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#1101412 - 03/27/13 08:55 PM [TR] Big Four - north face 3/25/2013
danhelmstadter Offline
addicted to

Registered: 08/22/07
Posts: 409
TRs: 88 Photos: 22
Loc: pnw
Trip: Big Four - north face

Date: 3/25/2013

Trip Report:
Eric and I left Sunday afternoon and bivied near the ice caves at the base of Big4. We got there just as the sun was leaving. I hadn't seen that part of the Mountain Loop before, and was in awe of the impressive face above. Ski conditions looked questionably thin in many places on the face, I think we both thought that our planned effort was likely going to result in us turning back from poor conditions, but we did have a light rack and thin rope to deal with minor shenanigans if need be.

Early in the morning we started up through a tricky cliff band next to a resonant waterfall. The climbing involved some monkeying around on vegetation since there was a lot of rotten snow over rock. Once above, we traversed a broad sloping bench to gain the central rib. The rib held knee+ deep unconsolidated pow. The going was slow, and we alternated skins and booting.

From the road, there looked to be a few potential options on the face. We climbed up with those options in mind, and let the conditions dictate our direction. We ended up making an unplanned climbers left traverse then up a right trending icy gully to easier ground that led to the summit.

The skiing was great. We found some variable and ice in spots, but there was also a lot of powder. The rib especially held amazing quality snow and really fun featured terrain.

We didn't want to exit the face via the waterfall cliff band we had climbed up, so we traversed left, but missed the snow exit and ended up making a short rap off a tree.

our line on big four by danhelmstadter, on Flickr

100_2367 by danhelmstadter, on Flickr

bigfour by danhelmstadter, on Flickr

100_2392 by danhelmstadter, on Flickr

100_2398 by danhelmstadter, on Flickr

100_2403 by danhelmstadter, on Flickr

100_2408 by danhelmstadter, on Flickr

variable conditions in steep trees by danhelmstadter, on Flickr

steep trees by danhelmstadter, on Flickr

100_2426 by danhelmstadter, on Flickr

100_2419 by danhelmstadter, on Flickr

bigfourtwo by danhelmstadter, on Flickr

#1101416 - 03/27/13 09:07 PM Re: [TR] Big Four - north face 3/25/2013 [Re: danhelmstadter]
JasonG Offline

Registered: 10/12/00
Posts: 1794
TRs: 74 Photos: 1068
Loc: Mount Vernon
Casey told me about this adventure a few days ago, and I couldn't wait for the TR! Just when I thought a face was safe from being skied, you guys went and expanded the possibilities yet again. Amazingly strong work!

#1101417 - 03/27/13 09:09 PM Re: [TR] Big Four - north face 3/25/2013 [Re: danhelmstadter]
Tyson.g Offline
old hand

Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 980
TRs: 7 Photos: 133
Loc: Bellingham
What is there to say except tup
Another nice one Dan.

Please note I am posting this as a joke.

#1101425 - 03/27/13 11:51 PM Re: [TR] Big Four - north face 3/25/2013 [Re: Tyson.g]
JoshK Offline

Registered: 07/09/02
Posts: 5960
TRs: 27 Photos: 237
Loc: Seattle
In the words of my dearly departed friend..."Jesus Tits, Moses Malone, and all twelve disciples!!!"

You guys are f'in the best way possible. A couple of the pics look to border on reasonable for us mortals, but then ones like #s 3,4,5 basically make me piss myself. laugh

Stay safe, and keep doing your thing, gentlemen!

rocken brew moondance

#1101429 - 03/28/13 06:24 AM Re: [TR] Big Four - north face 3/25/2013 [Re: danhelmstadter]
genepires Offline

Registered: 06/27/01
Posts: 3426
TRs: 8 Photos: 59
Loc: monroe-ville
un-f'in-believable. Dan skiis where I fear to go in boots.

I will just stay here and play with my Barbie dolls and GI Joes.
climbing is good enough for a lifetime but a lifetime is not good enough for climbing.

#1101433 - 03/28/13 07:57 AM Re: [TR] Big Four - north face 3/25/2013 [Re: danhelmstadter]
mountainsloth Offline
old hand

Registered: 01/03/07
Posts: 759
TRs: 25 Photos: 568
Loc: Seatte, WA
rad! i knew this one would go down by your skis!

#1101443 - 03/28/13 09:23 AM Re: [TR] Big Four - north face 3/25/2013 [Re: mountainsloth]
Stefan Offline

Registered: 04/16/01
Posts: 2167
TRs: 7 Photos: 9
Loc: the circus
wowza. another crazy person with dan.
Namaste - Whatever your outer appearance, I see and greet the soul in you.

