“A multi-day ski traverse in the heart of one of the West's least known ski traverses.
— Sam Finch
Type: Backcountry or Sidecountry
Federal wilderness regulations apply.
This a great traverse with even greater potential. Little information exists about accessing or skiing the area in the winter, which is why it is such a great place to go.
Start in either Halfway, OR or Joseph, OR. Follow summer trails while below tree line to avoid having to navigate dense forests; get a good map or GPS file of these trails as they are hard to find in the winter. Good campsites for a four or five-day trip can be found in Norway Basin, along the South Fork Imnaha River, along the North Fork Imnaha River, and at Aneroid Basin (there is a three-sided lean-to shelter with firewood).
The skiing is best in Norway Basin, above the North Fork Imnaha river, and in Aneroid Basin.
Crossing the South Fork and North Fork Imnaha River can be treacherous. Take your time to find a low consequence crossing. While navigating trails, look for marking tape indicating the path of the trail.
It can be bitterly cold and windy in the Wallowas. Be prepared for continental snowpacks, wind loading, and persistent weak layers in the snowpack.
Dont forget to bring whisky and have fun. Keep and eye out for wolves, wolverine, and mountain goats.
Pro Tip: If you start in Cornucopia, OR, contact the local guiding service or snowmobile club for a tow up the 6 miles of Forest Service road to the Cornucopia Lodge.