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Mount Adams

Rainier had been a shaky experience to say the least. After Lynne and I returned back to my friends house in Seattle, we took the next day to rest and eat. A lot! Even though the mountain had scared us, after a day of rest, we were both interested in tackling another peak. As we were sick of carrying our oversized packs, we aimed to climb that something that could be done in a day. Mt.Adams seemed to be just the peak. We also knew that a now former POCer (Vlad) had just moved out to the Seattle area and so we decided to give him a call. Vlad agreed to go (although he received a lecture for taking the day off :| We decided to climb Adams on Friday.

Thursday morning, Lynne awoke sporting a brand new cough. She was out for Adams. Vlad and I decided to just make it the two of us. We headed into Seattle and picked up some last minute things at his apartment and at REI. We headed out of Seattle at 9PM. The plan was to do the 4.5 hour drive, camp at the base for a few hours, and then head up the mountain early in the morning.

The plan did not go off quite like we had hoped.

The drive took us down into Oregon near the Columbia river (near the famous Gorge concert arena). When attempting to cross the river back into Washington, we discovered that the bridge was closed until 5AM the next morning. There was still about an hour of driving following the bridge. Our options were to drive another hour to get around the bridge, or camp in the nearby parking lot. Being sooo tired, we opted for the parking lot. I set an alarm and we passed out trying to hide our eyes from the light of the street lamp.

At 5:30, I awoke. The alarm had not gone off. Crap! We immediately started driving, and after picking up a permit at the rangers station, we headed to the trail head. We got started at 7 AM (a late start) but we were in luck, the weather was great.

Mt.Adams is 12,276 feet tall (second highest in Washington). It is not a difficult peak, at least not technically. The route we had chosen was to come up the south route (south spur), the easiest route, but also quite long. At ~10 miles in length and 6,600 ft. of elevation gain, most people climbed the route in 2-3 days. Being foolhardy as we were, we decided that one day would be enough.

The climb starts up a fairly easy trail for a couple miles arriving at a long snow field that we would follow the rest of the way to the summit. Along the way we past dozens of camp sites where people had created rock walls out of the pumice to make a small flat area to sleep. It was apparent to us that this climb must be much more popular on the weekends. We arrived at the snow slopes, and soon we had our first major obstacle, a steep 40 degree snow slope that went up about 100 feet. Following this, the snow slope eased up in angle to about 20 degrees all the way to the false summit at 11,700 feet.

The summit was made up a fairly smooth snow slope with a run down shack on top. It turns out that there used to be a lot of mining done on Mt.Adams, and consequently there was a shack on top. The shack was snow covered, so the summit was actually located on its roof. After the customary summit shots, we started to descend.

This was the part that we were both looking forward to.

Because there were no crevasses, and there was about 4000 feet of snow slopes that we came up, we had about 4000 feet of snow slopes to glisade. Glisading is done by basically sitting on your butt and sledding using your ski pants as the sled. Due to the length of the slopes, you normally use an ice axe to slow yourself down. This also come in handy when you notice the occasional rock in your path (it can save your butt, really!) This was the best glisading that I had ever done. The mountain provided several 500 hundred vertical foot decents, with slopes steep enough that you were digging in your ice axe to prevent going out of control. Often times we would follow the routes of other climbers, and the deep channels left behind made the decent almost like being on a water slide with large banking turns.

We arrived back at the trail, and already there was team after team ascending to claim the earlier camp slots that we had seen. We stumbled back to the car, and started the 4.5 hour drive back to Seattle. We arrived at about 12, so I had 4 hours to pack before my flight left at 7 that morning.

Mt.Adams was a great climb, and I would recommend it to anyone that wants to get a good first taste of climbing a peak in the Cascades.

Pictures from this trip 

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