Big Four Mountain
|Best months for climbing:||Jul, Aug, Sep|
|Year first climbed:||July 19, 1931|
|First successful climber(s):||Forest Farr, Art Winder|
|Nearest major airport:||Seattle-Tacoma|
|Convenient Center:||Granite Falls|
Thanks to Ronald James for adding this peak.
Big Four Mountain is the most popular and most photographed highlight on the scenic Mountain Loop Highway due in part to its high visibilty from the road and easily accessed ice caves. The north face rises precipitously 4000 feet above the valley floor of the South Fork Stillaguamish River, with many wonderful waterfalls and cascades providing additional attraction. Big Four Mountain was so named by early miners because of the shape of a large "4" created by snowfields on the east shoulder. Big Four is noteworthy as having the lowest elevation permanent ice (1900 feet) in the 48 contiguous states. This ice is from snow avalanches that accumulate at the base of the north face and is shielded from the sun by the broad north face. Ice caves open up in late summer as the water from the cascades flow under and melt the snowpack. While the ice caves are interesting to explore, they have been deadly, trapping people who walk above or in the caves when the cave collapses. The ice, known as Rucker's Glacier (not technically a glacier), is named for the man who built a resort at the base of the mountain back in the 1920's. The Big Four Inn as it was known, met its demise in a fire in 1949, and all that remains of it is the fireplace/hearth and some sidewalk, which are at the Big Four picnic area.
The rock of Big Four Mountain is old, primarily composed of sedimentary materials laid down 260 to 370 million years ago. The upper face is phyllite and slate, and the lower part is sandstone and conglomerate. Prominence: 1080 feet.
Big Four is located 25 miles east of the town of Granite Falls in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. There a short trail to the base of the mountain, but no easy way to the summit. For a hiking trail to a summit, try nearby Mount Dickerman directly on the opposite side (north side) of the valley. It's a popular hike with nice views of the same area.
Refer to Fred Beckey's "Cascade Alpine Guide, Volume 2" for climbing route information.
Thanks to Ronald James for this description.