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.
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!
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 (03/28/1311:42 AM)
I'm never there all ways just arriving
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.
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.
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....