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North America, United States, Washington?Cascade Mountains, Big Four Mountain, Central Summit Direct

Big Four Mountain, Central Summit Direct. A long, though moderate, route on snow and ice. The route follows the narrow couloir that splits a buttress originating directly from the center peak of the five summits evident on the mountain. An icefall is apparent at the top of the couloir immediately below the summit. I turned the evil-looking cliff bands at the end of the Ice Caves Trail on their far right and traversed to a headwall sporting three ice runnels. I climbed the central runnel to gain the couloir proper (AI-3), which continued on at a moderate angle, except for a short section of 80° ice. Immediately below the summit, an obligatory 20-meter vertical section had to be negotiated. I turned a second 5-meter step on the left to a spectacular snow arête leading very soon to the main summit. I soloed the route on December 19.

Bob Cotter