Big Four Ice Caves (ice climbing), December 2001
The entrance to the main ice cave as seen during the summer.

After some negative feedback on CascadeClimbers.com earlier that week regarding the ice conditions at the Big Four ice caves, Chris, Dave and myself were somewhat uncertain as to whether going out there would be worth the effort. Hoping that there would at least be a small wall of ice sufficient for us lowly ice climbers to practice on, we decided to go and check things out. Once there, we would become acquainted with fellow CC.com members Scott Harder, Bill Hemmen and Ryan (last name?) and together have one of our first ice climbing experiences. (Photos: DS, SH, CR)

Click thumbnails below to enlarge...
Snowmobiles
The road was plowed about two miles from the trail head. We very much enjoyed walking through the thick snowmobile exhaust fumes on our way there.
Avalanche warning
If we were not previously aware of the avalanche potential around the ice caves this time of year, we were now!
North Face of Big Four
Avalanches slabbed off the sheer North Face of Big Four Mountain. We hiked far to the right of the basin and away from where the majority of the avalanches were occuring and found some small sections of vertical and overhanging ice to climb. As the other party was setting up a top rope, a small slab released from the cliffs directly above and ran out in a gully a few feet away. Spooky!
Bill climbing
I setup a top rope on a vertical section of the face, adjacent to where Scott, Ryan and Bill were attempting to climb an overhanging wall. The overhang proved to be too difficult to ascend and the snow-ice too brittle, and so we all ended up climbing my top-rope. Bill shows us how it's done.
Sergio climbing
Yours truly nears the lip.
Dave climbing
Dave making it look easy.
Top of wall
Nearing the lip and trying not to hack the rope.
Hiking out
Leaving Big Four later that afternoon.
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