15
Mar
2014
jloomis

Frog Lake and Frog Lake Buttes Snowmobile Ride

I finished rebuilding the fuel injected engine (top end) on our 2008 Polaris 700 Dragon RMK Friday night. During the rebuild, I discovered the previous owner didn't use Loctite® on the exhaust valve guillotines and after we put just over 100 miles on the sled, they loosened up and started hitting the pistons causing the engine failure. A local dealer said the sled was basically junk without a repaired engine. They gave me an estimate of $1,500-$2,500, so I decided to tackle the project myself. It was my first time rebuilding an engine and I was ecstatic when I turned the key and she fired right up. Less then $500 later I was ready to take her back out in the snow.

Unfortunately Spring is here, but we found enough snow to ride in around Frog Lake. It is getting thin in the lower elevations, but above 5,000' there is still plenty of snow.

My friends John, Jordan, and I drove up to Frog Lake SnoPark arriving just before 7:30 AM. There was no one there but us. We unloaded the snowmobiles while waiting for John's friends, Mark and Carol, who were meeting us for a fun day of snowmobiling.

We first rode down the main trail behind Frog Lake campground (FSR 2610), but turned around several miles in where a large tree had recently fallen across the road, blocking the way. The snow was only a couple inches deep here with almost no snow off the trail in the trees.

Jordan in front of a freshly fallen tree across the trail     Snowmobiling near Frog Lake, Oregon

We decided to ride up to Frog Lake Buttes where the elevation tops out at almost 5,300'. About half way up we found another tree blocking the trail. This time it was small enough to cut with my handsaw.

There was tons of snow on the Buttes, so we played around for a while, weaving in and out of the trees. The rebuilt 700 Dragon RMK was running awesome! It sounded great, the engine temperature was perfect, and it had all the power it was supposed to. To top it all off, the weather was spectacular. I couldn't have asked for a better day or better company. John's friends Mark and Carol are great people. I am sure we will ride with them in the future.

We cut a tree blocking the trail to Frog Lake Buttes     Carol watching John take off up the hill

After playing around at the top of Frog Lake Buttes, we followed the narrow, steep trail down the backside to a open hill play area (near spur road 250). We had a blast riding up and down the hill.

John playing on his new Polaris 800 Pro RMK     Jordan having a blast on my new Polaris 800 Switchback Assault

While John, Carol, and I were taking a break to remove extra layers of clothing, we noticed Mark and Jordan where nowhere in sight. We couldn't hear their snowmobiles either. We waited for a bit and finally heard and then spotted Mark down at the bottom near the trees. We rode down to find him stuck in the trees, but Jordan wasn't with him. Then we heard Jordan off in the distance. While Carol and John were helping Mark, I rode off in search of Jordan and found him stuck deep in the softened snow. Soon everyone else came to help, but Mark got hung up on another tree. We got Jordan unstuck and then cut the tree Mark was stuck on. We thought all was well, but then as I was trying to turn back down hill, I got caught in a tree well and rolled my sled upside-down. Two more trees to cut and finally my sled was right-side-up again. What a fiasco. No one was hurt and we were all smiling afterwards.

Mark's snowmobile hung up on a tree     My upside-down snowmobile - oops!

Before heading back we headed over to Frog Lake to check it out. Until that point we hadn't seen another person all day. Everyone else must have been over at Skyline SnoPark for the poker run races.

Frog Lake was still mostly frozen, but had begun its Spring thaw. There were soft spots and when I walked out a little ways my feet started to sink into the slushy water. We decided it was safe enough to ride across and made several trips back and forth at wide open throttle. The 700 Dragon RMK was the fastest at 83 mph, but then again I was also the lightest rider.

Frozen Frog Lake with Mt Hood in the background     John riding across Frog Lake at about 80 mph

We had a spectacular day snowmobiling. It was warm and sunny and we found plenty of snow. Maybe we'll get lucky and get some fresh snow this week. Fingers crossed!

Gear List

2014 Polaris 800 Pro RMK Snowmobile
2013 Polaris 800 Switchback Assault Snowmobile
2008 Polaris 700 Dragon RMK Snowmobile
HMK Summit V16 Pack
GMAX GM76X Helmet
Smith Phenom Turbo Fan Goggles
Columbia Men’s Bugaboot Max Electric Boots
Columbia Men's Echochrome Ski Pants
Columbia Titanium Hightail II Softshell Jacket
Columbia Triple Trail Shell Jacket
Columbia Powerfly Down Puff Jacket
Head Digital Sport Liner Gloves
Outdoor Research Ambit Gloves
Columbia Men's Fast Trek Fleece Hat
Balaclava
Petzl TIKKA XP 2 Headlamp
Olympus Tough TG-1 Camera
Sony Action Cam HDR-AS30V
Lifeline Aluminum Sport Utility Snow Shovel
First Aid Kit
iPhone w/NeoTreksGPS
Suunto A-10 Compass

Category: 

Post new comment

Disclaimer: You are responsible for informing yourself of the hazards of backcountry travel and taking the necessary precautions. Loomis Adventures may not be held liable.