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Ascent of Mount Adams on 2019-08-18

Climber: Richard Zielke

Date:Sunday, August 18, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Adams
    Location:USA-Washington
    Elevation:12276 ft / 3741 m

Ascent Trip Report

This climb is rad. This should be high on your list, pun intended. We made way to Lunch Counter on Saturday and there were plenty of campsites to be had. I couldn't believe how many sites there were actually. I made a summit attempt back in June and everything was still snow and ice covered around Lunch Counter so I couldn't quite see how big the area was. There were a lot of people also out enjoying the mountain, but it didn't feel too crowded for me.

The road in is as rough and narrow as everyone mentions. You can do it in a low clearance vehicle but I wouldn't recommend it. If you have access to something with high clearance take that for sure. The trail from the trailhead to LC is in good shape, it is a bit washed out in areas from a recent storm but it's not hard to navigate as long as you can see where you're going. If you do intend to head up in the dark from the parking lot you'll want a headlamp to miss the deep cracks from the washout. We had a little snow/ice below lunch counter but it wasn't hard to cross, I didn't put my crampons on but I did have poles so it made that section pretty easy. We set up camp, filtered some water from a nearby runoff stream, prepped dinner, watched an amazing sunset and then hit the sack for an early start Sunday.

Sunday morning came and I got up, made some breakfast, and headed towards Pikers. At 5am in the morning the snow was hard and basically ice so it made traction a requirement. We put our crampons on and started our way up. As we were ascending you could see a beautiful alpine glow over Mt Hood and a full moon just to the side of it, we almost didn't need headlamps. Once at Pikers we took a short break and then made our way to the summit. There is more snow travel here and it was still pretty hard on our way up so we kept our crampons on through the short scree sections and into the snow/ice again for the final push. From the summit you could see so many volcanoes(Mt St Helens, Mt Rainier, Mt Hood, Mt Jefferson, Mt Baker, Glacier Peak, and Three Sisters, it was really something.

After taking a break, eating some lunch, and appreciating those hard earned views we made our way back down. I glissaded about 100 feet down from the summit and then again most of the way from Pikers Peak to LC. The snow was soft enough to make this doable at this point, but be aware that the ice on the side of the chutes can be very hard and will cause some bruising or damage if you're not careful. Also, the first glissade chute from Pikers is pretty steep and with a lot of people making their way up from down below you have to be careful not to run into anyone so maintaining a somewhat slow speed is probably a good idea. The rest of the trip was pretty uneventful, we made it back to camp, packed our stuff up and then headed back to the car. We grabbed a meal and a beer at Backwoods Brewing in Carson, WA and I highly recommend it, it was delicious.

Other notes - Bring an ice axe(and know how to arrest with it) and crampons or at least microspikes, you'll need them. Bring a lot of water or be prepared to filter. My group ran across a guy who ran out of water on his way up at LC and had no way to filter water so he had to hang back while his friends went on, someone from my group gave him a few liters to get him back to the trailhead. There is water at LC right now in a few areas and even some water on the way up Pikers, I'm not sure how long it'll be there as it is melting fast based on recent pictures compared to mine. There isn't much coverage so you're in the sun basically the whole time, bring sunglasses and sunscreen or a sun shirt.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Snow on Ground, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Ski Poles



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