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#1100307 - 03/11/13 09:18 PM [TR] Three Fingers - east face couloir 3/9/2013
danhelmstadter Offline
addicted to cc.com

Registered: 08/22/07
Posts: 409
TRs: 88 Photos: 22
Loc: pnw
Trip: Three Fingers - east face couloir

Date: 3/9/2013

Trip Report:
On days when it's not raining, There's a great view of Three Fingers from eastbound 20 out of Anacortes. Sometime recently I made that drive on one of those days when the sky is fine art. Cool cloud formations and late afternoon sun hit the mountain just right, and got me thinking about going up there for a closer look.

The approach went well, the bush'wackin wasn't very grim, and I made it to my bivy spot by a boulder near the foot of the slope below the east face with time left to kill.

I started my ascent in the dark hours of the morning, and soon my decision to leave skins behind became a nagging regret. The snow went from supportable easy going, to variable knee deep, but with a few healthy curses I made it to the base of the couloir before the sun started really cooking the wall above. Conditions made for slow going up the couloir. To make it easier, I followed the edge of a runnel that hugged climbers right. I kept my head up as much as possible to watch for big sh*t, there was debris coming down everywhere. Most of it small, but I did get bashed a couple times.

The couloir topped out on a high shoulder, and I continued up moderating slopes towards the middle summit. The snow was much different above the shoulder, about a foot of consolidated cold snow overlay an ice crust. The entire ridge line was corniced except for a little notch just right of the rimmed summit nub. I aimed for that notch. I was about about 20 feet below it when I felt and heard a sickening WUMPH. No slab cut out, but It was a clear indication of instability in those final feet below the ridge, and the consequences were high. I backed off a few steps and clicked on the skis.

Ski conditions were good, the slight double fall line nature of the couloir naturally managed my sluff. Timing seemed about right since the sun had softened up the icy parts, and left the couloir just after I skied it, I suppose I could have got started a little earlier to help avoid the ice/rockfall on the climb.


100_2229 by danhelmstadter, on Flickr

Stoked about my new crampons from Jim's shop.

100_2226 by danhelmstadter, on Flickr

John Scurlock photo

John Scurlock image by danhelmstadter, on Flickr

climbing above shoulder

shoulder by danhelmstadter, on Flickr


100_2243 by danhelmstadter, on Flickr


100_2254 by danhelmstadter, on Flickr

morning sunhit

morninglight by danhelmstadter, on Flickr


100_2228 by danhelmstadter, on Flickr




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#1100317 - 03/11/13 10:51 PM Re: [TR] Three Fingers - east face couloir 3/9/2013 [Re: danhelmstadter]
The Cascade Kid Offline
member

Registered: 05/21/09
Posts: 140
TRs: 16 Photos: 59
Loc: Portland, OR
the photo with your skis in it made me poop myself a little bit.
_________________________
"Only acts undertaken with commitment have meaning". -MFT
http://www.mountainlessons.com

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#1100320 - 03/11/13 11:21 PM Re: [TR] Three Fingers - east face couloir 3/9/2013 [Re: danhelmstadter]
gorp Offline
stranger

Registered: 04/21/07
Posts: 9
TRs: 0 Photos: 1
Bravo! A few friends and I skied half of the couloir in January after being turned around a couple weeks prior due to debris falling from the East Face. Deep snow turned us back midway up the couloir the second time. Both times we tried to do it in a single push, approaching during the night. We resolved to return and make it a two day trip. By chance, my buddy then met a fellow that spends a lot of time in the Squire Creek valley who mentioned that he once ran into a solo skier out there that had just skied it.

Way to execute. Impressive work once again!

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#1100334 - 03/12/13 07:13 AM Re: [TR] Three Fingers - east face couloir 3/9/2013 [Re: danhelmstadter]
JensHolsten Offline
member

Registered: 12/17/03
Posts: 186
TRs: 2 Photos: 8
Hell yeah Dan!

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#1100335 - 03/12/13 07:30 AM Re: [TR] Three Fingers - east face couloir 3/9/2013 [Re: danhelmstadter]
ryanl Offline
member

Registered: 05/31/05
Posts: 176
TRs: 19 Photos: 424
Loc: shoreline
Those 'pons are SICK!

Nice one Dan. Glad you got it.

