Black Crater is a minor summit north of the Three Sisters. In the summer it's a trail hike, and
in winter or spring it provides an easy ski tour with very nice views.
Routes: NE Slopes (easy ski descent)
Date: April 30, 2006
Party: DB solo
Route: NE Slopes
Equipment: AT Skis
Time: E Sno Gate on OR 242 - Summit 3 hrs 55 mins
Summit - Sno Gate 1 hr 55 mins
Roundtrip from Sno Gate 6 hrs 30 mins
Comments: Time up includes an hour hiking on the plowed but closed road.
I hiked from the snow gate 8 miles west of Sisters on Highway 242 for about 45 minutes to an evelation of about 4,700', and started skinning. It had been very cold during the night and the snow was icy, but I figured it would soften up later. After skinning throught the forest for about two hours I got a glimpse of the mountain and started traversing. I was just a little bit too high and went back down to traverse over to the open ENE slopes. Fortyfive minutes later I was on the summit and enjoyed the views.
The first 800 vertical feet down were very nice, with the snow in the sun a reasonable approximation to corn, and the snow in the shade just a little bit icy. Then came a long descending traverse on the slopes opposite the cinder cone known as Point 5,508. To my surprise I discovered that there are hot springs in that slope, which produce huge (10 foot cubed) holes in the snow. At the end of the traverse the forest started to get denser, and the rest of the trip back to the highway involved some bushwhacking.
Once I intersected the highway I managed to glide (with a lot of pole action) on the snow bank all the way back down to my car. Towards the end the snow cover was getting very marginal, though, by tomorrow I'm sure large parts of it will be gone.
Nice trip, and something I had never before done on skis.