Tag Archives: Wallowa Mountains

April 9, 2018 Sahale Glacier Camp, North Cascades National Park

Tent Flap With A View: 25 Favorite Backcountry Campsites

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By Michael Lanza

An unforgettable campsite can define a backcountry trip. Sometimes that perfect spot where you spend a night forges the memory that remains the most vivid long after you’ve gone home. A photo of that camp can send recollections of the entire adventure rushing back to you—it does for me. I’ve been very fortunate to have pitched a tent in many great backcountry campsites over nearly three decades of backpacking and trekking all over the U.S. and the world. I’ve boiled the list of my favorite spots down to these 25.

I update this list every year, and each time, it becomes more difficult. This year, I’m adding a campsite in Titcomb Basin, in the heart of Wyoming’s majestic Wind River Range. Below my top 25 list you’ll find a second list of campsites that were previously in my top 25. Each campsite photo below includes a short description of where it is and the trip, and most have a link to an existing story about that trip at The Big Outside. Continue reading →

March 16, 2016 Mirror Lake, Lakes Basin, Eagle Cap Wilderness, Oregon.

Great Trip: Backpacking Oregon’s Eagle Cap Wilderness

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By Michael Lanza

Forget for a moment where you are while hiking in the Eagle Cap Wilderness, and you might look around and mistake the sharply angled, granite peaks and crystal-clear lakes for the High Sierra. But in the Eagle Cap, which occupies a big chunk of the Wallowa Mountains of northeastern Oregon, you won’t find the Sierra’s crowds (except in a few, popular corners like the Lakes Basin on nice summer weekends) or competition for backcountry permits. Load up your backpack and explore these mountains for a long weekend or a week in summer or early fall to explore this place with a backpack. Continue reading →

January 16, 2014 Skiing off the back side of Clipper Gap, above Norway Basin in Oregon's Wallowa Mountains.

Featured Photo Gallery: Backcountry Skiing Oregon’s Wallowa Mountains

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By Michael Lanza

After a ski guide friend repeatedly e-mailed several of us photos of the snow-plastered, jagged mountains of Norway Basin in the Eagle Cap Wilderness of Oregon’s Wallowa Mountains, we had to go explore this place ourselves. By that first night in the Norway Basin yurt, we had decided to return again the next winter. Check out this photo gallery of some select shots from that trip; whether you’re a backcountry skier, snowshoer, or neither, you can’t help but be awed by these remote peaks. Then see my full story about that trip for more photos, a video, and tips on planning it. Continue reading →

September 26, 2013 Mirror Lake, Eagle Cap Wilderness, Oregon.

Learning the Hard Way: Backpacking Oregon’s Eagle Cap Wilderness

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By Michael Lanza

Just as I reach the 9,572-foot summit of Eagle Cap, the first thunderclaps boom so close that I feel them in my ribs. The rain follows within minutes, catching me dashing down off the summit—and not just to avoid being charbroiled by a lightning bolt, though that prospect is on my mind. But mostly I’m thinking about the fact that my son forgot all of his outer layers—rain jacket, fleece jacket, and wool hat—on this backpacking trip. And somewhere below me, my family is hiking through this cold, windy downpour right now. Continue reading →

January 11, 2012

Bottomless Powder, Big Ski Lines in Oregon’s Wallowa Mountains

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By Michael Lanza

We reach a high saddle between two peaks, where the wind has sculpted the snow into stationary, perpetually cresting waves several feet high. Treeless slopes of clean, untracked powder fall away beneath us. Our group of several friends and a few guides have been climbing uphill in this remote corner of northeast Oregon’s Wallowa Mountains for more than two hours, ascending some 3,000 vertical feet under a clear, ice-blue winter sky, amid scenery that looks like a post card from an Alpine resort, but without the ski lifts and quaint villages. Continue reading →