I have been watching this thread and hoping to find time to add this post. Maybe I will be able to get it done this morning.
In the mid-1970's (the exact year eludes me) a group of four back country skiers led by Jerry Igo attempted to ski the Oregon PCT from Timberline Lodge in the north to Lake of the Woods in the south. As far as I know, the details of the trip remain unpublished. What I recount here is from memory of conversations with participants and Jerry's slide show presentation about the trip from 30 years ago, so please excuse me if I miss a detail or two.
The participants were Jerry (who was about 60 at the time and a trip leader and some-time wilderness skills instructor from the Portland, OR area), June Fleming (author of The Well Fed Backpacker and Staying Found: The Complete Map and Compass Handbook), Jerry's son and a young woman from back east whose names I have forgotten.
They began their trip from Timberline Lodge on about March 1. The theory was that most of the winter storms had passed and that the trip would be mostly spring type skiing conditions. I do not recall a great deal about their gear. They all four used Trak Bushwacker skis. These short, wide, metal-edged, fish-scale bottomed skis are no longer manufactured. I tried them out back then. They were a kind of compromise between skis and snowshoes.
The first week of the trip yielded anything but spring-like conditions as a series of cold fronts swept in from the Pacific dumping 5-7 feet of fresh snow in the mountains. Our intrepid trekkers survived this experience quite comfortably, but the going was quite slow. It was often necessary to take off packs, break trial, return for packs and so on.
The group had arranged for re-supply from a network of friends who would meet them at various points along the way. I was to be a member of their first resupply platoon, scheduled to meet with the group at a place called Pamelia Lake near Mt. Jefferson. Pamelia Lake is now a short detour off the official PCT, but I believe it was actually on the official PCT route (aka Oregon Skyline Trail} in those days.
After a few days of slogging through heavy snow, it became obvious to the Igo group that they would not make it to Pamelia Lake on schedule or anywhere close to it, so they bailed out down a power line cut and eventually made their way to Breitenbush Hotsprings (a resort -- not at Breitenbush lake) and met up with the winter caretaker and his broken two-way radio. The group was concerned that when their resupply got to Pamelia Lake and they failed to arrive an unnecessary rescue effort would ensue, so after a short rest they made their way afoot down logging roads toward the town of Detroit. They were eventually picked up by a wildlife photographer in a 4wd vehicle and ferried into town.
Meanwhile, the resupply crew, of which I was a member, was slogging up a snow covered road toward the Pamelia Lake trailhead when we were surprised to hear the roar of a V8 behind us. When the noise caught up with us Jerry jumped out of the bed of the 4wd pickup and regaled us with tales of the group's crazy week in the deep snow, snagged his resupply bag and went back to Detroit for a warm, dry motel night. The resuppliers re-grouped, discussed and decided to continue on to Pamelia Lake to spend the night, drink some Schnapps and sing some songs as the snow turned to rain.
The Igo group determined that avalanche conditions north of Santiam pass through the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness were too severe to warrant a traverse at that time so they arranged transport to Santiam Pass and continued south from there, skipping a segment of the PCT.
Once again, winter reasserted itself and the group arrived at McKenzie Pass in driving wind and very low temperatures. They were able to shelter themselves fairly well by erecting a tent inside the observatory there (a kind of lava rock hut with holes in the walls for viewing surrounding peaks); however, their stoves (Svea wick-type as I recall) were not adequate for the task of melting snow and rehydration became a problem. Once again, a long bail out to the town of Sisters ensued.
After an interlude in Sisters the group returned to McKenzie Pass and completed their trek to Lake of the Woods as conditions in the high country steadily improved. I recall seeing slides of group members skiing in shorts and T-shirts by the end of this trip.
I have pretty much lost touch with these characters over the years. Jerry Igo, who must be 90 by now, was alive and kicking as of a year or so ago residing in the Columbia River Gorge and regaling tourists aboard a river boat with tales of the woods, some of them probably even true. June Fleming is well last I heard and must be at least 39 by now ;-). Of the others I have no news.
I hope this account is useful to anyone planning an extended winter trip on the PCT and interesting, at least, to the rest of you who retain some portion of your sanity.