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Four Brothers - Glacier Lake Couloir

WA Cascades West Slopes Central
Posted by MuradN on 1/3/22 7:59pm

On Wednesday John, Sofia and I skied what we’ve been calling the Glacier Lake Couloir off of Four Brothers. The line was first skied in 2013 by Forest McBrian and Erin Smart and likely hasn’t seen many other descents due the the cost of entry.

We got to the top of the adventure zone by sunrise and had a great start to the day skiing pow in the right twin. Naturally, we waffled about whether we should just stick around Kendall and enjoy the low hanging fruit, but the draw of a remote line kept us going.

The descent into Gold Creek required some down skinning and we did our best to keep the angle low, knowing it would make a nice return track later in the day. Once down to Gold Creek the trail breaking was easier than expected and we made good time skinning up valley towards the basin below Four Brothers.

We gained the ridge and the entrance to the line around 1 and we were blown away by the setting. The position was incredible. I belayed John’s ski cut at the top and then we each proceeded to rip 1500 feet of blower down to Glacier Lake. It was surreal to ski the line in such amazing conditions.

Our goal at this point was to be back to the Gold Creek Valley before dark. The late day lighting and stunning views kept spirits high as we worked our way back to the top of the ridge. The skiing down the Four Brothers ridge was exceptional and kept our attention away from how far away our exit at Kendall looked.

Once we were back to our skin track we cruised down the valley to the Silver Creek drainage where a final 2.5k climb awaited. It felt great once we reached the main adventure zone basin. We knew a skin track exited out Sterling Direct but we assumed there would be an exit out one of the twins or mainline due to the volume of tracks we saw and we figured this would provide us a more direct exit.

A few hundred feet up the Mainline apron we realized there was no skin track to be found. Feeling stubborn and not wanting to give up hard earned vert this late in a day we chose to continue up anyway, bad idea. Skinning gave way to some of the most soul sucking booting I’ve ever done as we waded up the left twin to the ridge. The scariest part of the day may have been rocketing down the Commonwealth luge track in the dark back to the car.

In the end we covered 20+ miles and 11k vert over 16.5 hours. The short day and the cold temperatures were definitely a challenge. We probably spent less than 2 hours actually in the sun. It’s worth noting that the combination of remoteness and unusually cold temperatures gave us concern and we chose to bring a stove and a 0 degree back to improve our margins.


All photos taken by John Berude...iphone cameras are crazy


More pictures.


rad. nicely done. 

Sweet! I remember reading Erin's report on this line. Well done

Way to friggin go, yall! Lots of inspiration, stoked to see people get after it!

Nice work Nick & co. I remember passing underneath Four Brothers while hiking a section of the PCT a couple summers ago and thinking about how much fun it would be to ski back there. Just curious, do you think your approach route was more efficient than going straight up Gold Creek from I90? Or less efficient but more fun?

Stunning images and hats off to a major one-day commitment to the backcountry.

Like timgibson11, I've backpacked the PCT through that area and looked longingly at those peaks. The 20 miles and 11K will keep the riff raff out, that's for sure. Thanks for sharing.    

Incredible work! Same question as Tim. Any reason you guys didn't go straight up Gold Creek? 

Ohly moley! way to hit the outback, nice entry point, there's so many places to go a little farther that ya gets the goods. Thanks for posting that trip.

I had skied Chikamin a few years back and approached via Gold Creek and it was pretty slow and annoying travel. Breaking trail 3+ miles up that valley sounded worse than mindlessly following a skinner. The extra skiing was a perk and ensured we would get some good turns. In the right conditions access via Gold Creek would definitely be more efficient considering the extra 4.5k vert going back and forth over Kendall adds.



Great trip, huge day, wonderful pictures, the hart of winter makes a trip like that all the more challenging. Thanks for the trip report. 

Wow!  Not much more to say.  Those pictures are unreal.  Do you have a GPS track you can share?

"Do you have a GPS track you can share?"


NO. FFS. NO!!! Google Earth and phone GPS have made backcountry navigation easy enough. If you can't find your way in somewhere without following somebody else's GPX track, find a different sport. His description alone makes it easy enough to piece together the route if you can read a map.

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2022-01-04 03:59:44