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Tower 1 Gully
Ice, Alpine, 1000 ft (303 m), 10 pitches, Grade IV,
Avg: 3.1 from 10
FA: Ray Jacquot and Bill Lindberg, 1971
> Wind River Range
> Titcomb Basin Area
> Mt Helen
The Tower 1 Gully on Mt. Helen is a beautiful ten-pitch moderate ice route up an ever-narrowing couloir. The top 300 feet provide the crux; the climb steepens up to 60 degrees until the climb tops out in a notch. Climbers will find more snow in the early season (i.e. June/July) and ice later in the season (Aug/early Sept). A final pitch of rock (about 5.5) will take climbers to the top of Tower One. The view from the top-out is breathtaking.
The first five pitches of the climb are quite moderate; when the route is about half way completed it gradually begins to steepen.
Descent can be accomplished via judicious routefinding and rappelling down the backside (south facing) broken slabs to reach a couloir. There are rappel slings every so often; prudent climbers might consider bringing sling material to replace the old webbing. Downclimb or rappel the south-facing couloir and return to the base.
For me this is a two ice-tool route. Some might me comfortable using just one, but those people are not me.
A rack of 6-8 ice screws, 8 stoppers, and 8 cams should suffice. Most anchors can be plugged into rock on the sides of the gully.