Hall Peak by Big Four Mountain / 靠四大山的霍爾峯

Happy Fourth of July! Some parties have since added Hall Peak to their “do not repeat” (DNR) list. I couldn’t agree more. Perhaps late spring would be the ideal time to climb. So the snow could cover up the brush in the lower elevation.

Hall Peak overhead
Hall Peak overhead

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Hall Peak at a Glance

Access: Big Four Ice Caves Trailhead
Round Trip: TBD
Elevation Range: 1720′-5484′
GPS Track: available
Gear: helmet, ice ax, crampons

Dog-Friendly: no

Finding an Entry Point

Hiking to the west end of the snow caves was a breeze. But once the trail dwindled, we faced the crux of finding a good entry point. The thick canopy of trees and tall brush tried hard to keep us out!

Some parties had taken the steep east-southeast ridgeline from the start. Then others opted to use the broad gully left of the crest first. From there, they would then get on the ridge up higher. So we went with the latter option.

Ice caves
Ice caves

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Brushy Terrain

Afterward, we went out into the broad gully. But this part ended up being the most painful of the climb. Not only avoiding tall thickets was not an option. But we spent a fair amount of time swimming in fern and devils club.

I found the old, ragged rope by the granite slabs. It could get us up the steep 30′. But I didn’t want to pull on the line. So instead, I relied on veggie belay mostly. The pup was able to dash up the rocks.

Can you see me now
Can you see me now

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East-Southeast Ridge

Slowly but surely, we made it up onto the east-southeast ridge at 3000′. We had to do that now before the cliffs up ahead became an issue. Going any higher, then we wouldn’t be able to get out of the gully safely.

But as it turned out, going through the ridge wasn’t at all smooth sailing as I had hoped. It was nearly as brushy as down in the gully. On top of that, we bit the jackpot of the massive down trees.

Catwalk below Hall Peak
Catwalk below Hall Peak

See more trip photos here.

Hall Peak East Ridge

The ridge flattened a bit past 3400′. Then it slowly turned west. At the same time, it narrowed drastically and formed a catwalk at 3600′. The bonus here was the loose rocks and scree. So we stepped through dense shrubs on the crest to avoid the steep drop-offs on both sides.

Once we moved through the catwalk, I noticed orange flagging and a faint trail. Then straight ahead was the headwall with a waterfall. Water spewed into the top of the narrow west gully. I was able to look down into it at 3800′.

Higher up on the ridge
Higher up on the ridge

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Eastern Slopes

Higher up, the terrain steepened again. Then it took some time to find our way through more dense growth. Eventually, we went onto the snowfield on the steep eastern slopes. So we were now below the 4900′ shoulder on Hall Peak’s south ridge.

But the minute we moved onto the snow, swarms of mosquitoes came out of nowhere. Then it wasn’t until we were on the ridge that they quickly disappeared. Later I found out that those insects could lay eggs near snowmelt. Who knew!

The eastern slopes
The eastern slopes

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South Ridge Traverse

From the ridge, I finally got my first look at Big Four Mountain. But couldn’t wait to see it from the top. Afterward, we moved north on the woodsy south ridge. Meanwhile, we made sure to steer clear from the cornices on the east.

We moved over to the southwest face to bypass the cliffs. Then we crossed a large snowfield to the north side. From there, we went onto the mild, woodsy west ridge and moved east up toward the summit.

One step closer to Hall Peak
One step closer to Hall Peak

See more trip photos here.

Hall Peak Summit Views

The snow line ended just as we came out of the trees. Then we moved onto the heather slopes right below the summit rocks. Finally! We made it to the top after putting in all the hard work at the bottom!

Big Four Mountain was just as beautiful as I had pictured. And it was the closest I have been to see it. The weather had always held up nicely on the Fourth of July weekend. There was so much to see–Marble Peak, Lewis Peak, etc.

Big Four Mountain
Big Four Mountain

See more trip photos here.

Outro

Pup and I spent a good hour on top before going back down. But the thoughts of going through the unpleasant brush in lower parts of the mountain began to make me cringe. But as it turned out, the area with the thicket was much easier to go through in reverse.

We got back to the trailhead just after dark.

Outro
Outro

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