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#1097842 - 02/12/13 09:12 PM [TR] Distal Phalanx - Busted Distal Bicep Couloir 2/10/2013
danhelmstadter Offline
addicted to cc.com

Registered: 08/22/07
Posts: 409
TRs: 88 Photos: 22
Loc: pnw
Trip: Distal Phalanx - Busted Distal Bicep Couloir

Date: 2/10/2013

Trip Report:
I woke in the bed of my truck five minutes before my alarm went off bleary eyed to headlights from an approaching car around the bend of highway 20 near it's west side winter closure. At that hour of morning it could only be my friends Ryan and Eric who had already been up and driving for hours.

It didn't take very long before we found ourselves scrambling in the dark up steep muddy embankments and unpredictably punching through the shallow rotten snow in the bush of Colonial Creek. We reached it's headwaters at the crack of dawn, welcoming open blue skies and deepish light snow. At one point on our upwards zigzagging, I caused a snow bridge spanning a large glide crack to loudly fail just by getting too close.

From a col high on Colonial, we looked far across the Neve drainage to the beautiful couloir on Distal Phalanx that was our ski objective. By that time, it seemed doubtful we'd make it since the day was already getting old. We talked about our options, and changed our minds several times. The difficult conditions and amount of elevation gained had ate up a lot of time, and we knew we would be setting ourselves up for an epic by continuing towards Distal Phalanx. Still collectively undecided, Ryan said something about epic days being memorable, the logic seemed right, the beautiful an slightly scary view of the couloir on such a bluebird windless afternoon seemed to call us at that moment of indecision, and we dropped down to the valley towards the Distal Phalanx with smiles.

We alternated trail breaking up the deep snow in the couloir, dodged a couple ice chunks, found some wind affected snow, and topped out to find the sun low and red on the horizon. I was last to drop in, and triggered a slab after just a few turns. Eric and Ryan were in safe zones on the side of the couloir as the lanch trucked past them. It got dark quickly and we skied the lower section with headlamps. Hours of skinning back up to the col under starlight followed.

We got a bit turned around high on the Colonial/Neve/Paul Bunion's Stump massif, but found the way with not too much sweat, and skied mostly enjoyable powder down through a developing marine layer to Colonial Creek. We milked what we could of the deproach through the woods on skis, we had to pack the skis when it got too patchy and clustered with deadfall to ski. We still had a ways to go. The snow was rotten in spots so every 20 steps or so, one of us would unpredictably punch through, with unseen hazards below, and we were sidehilling next to the creek which was steep in places. Somewhere near our creek crossing Ryan took an unlucky digger from punching through the shitty rotten snow in a bad spot, and hurt his arm. His bicep looked weird and he couldn't bring his forearm up very far. Ryan is one tough dude, I could hardly tell he was injured as we made our way out, even though I knew he was in pain. Eric and Ryan drove back to Seattle that night. I just heard from Ryan that his Distal Bicep tendon is torn.

In all we gained 11,000+ feet of elevation and took 22.5 hours car to car. It seems that there are several approach options, and in 20/20 hindsight, it is clear that we chose an approach that given the conditions we found, may have not have been ideal.

I didn't take many pictures, and this one below is courtesy of Ryan. The Busted Distal Bicep Couloir is in the distance.


Ryan Lurie Image by danhelmstadter, on Flickr


climbing by danhelmstadter, on Flickr


lateday topout by danhelmstadter, on Flickr


100_2161 by danhelmstadter, on Flickr


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#1097845 - 02/12/13 09:36 PM Re: [TR] Distal Phalanx - Busted Distal Bicep Couloir 2/10/2013 [Re: danhelmstadter]
JasonG Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 10/12/00
Posts: 1786
TRs: 74 Photos: 1068
Loc: Mount Vernon
I can't even comprehend how incredible that is. All I know is that is a crazy amount of terrain to cover in a "day". Amazing, as usual, Dan and Co.!
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#1097857 - 02/13/13 06:29 AM Re: [TR] Distal Phalanx - Busted Distal Bicep Couloir 2/10/2013 [Re: danhelmstadter]
kevino Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/24/07
Posts: 1720
TRs: 28 Photos: 57
Loc: soon to be montana
Solid work Dan. Makes my couloir from the weekend feel insignificant!

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#1097868 - 02/13/13 08:48 AM Re: [TR] Distal Phalanx - Busted Distal Bicep Couloir 2/10/2013 [Re: danhelmstadter]
ryanl Offline
member

Registered: 05/31/05
Posts: 175
TRs: 19 Photos: 424
Loc: shoreline
Nice write up Dan. You forgot to mention our mantra, the one we first voiced at the Colonial Col while discussing whether or not to commit to skiing out in the middle of the night.

"Plotz would do it."

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#1097871 - 02/13/13 09:03 AM Re: [TR] Distal Phalanx - Busted Distal Bicep Couloir 2/10/2013 [Re: kevino]
Stefan Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/16/01
Posts: 2167
TRs: 7 Photos: 9
Loc: the circus
wicked effort. thanks for never inviting me. I think I would only last 2minutes with your effort.
_________________________
Namaste - Whatever your outer appearance, I see and greet the soul in you.

