2017/7/4 – Hall Peak / 霍爾峯

Destination overhead
Destination overhead

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Happy Fourth of July! Several parties mentioned in their reports that this peak had since been added to their “do not repeat” list; I couldn’t agree more. Late spring perhaps would be the most optimal time to climb with the aid of snow coverage.

Hiking to west end of the snow caves on trail was a breeze. Once trail petered out, the immediate crux we faced was finding a good entry point through a thick canopy of trees and tall brush. Some climbing parties had taken the steep southeast ridge from the get-go, while others opted to take the broad gully left of the ridge and attain the ridge in higher elevation. We went with the latter option.

Ice caves
Ice caves

Photos from this trip can be found here.

An old, ragged rope had been set up long ago to get climbers above a steep, 25-30′ tall granite slab section. Not wanting to pull on the rope, I relied mostly on veggie belay while pup dashed his way up. From top of the slabs we got into the broad gully, which turned out to be the most painstaking part of the climb. Not only negotiating tall brush was not an option, but we also spent a good chunk of time swimming in fern and devils club.

Slowly but surely, we attained the southeast ridge at 3,000′ right before cliffs became an issue for getting ourselves out of the gully higher up. Unfortunately, the southeast ridge wasn’t at all smooth sailing as I had hoped. It was almost just as brushy as the gully, with added down trees and deeper grunts.

Can you see me now
Can you see me now

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Ridge tapered off a bit past 3,400′ and began to take a turn due west. It narrowed dramatically and formed a catwalk at 3,600′, strewn with lots of loose rocks and scree. It was necessary to traverse the ridge crest through thick growth to avoid precipitous drop on both sides. Here I noticed some orange flagging and a faint climbers trail. At the end of the catwalk, a waterfall coming off the headwall was spewing water into the terminus of the narrow west gully, which I finally was able to look down from above at 3,800′.

Terrain steepened higher up and it took some route finding through thick growth to finally be able to get onto the snow-covered, steep east face below the 4,900′ shoulder on Hall’s south ridge. The minute we hit snow, swarms of mosquitoes appeared out of nowhere. It wasn’t until we were on the ridge that they miraculously disappeared.

Catwalk ridge line
Catwalk ridge line

Photos from this trip can be found here.

From the ridge I finally got our first good look at Big Four Mountain. I could hardly contain my excitement of seeing it from the top. We traveled northward on the woodsy south ridge and stayed clear away from cornices on the east. Once on the southwest face, we crossed a large snowfield to the north side and onto the gentle, woodsy west ridge and headed east toward the summit.

Snow line ended just as we came out of the trees and got onto heather-covered slopes below summit rocks. Whew, we finally made it to the top after putting in all the hard work down below! Oh yes, Big Four Mountain was just as beautiful as I had imagined, the closest I had ever been to view it.

Big Four Mountain
Big Four Mountain

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Weather had always held up nicely on Fourth of July weekend for as long as I could remember, glad this year was no exception. Views, views upon views, I simply could not take my eyes off the show Big Four Mountain was putting on for us. Views from this summit were quite comparable to those on top of Lewis Peak.

Pup and I spent a good hour on top before heading back down. Thoughts of going through the extremely unpleasant brush in lower parts of the mountain began to make me cringe.

Outro
Outro

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Access: Big Four Ice Caves Trail
Gear: helmet, ice ax, crampons

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s