The Northwest Bear

November 17, 2019

The PNW has been dealing with an incredibly slow finish to fall. Little rain in Portland has also meant little snow up in the mountains. We just need a couple more cold weather systems and consistent snow levels dropping to ~4,000 feet throughout the Cascades before ski season can begin. Just take a look at a couple Timberline Lodge weather cameras. The left is looking up the Palmer ski lift, elevation 8,470 feet. Very spotty snow. And then the Jeff Flood ski lift, elevation 6,020 feet. Bone dry...

August 15, 2019

In the wee hours of a Saturday morning in mid-July, my car was broken into and all my climbing gear was stolen. A few days after the incident, I got mostly all of it back. Hallelujah! I went from pure devastation to extreme happiness in the span of 72 hours - an exhausting roller coaster of emotions. As it turns out, when thieves steal things they don’t think they can sell, they just toss the stuff to the side of the road. I had about $1,900 worth of gear taken from me to begin with. Knowing tha...

July 12, 2019

For the past few years, I have steered away from high mountain pursuits. Mostly because I had accomplished my summit list of the Big 5 Washington volcanoes in 2017 (Rainier, Baker, Adams, Mount St. Helens, and Glacier Peak). I was finding more joy in the chill nature of rock climbing and the immediate sense of accomplishment from finishing a route just 90 feet off the ground. There are things I love and miss about my mountaineering days, e.g. the early alpine starts, all the tactical hardware, t...

June 13, 2019

Let's cut to the chase. June is the best month ever because of the weather. If you're in Portland though, you might think I'm crazy because we just received two days of record-shattering heat. But even so, you know you enjoyed that little taste of summer... And that was pretty fun for me to forecast through. I'd like to point out, however, that the average high temp at PDX in June is a comfy 74°. There has also NEVER been a sub-freezing morning recorded in Portland. Cheers to that. June also tak...

May 31, 2019

We are in the heart of dirtbag season here in the PNW. Since March, I've spent a good chunk of my weekends in the mountains with many sleeps in a tent. The weather has been on my side for most of my adventures so far. But that was not the case for my Memorial Day Weekend. My climbing plans were foiled by the rain and on Sunday morning, I woke up in a swamp. What was supposed to be a weekend at Rock Fest, an annual bouldering event in Leavenworth, WA, was really more about chopping fire wood and...

May 14, 2019

Spring is a time of the year that gives me life. It's a cue for me to pull out my tent and check my sleeping pad for holes. My hiking boots still have dirt on them from last year. I see my camp stove and start to brainstorm future menus. And I can hear it from my 6th floor apartment. The walls are calling and I must go.

I have been on some awesome adventures already this Spring that I wish I had blogged about. To name a few big ones:

  • In mid-March, Elise...

February 21, 2019

For us in the Pacific Northwest, our winter looked like a straight dud of a season before taking a full 180° turn this February. However, stubborn high pressure ridges, statewide drought concerns, and ski season woes lingered from November through January with all fingers pointed at El Nino and climate change. The skiing, to me, had been okay so far. However, the bluebird days on the slopes were some of my favorite moments. And I got a chance to climb Mt. Hood for the first time just a few weeke...

January 15, 2019

Bluebird ski days are pretty rare for me. The last time I can remember skiing the slopes under blue skies was back in high school. However, this past weekend, my friends and I were gifted one of the most glorious days on the mountain with bright sunshine, calm winds, and semi-soft snow. 

I am now a huge fan of Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood, not only for their resident bear dog mascots, Bruno & Heidi, but their lift lines are short, the blue diamonds are plentiful, the main lodge is eerily majestic...

November 5, 2018

The Pacific Northwest got quite the streak of sunshine this October, pushing two solid weeks of blue skies and comfy high temps. It's likely that as you're reading this blog now, that sunshine is long gone and it's raining outside in Portland. However, the sunny span made for a perfect first trip to wild walls since I moved to Portland. As much as I love living in the metro, this was a much needed escape into the wilderness.

We left PDX on Friday and as the car ride hit i...

August 30, 2018

With summer coming to an end, and the trees outside already transitioning into their brighter jackets, I've been curious to take a deeper look into our potential El Nino winter. I've compiled some stats and seasonal forecasts for this coming winter's outlook. The NWS Climate Prediction Center works at the heart of all the forecasting and is currently predicting a 60% chance for an El Nino Fall (Sept.-Nov.) and a 70% chance of an El Nino winter. In other words, there is a favorable chance that we...

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Follow my thoughts, ideas, and adventures as I prepare to summit the tallest peaks in the Pacific Northwest.

Hello. I'm Kelley and I'm a bear.
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