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#1097882 - 02/13/13 09:49 AM Re: [TR] Distal Phalanx - Busted Distal Bicep Couloir 2/10/2013 [Re: danhelmstadter]
Tyson.g Offline
old hand

Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 980
TRs: 7 Photos: 133
Loc: Bellingham
Way rad Dan and Co. !
Can you boys bottle me up some of that drive and well ability too?

tup way up!
_________________________

Please note I am posting this as a joke.


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#1097885 - 02/13/13 10:01 AM Re: [TR] Distal Phalanx - Busted Distal Bicep Couloir 2/10/2013 [Re: ryanl]
telemarker Offline
veteran

Registered: 09/17/01
Posts: 1515
TRs: 67 Photos: 1000
Loc: Wenatchee, WA U.S.A
Originally Posted By: ryanl
Nice write up Dan. You forgot to mention our mantra, the one we first voiced at the Colonial Col while discussing whether or not to commit to skiing out in the middle of the night.

"Plotz would do it."



This made me laugh.

The varsity squad sends again! You guys inspire. Now I want to ski something again. In daylight and warm temps.

Heal up Ryan, although I think you can still climb with a messed up bicep, no?
_________________________
"God gave you two eyes, two ears and one mouth. Use each in proportion."

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#1097897 - 02/13/13 12:42 PM Re: [TR] Distal Phalanx - Busted Distal Bicep Couloir 2/10/2013 [Re: danhelmstadter]
John Frieh Offline
sprayer

Registered: 11/08/03
Posts: 6192
TRs: 52 Photos: 1185
Loc: PDX
Sonabitch. Glad to see someone else was brave enough to venture back there. Well done boys

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#1097900 - 02/13/13 12:54 PM Re: [TR] Distal Phalanx - Busted Distal Bicep Couloir 2/10/2013 [Re: danhelmstadter]
pete_a Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 11/15/00
Posts: 373
TRs: 0 Photos: 114
Loc: west seattle
wow! you guys never cease to amaze with these marathon trips!

(do y'all really hate carrying a tent and sleeping bag that much? ...just kidding)

Ryan, hope your arm heals up quickly.

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#1097921 - 02/13/13 04:04 PM Re: [TR] Distal Phalanx - Busted Distal Bicep Couloir 2/10/2013 [Re: pete_a]
Z-Man Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 11/20/02
Posts: 242
TRs: 24 Photos: 1311
Loc: Vancouver, WA
Ahh sweetness, ryan you are unstoppable. Are you going to get it repaired?

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#1097985 - 02/14/13 12:44 PM Re: [TR] Distal Phalanx - Busted Distal Bicep Couloir 2/10/2013 [Re: Z-Man]
ryanl Offline
member

Registered: 05/31/05
Posts: 175
TRs: 19 Photos: 424
Loc: shoreline
Originally Posted By: Z-Man
Are you going to get it repaired?


Yeah, I'm getting surgery. If anyone has any experience with distal bicep tendon repair, I'm all ears.

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#1098303 - 02/17/13 02:28 PM Re: [TR] Distal Phalanx - Busted Distal Bicep Couloir 2/10/2013 [Re: danhelmstadter]
lunger Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 364
TRs: 12 Photos: 131
Loc: see atoll
Took some mojo to finish the more heinous part of the deproach w/ a busted arm. Heal well and quickly, hard core.

holy frijoles that was a great trip. hard to beat skiing powder in a steep couloir in a spectacular area. Found a moment to upload some pics here.

A sample: one from the approach, looking west from near the 7000+' col on Colonial W shoulder, w/ Mt Baker, Bunyan's stump, Pinnacle, Pyramid, Luna all laid out.



and from high in the couloir (across the valley you can see the col on Colonial's west flank that we came over, right above that long mellow "approach couloir" that drops down to Neve creek--recommended for future interested parties):


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#1098304 - 02/17/13 02:57 PM Re: [TR] Distal Phalanx - Busted Distal Bicep Couloir 2/10/2013 [Re: danhelmstadter]
spionin Offline
the reverend

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 470
TRs: 26 Photos: 443
Loc: seattle, wa
Originally Posted By: danhelmstadter



yo ryan. sorry to hear about the bicep. but man, gingerbread man called!... that is SOME outfit! smile
_________________________
mountain softwoman

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#1098314 - 02/17/13 07:18 PM Re: [TR] Distal Phalanx - Busted Distal Bicep Couloir 2/10/2013 [Re: ryanl]
Dane Offline
spray'prentice

Registered: 01/11/03
Posts: 3097
TRs: 12 Photos: 138
Loc: Issaquah
Nice trip guys!

Originally Posted By: ryanl

Yeah, I'm getting surgery. If anyone has any experience with distal bicep tendon repair, I'm all ears.


I had complete distal detaches on both right and left, and surgery on both in the last couple of years. PM me if you have any questions. The Surgeon is really, really important. Neil Roberts locally is the guy you want. Hopefully you have already doen this. But, sooner the better, on the surgery if they haven't told you that yet.
_________________________
www.coldthistle.blogspot.com

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