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#1100338 - 03/12/13 08:01 AM Re: [TR] Three Fingers - east face couloir 3/9/2013 [Re: danhelmstadter]
kevino Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/24/07
Posts: 1724
TRs: 29 Photos: 57
Loc: soon to be montana
Are those the new Minute Maid fruit punch crampons I have been hearing about???

Nice work Dan.

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#1100346 - 03/12/13 09:04 AM Re: [TR] Three Fingers - east face couloir 3/9/2013 [Re: danhelmstadter]
telemarker Offline
veteran

Registered: 09/17/01
Posts: 1523
TRs: 68 Photos: 1006
Loc: Wenatchee, WA U.S.A
Nice knab Dan! Next time take your ice tools and beefy crampons and climb the NE Face first.
_________________________
"God gave you two eyes, two ears and one mouth. Use each in proportion."

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#1100424 - 03/12/13 06:46 PM Re: [TR] Three Fingers - east face couloir 3/9/2013 [Re: danhelmstadter]
crazedmaniac Offline
journeyman

Registered: 11/12/05
Posts: 78
TRs: 0 Photos: 29
Loc: n.w. washington
sooo, you skied the east face down??? The 45deg. couloir? what about right above the big boulder in the basin, AND DIRECTLY BELOW THE EXIT OF THE 45 DEG.? ..(used to be called big boulder basin in the late 50,s & 60-90,s...)
WOW, way to go for it!!!!! i have spent a lot of time (days&nights) on the rock, on the N.east face... WALL OF DEATH!
_________________________
I'm never there
all ways
just arriving

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#1100425 - 03/12/13 06:49 PM Re: [TR] Three Fingers - east face couloir 3/9/2013 [Re: danhelmstadter]
wayne Offline
spray'prentice

Registered: 05/14/01
Posts: 3422
TRs: 60 Photos: 590
Loc: Seattle!
Impressive as always, Dan.
_________________________
http://waynewallace.wordpress.com/

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#1100481 - 03/13/13 09:34 AM Re: [TR] Three Fingers - east face couloir 3/9/2013 [Re: danhelmstadter]
dberdinka Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/29/00
Posts: 2094
TRs: 39 Photos: 570
Loc: Bellingham
Nice work. Glad you didn't get creamed by all the junk that falls off that face in the sunlight. Maybe Chris can spin some yarns here about trying to climb that wall BITD.
_________________________
You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm!

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#1100509 - 03/13/13 11:37 AM Re: [TR] Three Fingers - east face couloir 3/9/2013 [Re: crazedmaniac]
John Frieh Offline
sprayer

Registered: 11/08/03
Posts: 6192
TRs: 52 Photos: 1185
Loc: PDX
Nice work Dan.

Originally Posted By: crazedmaniac
the N.east face... WALL OF DEATH!


laf tup DEATH!

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#1100511 - 03/13/13 11:38 AM Re: [TR] Three Fingers - east face couloir 3/9/2013 [Re: danhelmstadter]
Verticolorful Offline
journeyman

Registered: 03/07/11
Posts: 51
TRs: 10 Photos: 176
Loc: Leavenworth, Wa
sick photos! and sick trip!
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#1100522 - 03/13/13 01:11 PM Re: [TR] Three Fingers - east face couloir 3/9/2013 [Re: John Frieh]
Tyson.g Offline
old hand

Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 981
TRs: 7 Photos: 133
Loc: Bellingham
Originally Posted By: John Frieh
Nice work Dan.


x2

You could have left it at that Frieh.......thanks for the reminder of your trip.
_________________________

Please note I am posting this as a joke.


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#1100528 - 03/13/13 01:31 PM Re: [TR] Three Fingers - east face couloir 3/9/2013 [Re: danhelmstadter]
genepires Offline
spray'prentice

Registered: 06/27/01
Posts: 3435
TRs: 8 Photos: 59
Loc: monroe-ville
N face of Eiger is the "wall of death" even though it has been speed climbed several times. what qualifies as a "wall of death"?

vegas odds are in favor of Dan skiing the n face eiger.


Edited by genepires (03/13/13 01:35 PM)
_________________________
climbing is good enough for a lifetime but a lifetime is not good enough for climbing.

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#1100531 - 03/13/13 01:37 PM Re: [TR] Three Fingers - east face couloir 3/9/2013 [Re: genepires]
lunger Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 365
TRs: 12 Photos: 131
Loc: see atoll
i do believe the wall of death in this case is the east face that drops from the true summit of 3 fingies, not the aspect a bit further north that dave and john climbed. not to take anything away from your fine effort, but the AFAIK unclimbed wall o'death is a deeper problem to be solved. a bottle the soul to take that thing directly.

as always, way to slay himmelstrafer.

