesto pasta, and hot chocolate. It was a satisfying way to end the satisfying day.
The next morning it began to snow. We cleaned our campsite quickly and headed for home. The hike out felt refreshing, like we were coming to the end of a saga of rain and cold. The conversation and mood was great, we all knew we had endured something difficult, and felt stronger from the experience. I would recommend this trip if you are looking for a great way to test your physical endurance, and want to witness one of the prettiest places on Earth.