#1101446 - 03/28/13 09:57 AM Re: [TR] Big Four - north face 3/25/2013 [Re: danhelmstadter]
Bronco Offline

Registered: 02/16/01
Posts: 3322
TRs: 11 Photos: 77
Loc: Port Gardner, WA
Love your writing/reporting Dan, humility is a rare commodity these days and it's refreshing to see.

That is a respectable climb and sick point sick on the sickter scale decent! tup

#1101453 - 03/28/13 11:41 AM Re: [TR] Big Four - north face 3/25/2013 [Re: danhelmstadter]
crazedmaniac Offline

Registered: 11/12/05
Posts: 78
TRs: 0 Photos: 29
Loc: n.w. washington
Seems to me you might want to be investing in a parachute, if you are to keep this kinda 'above the huge cliffs' skiing going ... Ive spent plenty of cold winter days on the ice above em, and the cliffs below were always a factor on our minds, with crampons on .. NOT SKIS...
AGAIN ... WOW!!!
you have one of those gopro wide angle camera yet ????

Edited by crazedmaniac (03/28/13 11:42 AM)
I'm never there
all ways
just arriving

#1101482 - 03/28/13 08:05 PM Re: [TR] Big Four - north face 3/25/2013 [Re: danhelmstadter]
JBo6 Offline

Registered: 05/06/07
Posts: 294
TRs: 0 Photos: 0
Loc: Bellingham
I was talking with a buddy about what to ski a couple of weekends ago, and I believe the NF of Big 4 was mentioned. If I remember right it was mentioned along with somethings off of Index and the Willis Wall. And none of those were serious. Looking at your Trip Reports are one of my favorite things on this website.

#1101489 - 03/28/13 09:42 PM Re: [TR] Big Four - north face 3/25/2013 [Re: JBo6]
dberdinka Offline

Registered: 11/29/00
Posts: 2090
TRs: 39 Photos: 569
Loc: Bellingham
Skinning up the north face of Big Four?! Wow! You guys are kind of a big deal!

Edited by dberdinka (03/28/13 09:43 PM)
Edit Reason: No sarcasm intended. Thats truly another realm.
You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm!

#1101493 - 03/28/13 10:11 PM Re: [TR] Big Four - north face 3/25/2013 [Re: danhelmstadter]
denalidave Offline

Registered: 08/14/06
Posts: 4038
TRs: 3 Photos: 665
Loc: Columbia River Gorge, WA
tup rocken
Some people make hard climbing look easy, I prefer to make easy climbing look really hard.

#1101495 - 03/29/13 12:46 AM Re: [TR] Big Four - north face 3/25/2013 [Re: danhelmstadter]
Matt_Alford Offline

Registered: 12/05/01
Posts: 91
TRs: 16 Photos: 235
Loc: Greenhood
...but who's got the biggest balls of them all?!?!
The proper function of man is to live, not to exist.
--- Jack London

#1101516 - 03/29/13 10:14 AM Re: [TR] Big Four - north face 3/25/2013 [Re: danhelmstadter]
marcus Offline

Registered: 11/25/02
Posts: 246
TRs: 8 Photos: 62
Loc: Portland, OR
Nice work fellas...way to raise the bar up!
"Mundis Ex Igne Factus Est."

#1101959 - 04/04/13 08:32 PM Re: [TR] Big Four - north face 3/25/2013 [Re: marcus]
lunger Offline

Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 364
TRs: 12 Photos: 131
Loc: see atoll
Great TR, Dan. I posted my inferior version over on teh Sickness. That was one stellar adventure that keeps on fueling the belly-fire. Think I'm still recovering from our trip, and then immediately and subsequently getting wrung out by traipsing around the Sangre de Cristos with Sky.

#1101961 - 04/04/13 08:50 PM Re: [TR] Big Four - north face 3/25/2013 [Re: lunger]
mattp Offline
Spray Master

Registered: 02/26/01
Posts: 12121
TRs: 34 Photos: 196
Loc: Seattle, WA USA

#1102166 - 04/08/13 12:11 PM Re: [TR] Big Four - north face 3/25/2013 [Re: mattp]
sepultura Offline

Registered: 04/23/03
Posts: 159
TRs: 6 Photos: 140
Loc: Anacortes/Antarctica
Really at a loss for words, simply outstanding!
Why are you not being filmed and sponsored? You make what the heli-cheaters do seem like child's play.
The real deal is happening right here in the Cascades....

#1103760 - 05/01/13 11:20 AM Re: [TR] Big Four - north face 3/25/2013 [Re: sepultura]
Gaucho Argentino Offline

Registered: 08/13/10
Posts: 167
TRs: 12 Photos: 124
Loc: Seattle
Dudes, do you guys have some kind of anti-gravity device? tup

In Spanish: Que lo pario, las pelotas como un toro!! :-)
...What's the worst that can happen?


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