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Ascent of Mount Adams on 2013-07-30

Climber: Rob Woodall

Others in Party:Pete Ellis
Date:Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Mount Adams
    Location:USA-Washington
    Elevation:12276 ft / 3741 m

Ascent Trip Report

After our Mount Rainier climb, heading east along the I-84 we see Adams end on as a graceful pyramid, looking superb in the evening light. Crossing the Columbia River via the interesting old lift bridge ($1 toll and worth it) we head N along the 35 to Trout Lake where we stop off at the rangers station N45.99999 W121.54184 to obtain a Volcano Pass ($10 each, weekday, self service when office closed) and register our intended climb (not mandatory). Then follow Summitpost directions, L (N) at Chevron filling station N45.99644 W121.52581, L at N46.02343 W121.52626, R at N46.07024 W121.53076 (my notes are a bit confused here; anyway we followed the Summitpost directions), initially good gravel. When changes to dirt road, look out for the drainage channels across the road, if in a regular 2WD. Our car was a little unhappy with three of them on the way up to the trailhead, at Cold Springs Campground (keep R at N46.12846 W121.51661 en route). Follow signs for South Climb all the way. Ended up driving most of dirt road in darkness, slowly and carefully, no problems. Slept in car at trailhead, plenty other vehicles.

Mon 30. Hike at 5.30 am, nice and cool. Trail starts at N46.13567 W121.49798, 1693m (R of sign board) and initially heads straight for Adams, wide and obvious, sometimes sandy underfoot. Much of forest burnt by last year's fire although flowers have recolonised. Mt Hood is prominent to the south and takes on several guises. Pre sunrise it shows as a snow flecked off-centre pyramid, cartoon like. Then blushing pink. Then greyed out before settling down for an hour as a glittering white pyramid. Mount St Helens to the west is darkened for a while by the shadow of Mt Adams then bathed in morning sunlight.

At N46.16229 W121.49027, 2258m we reach steep snow. There are good boot steps so we climb without crampons. Stony trail continues above but is soon lost in bouldery ground. Next time we reach snow we fit crampons and are then on almost continuous snow, climbing steeply to a false summit, then slight descent and level section, then final steep ascent to summit ridge. We pass quite a few parties on their way up and two already on their descent. Highest point is clearly the one first reached, at SW end, icy snow above wooden shelter, N46.20151 W121.49278, 3738m. The slightly lower NE summit N46.20242 W121.49093 has cairn and USGS trig mark (dated 1970) on small flat outcrop and appears maybe 1 metre lower. Folk seem to be visiting both.

Views are limited: Rainier very clear but the NE is obscured by a mass of smoke from wildfire(s). South of Hood is quite hazy with nothing distant in view.

We arrive at 10 am in 4.5 hours and descend at 10.30. Adams is known for its crevasse free glissading opportunities and we take full advantage, although the snow is quite coarse (corny), a little firm near the summit and rather soggy at the foot of the snowfield. There are a couple of steep sections with banked bends like a (rather slow) cresta run and these are good fun. So are two final steep sections just before the snowfield ends. Then we find the trail at N46.16229 W121.49027 and follow it down, the warm sunshine drying our glissade-soggy clothes and gear.

We're down in 2.5 hours (7.5 round trip), having completed much of the descent on our backsides! We picnic in the shady campground then carefully drive back down to the highway, returning to Trout Lake ranger station to sign back out after a successful and rather fun morning.

We're feeling pretty fresh so decide to head straight for Timberline Lodge to get set up for Mount Hood tomorrow, which has been sitting unclimbed on our southern horizon for long enough! However we have left Hood too late in the season and abandon our attempt, instead moving south into California for Mount Eddy.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:6722 ft / 2049 m
    Distance:11.8 mi / 19 km
    Trailhead:Cold Springs Campground  5554 ft / 1692 m
    Grade/Class:F-
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Snow on Ground, Snow Climb
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:4 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:2 Hours 30 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip


 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Rob Woodall
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Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. Peakbagger.com accepts NO resposibility or liability from use of this data.

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