I was able to talk a couple guys into climbing Mt. Adams with me. My brother Nick and friend Andrew. We planned on a weekend in August and the weather was supposed to cooperate with us. The problem with Mt. Adams is the location, it is a long ways from everything.
Just to get there you have to travel over 30+ miles on washboard dirt roads. Then from Trout Lake (the closest town) it is up a bumpy forest service road to the trail head. Crazy as it all sounds, Mt. Adams sees a fair amount of visitors.
We arrived at the mountain early Saturday morning and were ready to get out on the trail. Starting at the Cold Springs campground at 5600 feet. Our climb was to be up the South Spur to the summit only 5.7 miles away. The climb is not too steep or technical. We were planning on camping on the ridge where the climb really kicks up. This is at 9400 feet. There are some great tent spots up there with wind screen rock walls. Not to mention a great view to the south, looking right at Mt. Hood and Mt. Jefferson. After setting up camp we just hung out and took it easy. The plan was to wake up before sunrise the next morning to climb, so we did not want to over do it the evening before.
As always I did not get a good nights sleep, but got enough by the time the alarm went off. The sun was not up yet and eating that early is a bit like force feeding yourself. By the time we were packed and fed, the sun was starting to come up. The climb is not very technical, you just need crampons and an ice axe. It is a long uphill slog on snow all the way up to Piker’s Peak. Then a flat section before the final climb.
There is a false peak at 11,657 feet where you think you are at the summit. This is until you look behind it and realize you have some more climbing to do. The hike up to Piker’s was slow but not too difficult. My brother was struggling a bit more due to the altitude. We decided to take a break at Piker’s for a snack and Nick decided to head down. The altitude was not agreeing with him, he had a bad headache and nausea. Andrew and I continued on through the saddle and up the final approach to the summit. The last bit of the climb is easier in difficulty but harder since it is higher up and you have already been climbing for a couple hours. Eventually we reached the summit and could see Mt. Rainier over the top. You feel like you are right there, the picture does not capture it.
Also of note, there is an old abandoned shack at the top of Mt. Adams. Built originally for the mining of sulfur on the peak. Kind of weird. It was so nice up on the summit that we hung out for a while taking pictures before descending back to camp.
The nice thing about descending Mt. Adams is a long portion of it is done by glissading. Not only is it fun but fast as well. We took a much needed break down at the camp and then packed up to return to the car and ultimately home. It was a bummer that my brother did not push on to the summit but I understood why as altitude sickness is not fun. Other than that the trip went very well. Having summited Mt. Adams once before in clouds, it was nice to get the views this time. If you are looking for a great peak that is fairly easy, Mt. Adams is a good choice. As always, your mileage may vary.
- Gregory Denali Pro 105 Backpack – Once again this pack comes through. It carries so much stuff an can do it comfortably. I even used it as the summit pack on this trip but wish I had something smaller as it is pretty heavy.