If you're looking for snow conditions in the Wallowa Mountains then look no further than the new Wallowa Avalanche Center. This nonprofit organization of local folks fills an important gap of knowledge--there's no official avalanche advisory, forecast or prediction that covers the Wallowa Mountains of Northeastern Oregon. But the Wallowa Avalanche Center staff and its qualified contributors provide their own observations so you, the winter outdoor adventure person, can make you own decisions about safe travel in the Wallowa Mountains.
And there's a treasure trove of information on this website. You can learn about current snow conditions and see some excellent photography of the Wallowa Mountains. Information about upcoming Avalanche Awareness courses. Local weather conditions. And there's a public forum.
On Sunday, Jan 31st, "Julian" posted a report of conditions at Aneroid Lake (above Wallowa Lake):
"We skied into Aneroid on Saturday and found some great snow conditions. We hiked up the service road to the diversion dam which is very icy under a thin layer of snow. I used some light-weight running shoe crampons on by ski boots and that seemed to help a lot! We were able to put our skis on at about 5500 feet elevation, about a 1/2 mile or so below the bridge. Our skin track from last week was still visible, though it didn't look as if anyone else had used it. The trail above the dam has good snow cover, except for a couple of spots where it crosses a small side creek. You will have to navigate over a couple of down trees as well, but they don't present any major problems. Above about 6600 feet the trail snow coverage is great along the trail. Although temperatures have reached the low 40's during the day at the SNOTEL, we did not see any significant crusting action. In the meadow below Aneroid Lake we measured snow depths in several places and found numbers ranging from 90 to 150 cm. From the meadow we climbed south easterly up the ridge that sits just to the east of the lake. We climbed up to about 7800 feet and dug a snow pit where the total depth was about 165 cm. Keith will report more on the the snow pit information later in the week, but suffice it to say, there was nothing too startling to report! The profile was consistent with what we have been seeing elsewhere."
(Don't confuse a Snotel with a Hotel as there's definitely a difference!)
Now and then we have winter guests here at our Eastern Oregon bed and breakfast who are looking for some outdoor activity: backcountry skiing, snowshoeing, or snowmobiling. Information from the Wallowa Avalanche Center is a wonderful resource even if you're not going to pack in for an overnight stay in the Wallowa Mountains.
If you're planning a winter Eastern Oregon vacation, check out the Wallowa Avalanche Center's website in addition to calling us!