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Raymond G. Jacquot

Bill Lindberg on Tower I Gully (IV AI 3+, 1,000'), Mt. Helen (13,620'). [Photo] Raymond G. Jacquot

Tower I Ice Couloir, Mt. Helen

Bill Lindberg and I are several pitches up a narrow couloir on the north side of Mt. Helen. A thick, even ribbon of white divides the tawny-grey granite walls that rise steeply above us on either side. The granular, late-season ice accepts the picks of our piolets and rigid crampon points perfectly. Thus far, the climb has been so straightforward that we might have rehearsed it ahead of time; we are both exhilarated to be moving rapidly on an unclimbed alpine line.” In 1971, two climbers put new alpine gear to the test on what was the first ascent of Mt. Helen’s now-classic ice couloir.