Ascent of Mount Adams on 2017-07-31

Climber: Katja Hurt

Others in Party:Angela Williams
Date:Monday, July 31, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Carpool
Peak:Mount Adams
    Elevation:12276 ft / 3741 m

Ascent Trip Report

Started from Cold Springs TH on Sunday, two women with good conditioning but treating this as a trainer to LC with 40-45lb packs each (lots of water weight), planned to pace ourselves and break often. Made it to LC in 5 hours. The trail to the ridge for the south climb route is easy to follow across the snow and up to the bare rock ridge. Not a lot of shade, and no running water (just snow) after the creek crossing around 1.5ish miles in.
We watched a goat traversing the hillside just above our campsite, and saw numerous tracks of what appears to be a large cat (cougar?) on the way up so be mindful of wildlife.

Much lighter packs for the summit on Monday morning. Early wake up and first ones heading up Piker's at about 4 a.m. Stopped to put on crampons early on and they made a huge difference in the early hours while the snow was solid. We intentionally stopped to rest as we went to make sure we were adjusting to the altitude and made it to the top of Piker's in 2:10 (included two short breaks).

On Piker's, we were passed by a solo-hiker who started from the TH around 1:45 a.m., he was pretty gassed by the summit and had run out of water and later shared that he got off course going back down. I spoke to another single day climber before and he did the full climb TH to TH in around 12 hours, also exhausted by the return.

From Piker's to the summit took us 1:45 with a break. We deviated from the route and took the switchbacks on the scree path to have better views of the east side from the safety of rocks (very easy to see the cornice/crevasse dangers that one could run into in getting off trail--see photo) and to get off the frozen snow for a little while. We were on the summit around 9 a.m.; total time from our campsite to summit was approximately 4:45 hours.

With glissading experience and assessing the conditions, I did opt to glissade all 2,700' of Piker's. On the climb up we noticed that the chute on climber's left (i.e. the side closer to St. Helens) had exposed rocks and was 5-6 feet deep at some points. The alternative chute on climber's right looked "better" and I took it very slow. The steepness at the top wasn't bad--the problems were that in the shadows of the chute it was still fairly hard packed and my iceaxe could only gain purchase on my left which was exhausting as I couldn't switch sides. Also, the chute became suddenly very wide and it took a lot of control to not have my legs swing around and send me spinning at several points. I also noticed that at these points it would be very easy for a foot to catch and swing a leg around forcefully enough to dislocate from the hip socket or fracture a femur if you are going fast enough--while neither of these happened, it's a real danger so please use caution. After the slope lessened, the ride down was more "standard" glissading, I took it slow until I could see what was below me as I had to stop and switch chutes several times to avoid exposed rocks and uncomfortable looking snow piles. Probably took 10-15 minutes for the entire ride. A man at the bottom of Piker's was struggling as his muscles cramped on the slide down from holding the position for so long, so something to think about.

Now, all the pragmatic info aside, we had a blast! Blessed with amazing weather and hardly any wind. The stars alone were worth the overnight and the views recharged my soul. Absolutely recommend it with the right prep, gear, and a healthy respect for the mountain.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Snow on Ground, Scramble, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Ski Poles, Tent Camp
    Weather:Hot, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Route:183, South Climb
    Start Trailhead:Cold Springs TH  
Descent Statistics

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