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kevin98208
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PostThu Dec 06, 2018 6:49 am 
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I am looking for suggestions for a good place to hold a Denali prep course for my team at the end of January.   Since one of the team members lives in Boise, I am looking for somewhere between Mt. Hood and Boise.  The goal is to winter camp and practice basic mountain movement as a team.  The goal is not to summit a peak.  We will be on skis and pulling sleds.  I will be choosing the spot a week prior to the training based on weather, so looking for a couple different spots to allow for flexibility in location.  I have no flexibility in time (it has to be that weekend) as I have child-care set up and someone else is flying in from out of state.

What I am looking for in a location:
• Ability to camp outside the car the first day (will be a long drive for either myself or my Boise partner.  Will arrive and set up camp outside the vehicles the first night.)
• Shortish walk in. (couple of miles)
• Fairly mellow approach as we will be pulling sleds.
• Below freezing temperatures.
• Enough snow to dig out tent sites/cook tent
• Open enough terrain to practice moving as a rope team
• Preferably a steep hill close by to work on climbing and placing pro
• Preferably above tree-line to get exposure to the wind, and its just prettier above tree line.

I have a couple places in mind right now, but looking for more suggestions.  I haven’t done much in Eastern Oregon so I don’t know what it out there that will be suitable.  (I am from Spokane, so  it gets cold on the eastern side of the state.)

Thank you for any and all suggestion.
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Schroder
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PostThu Dec 06, 2018 9:11 am 
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I don't have a suggestion in that area but if you want to experience close to the conditions you'll see in Alaska, drag gear up the Carbon Glacier on Rainier. The only place I can think of between Hood and Boise is the Wallowas, which will meet your requirements.
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RandyHiker
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PostThu Dec 06, 2018 11:13 am 
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Schroder wrote:
The only place I can think of between Hood and Boise is the Wallowas, which will meet your requirements

The Wallowas are pretty nice.  You could use the Salt Creek sno-park and camp in the forest adjacent to the sno-park and proceed from there.  The Wing Ridge camps are in that area, but can easily be avoided.  Big open basins above timberline that look like they will have fantastic skiing,  but IME after 4 trips to the area almost always had wind hammered crust.  But that might be better for Denali training.

Paradise at Mt Rainier is the usual "training ground" for snow camping and you can camp quite close to the parking lot (1/2 mile) .  The logical challenge is that the NPS closes the uphill gate at Longmire pretty early in the afternoon (3:30? call them for detailedinfo) So you'd need to arrive before the gate closes and you'll need to allocate some time for paperwork to get a backcountry camping permit,  so the rangers don't initiate a search for lost travelers when they find an unregistered car in the lot.
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kevin98208
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PostThu Dec 06, 2018 11:38 am 
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Thanks.  Rainier is out due to drive distance from Boise.  It's an 8.5 hour drive.  The gate is also an issue.  Been there when it didn't open for the day.  Can't take that chance of showing up, it doesn't open and we've lost a day of training time.

Good suggestion on the Wallowas.  I'll do some research into that.
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Jeff
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PostThu Dec 06, 2018 2:57 pm 
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Wallowas for sure.
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jared_j
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PostThu Dec 06, 2018 3:07 pm 
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Wallowas would likely deliver the best in terms of overall ambience / views and threads the needle well between Spokane / Boise.

A less cool alternative I'd consider is just some random spot in the Bitteroots a little north / east of there.  Something like around Ward Mountain, which has some open slopes.   It would give you cold, snow, some elevation gain.  Just throwing it out as a challenger to the Wallowas.
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Stefan
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PostThu Dec 06, 2018 5:07 pm 
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I been on Denali.  Pulling sleds and practicing like you said, is probably best for you on a logging road.  Angles are similar.  Views will not be.  It could definitely be colder up on Denali.  Practicing in dry and cold conditions is a good idea to test your equipment.

I would not go to the Wallowas due to access problems.

So I would suggest the best place is Anthony Lakes ski area outside of Baker, Oregon.  There are some low angles and roads to test your sleds.  It is fairly drier and colder there.  It has some mountains in the 9000 foot range.  It has access.  You have to pay a parking permit there.

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RichP
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PostFri Dec 07, 2018 6:12 am 
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It seems if you go outside of established ski areas or highway passes where roads are plowed, access could be an issue. Your own Mt Spokane could provide some terrain to practice but not sure if winter camping is permitted.

Maybe a place with groomed trails. The Palouse Divide north of Moscow has several miles of groomed trails. Access is via a state highway so it's open unless a big dump has occurred. You can't get the elevation you need but you can definitely pull your sleds and find a place to camp.

https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/nezperceclearwater/recarea/?recid=80129

The Strawberries in Oregon might also be a possibility but access to elevation might be difficult without a long approach.

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