Forum Index > Trip Reports > Big Four, again 07-25-07
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Scrooge
Famous Grouse



Joined: 16 Dec 2001
Posts: 6966 | TRs
Location: wishful thinking
Scrooge
Famous Grouse
PostFri Jul 27, 2007 7:21 am 
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It's only been three weeks, but I was still surprised at how much snow is left up on the Big Four cliffs, and how full the waterfalls were running. Also at how much development there's been in the snow caves. The main Ice Cave was still just a big drain, winding into darkness beneath the main avalanche cone, but some of the other caves were quite elaborate, while the roof of one was already gone completely.

Unfortunately, it was not a great day for my photography. The convolutions of the snow cave interior mostly eluded me. As for the waterfalls, the sun was in even worse position than it had been three weeks ago. Nevertheless, here's a few shots that capture some of the feel of it.

Trinity and Ice Girl entering snow cave at Big Four.
Trinity and Ice Girl entering snow cave at Big Four.
Snow cave and the base of one of the falls
Snow cave and the base of one of the falls
Snow cave waterfall
Snow cave waterfall
Snow bridge, 07-25-07
Snow bridge, 07-25-07
A matter of scale ....... Trinity exiting the snow bridge arch.
A matter of scale ....... Trinity exiting the snow bridge arch.
Vertical pan of the snow bridge falls from the moat between cliff and ice.
Vertical pan of the snow bridge falls from the moat between cliff and ice.
What's in a name? ....... Ice Girl
What's in a name? ....... Ice Girl

Although it's not a very good pic, I'm particularly pleased with "A matter of scale". It's the first shot I've been able to get that really shows the size of these features at Big Four.

Incidentally, although exploration of the caves and crevasses at Big Four is never "safe", and is always discouraged, right now it's as comparatively safe as it ever gets. There is no "breakdown" at all, no icy fragments on the ground at entrances or inside, and no scalloping of the ceilings. All of the present cave expansion is the result of melting.

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Something lost behind the ranges. Lost and waiting for you....... Go and find it. Go!
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Sore Feet
Random Quippy Bit



Joined: 16 Dec 2001
Posts: 6183 | TRs
Location: I'm on a boat
Sore Feet
Random Quippy Bit
PostFri Jul 27, 2007 12:12 pm 
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Scrooge wrote:
Snow cave waterfall
Snow cave waterfall

This one is very nice, very moody.

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Bryan Swan
Pictures - http://www.flickr.com/photos/bryanswan
Waterfalls - www.waterfallsnorthwest.com
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Foist
Sultan of Sweat



Joined: 08 May 2006
Posts: 3507 | TRs
Location: Back!
Foist
Sultan of Sweat
PostSat Jul 28, 2007 9:21 pm 
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Isn't it dangerous going in there? Don't people get killed there sometimes?
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Elvis
Shuffl'n



Joined: 09 Jun 2004
Posts: 1803 | TRs
Location: del Boca Vista
Elvis
Shuffl'n
PostSat Jul 28, 2007 10:50 pm 
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Yes and Yes

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"Ill habits gather unseen degrees, as brooks make rivers, rivers run to seas."  ~John Dryden
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Scrooge
Famous Grouse



Joined: 16 Dec 2001
Posts: 6966 | TRs
Location: wishful thinking
Scrooge
Famous Grouse
PostSun Jul 29, 2007 12:26 am 
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Foist and Elvis, you evidentally didn't bother to read my last paragraph.
Quote:
Incidentally, although exploration of the caves and crevasses at Big Four is never "safe", and is always discouraged, right now it's as comparatively safe as it ever gets. There is no "breakdown" at all, no icy fragments on the ground at entrances or inside, and no scalloping of the ceilings. All of the present cave expansion is the result of melting.

Taking sensible precautions is important anywhere in the mountains. We are always at risk. But, we minimize those risks by understanding the dangers, by recognizing threats.

The kind of breakdown of the snow caves shown in that film is not yet occurring at Big Four. None of the signs of potential collapse, broken fragments of ice on the ground or scalloping of ceilings, are present. As I said, all of the present cave expansion is due to melting.

Even the one former cave that is now open to the sky did not result from collapse. It just melted back.

Former snow cave
Former snow cave

If you understand the dangers, and are driven by the urge to explore, then the risks, now, are acceptable. If not, the Ice Caves Trail comes to a very formal end about two hundred feet short of the Big Four cliffs. Stop there.

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Something lost behind the ranges. Lost and waiting for you....... Go and find it. Go!
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Foist
Sultan of Sweat



Joined: 08 May 2006
Posts: 3507 | TRs
Location: Back!
Foist
Sultan of Sweat
PostSun Jul 29, 2007 12:35 am 
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Hey, I was just curious, no need to get all lectury.  I didn't know anything about signs of collapse or anything, that's what I was hoping you'd tell me.  Thanks for the info.  Sorry I missed that sentence, I thought the report ended where the photos started.
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Elvis
Shuffl'n



Joined: 09 Jun 2004
Posts: 1803 | TRs
Location: del Boca Vista
Elvis
Shuffl'n
PostSun Jul 29, 2007 8:58 pm 
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I saw your well stated warning and was simply replying to Foist's comment... plus I recalled that video from some time ago (originally posted by DSlayer I believe) and it immediately came to mind when I saw your photos (which totally rock, by the way... no pun intended).

Foist's comment was simply a prime opportunity to post that link and keep others aware of the potential consequences that can exist.

I considered venturing out there after my trip to Dickerman today, but my urge for coffee won instead.

dizzy.gif

--------------
"Ill habits gather unseen degrees, as brooks make rivers, rivers run to seas."  ~John Dryden
My Trip List
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