Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Mt. Adams September Climb

Mt. Adams via South Spur (South Climb - trail 158)
    12,276 ft. 
    Steep snow 
    11 miles round trip, ~6,000 ft. gain

Introduction
Mt. Adams is the 2nd tallest mountain in Washington and is an active volcano.  The volcano is 12,276 ft. high and is located 31 miles east of Mount St. Helens.  The volcano is less active than Mt. Hood, Mt. Rainier, and Mt. St. Helens but it still has the potential to erupt.  Landslides and lahars could happen without any warning.  The volcano is located due north of Hood River, Oregon near a small town called Trout Lake. A climbing permit is required to climb the mountain, which can be obtained at the ranger station in Trout Lake.  The trailhead at the Cold Springs campground is about 30 minutes from Trout Lake.  

For more information on the geology of Mt. Adams, check out THIS WEBSITE

Trip Report
Will and I climbed Mt Adams on Labor Day as a quick day trip.  Next week we are GOING to do the entire Wonderland Trail (93 miles) in 2 days (we made it 80 miles last year).  We have been planning and preparing for a couple months.  A quick gain of 6,000 ft and back down over tricky terrain seemed like a good last minute test on our joints and endurance.

We arrived at the Cold Springs Campground and the south climb trailhead around 10 pm and got to sleep quickly. We left camp at 5:15 am the following morning.  We made our way up the trail quickly and reached the "kitchen counter" around 7:15.  The summit was covered with a rather ominous lenticular cloud. Hoping it would blow over, we headed straight up the south face over some snowfields and talus.  We avoided using crampons by sticking to the rocks as much as possible.  By the time we reached the false summit at 9:15 am, the lenticular cloud had dispersed and the winds had picked up. We bundled up and made the final climb to the summit over some loose volcanic scree.   The summit was clear and beautiful, yet windy and cold.  We hid behind the old hut and pounded some food and enjoyed the views of Rainier, Hood, and St. Helens, which were all clearly visible.  After 20 or 30 minutes, the cold wind made us descend.  It took us 3 hours to get back to the car - an 8 hour trip, 11 miles, 6,000 ft. gain.


The summit from the "Lunch Counter"
Scrambling on the rocks above the Lunch Counter 
Slopes above Lunch Counter
Will near the false summit
Looking east from the false summit
Looking down on the "Lunch Counter" from near the false summit
Looking south towards Mt. Hood from Mt. Adams summit