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#1100580 - 03/13/13 08:34 PM Re: [TR] Three Fingers - east face couloir 3/9/2013 [Re: danhelmstadter]
genepires Offline
spray'prentice

Registered: 06/27/01
Posts: 3435
TRs: 8 Photos: 59
Loc: monroe-ville
any wall of death can be slain by judicious amounts of bolts. murdering the impossible, one bolt at a time.
_________________________
climbing is good enough for a lifetime but a lifetime is not good enough for climbing.

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#1100590 - 03/13/13 09:52 PM Re: [TR] Three Fingers - east face couloir 3/9/2013 [Re: danhelmstadter]
lunger Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 365
TRs: 12 Photos: 131
Loc: see atoll
death to death! but w/ balls not bolts.

well ok, maybe one or two placed on lead, but only if absolutely necessary. uh oh, boltstorm brewing

sorry dan, back to your badass skiing already in progress.

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#1100600 - 03/14/13 06:42 AM Re: [TR] Three Fingers - east face couloir 3/9/2013 [Re: lunger]
Feck Online   happy

Spray Master

Registered: 11/08/00
Posts: 11211
TRs: 67 Photos: 897
Loc: Seattle, WA
Please keep bolting debates out of Freshiez wave

Awesome ski Dan tup
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#1100602 - 03/14/13 07:12 AM Re: [TR] Three Fingers - east face couloir 3/9/2013 [Re: Feck]
tvashtarkatena Offline
Sick Spray Bird

Registered: 09/25/06
Posts: 19139
TRs: 99 Photos: 16
Loc: ked Down
Dan Helmsadter: quietly awesome.
_________________________
All things to all people, all the time.

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#1100612 - 03/14/13 08:51 AM Re: [TR] Three Fingers - east face couloir 3/9/2013 [Re: Tyson.g]
Pete_H Offline
spray'prentice

Registered: 04/20/09
Posts: 2521
TRs: 7 Photos: 186
Loc: Der
Originally Posted By: Tyson.g
Originally Posted By: John Frieh
Nice work Dan.


x2

You could have left it at that Frieh.......thanks for the reminder of your trip.


grlaf Some things just don't change.


... Nice work Dan! Looking forward to getting after it with you soon!

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#1100614 - 03/14/13 09:41 AM Re: [TR] Three Fingers - east face couloir 3/9/2013 [Re: Pete_H]
Sol Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/24/03
Posts: 1639
TRs: 30 Photos: 401
Loc: leavenworth
rocken

that shot of your ski tips is sick! beautiful as ever dan, hope to see you around these parts soon..

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#1100643 - 03/14/13 03:23 PM Re: [TR] Three Fingers - east face couloir 3/9/2013 [Re: Sol]
climbaround Offline
journeyman

Registered: 06/11/03
Posts: 82
TRs: 12 Photos: 63
Loc: Lake Stevens
Great work! Thanks for the TR

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#1100740 - 03/16/13 03:43 AM Re: [TR] Three Fingers - east face couloir 3/9/2013 [Re: John Frieh]
JoshK Offline
sprayer

Registered: 07/09/02
Posts: 5960
TRs: 27 Photos: 237
Loc: Seattle
Nothing cooler than using somebody else's TR to cross-post a link to your own. wazup lmao So amusingly self absorbed.

F'in awesman Dan! Coleman was over today and we were discussing this latest foray of yours. As usual the very thought of it makes my nuts retract smile

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#1100753 - 03/16/13 12:15 PM Re: [TR] Three Fingers - east face couloir 3/9/2013 [Re: danhelmstadter]
ivan Offline
Sick Spray Bird

Registered: 03/12/02
Posts: 15410
TRs: 111 Photos: 1635
Loc: Oceania
i see it as no sin to cross link one fine tr to another smile
_________________________
Ignorance is Strength
War is Peace
Freedom is Slavery

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#1100755 - 03/16/13 12:54 PM Re: [TR] Three Fingers - east face couloir 3/9/2013 [Re: danhelmstadter]
Pete_H Offline
spray'prentice

Registered: 04/20/09
Posts: 2521
TRs: 7 Photos: 186
Loc: Der
Unless you do it to show how cool you think you are.

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