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Ascent of Mount Adams on 1986-02-16

Climber: Mike Wright

Others in Party:Sammy Yellen & Chris Poznanski
Date:Sunday, February 16, 1986
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Adams
    Location:USA-New Hampshire
    Elevation:5799 ft / 1767 m

Ascent Trip Report

President's day weekend. We started up Lowe's Path on friday morning the 14th and arrived at the hut early to ensure space. We probably summited on the 15th or 16th. My first winter backpacking trip with the scouts. Our outdoor leader was an experienced backpacker and had done this one before. We started on the Lowe's Path carrying pretty heavy packs compared to today's standards. Prior to reaching the Lean-to we were forced to put on crampons due to ice on the trail. During which time I became cold as we were hiking in t-shirts at this point due to overheating. After reaching the leanto, we dressed and made a soup. I was still cold, ate some chocolate and proclaimed that I needed to start walking again to warm up. I started and the going was steep. At some point between the Lean-to and Grey Knob Chris punctured the top of his foot thru his mouse boot with the crampon. Ho! Casualty! Now not only was I circling the drain but now Chris was injured. I made little progress until I was caught. At this point I was beginning the exhaustion stage and could go no further. Chris was probably bleeding out into his boot and Sammy was trying to keep us both from loosing it. I sat many times in the snow but they russled me to my feet quickly and forced to move on. My comrades relieved me of some of my heavier gear and we continued. I was exhausted and felt the onset of hypothermia coming. Convinced that the hut was close by I pushed thru and made it to the hut. Praying that there would be room at the hut we entered, I made a huge fauxpas by not taking my crampons off...which I did outside. We attended to Chris' foot and made some food. It should be noted that although I was wearing the cotton thermal underwear I was wearing wool pants, wool shirts, wool sox and airforce pilot's high altitude mouse boots. today I feel that though not optimal due to the cotton, I dont feel that we were ill prepared. I soon warmed up crawled into my bag in the loft and got a good night's sleep. The following day I believe we hiked to the Summit of Adam's in a minor storm. We went up by-way of the Lowe's Path over Sam Adams. Chris did not join us because of the foot injury, he thought it best to stay back. Reaching the Summit the winds were high, temps extremely cold and we spent little time there. Our wool lined face masks were covered with rime ice from our breath and the temps were well below freezing. Camera was frozen and I might have gotten off a picture but can't remember. We returned to Grey Knob via Spur Trail. We returned to the car via Lowe's path by glisading most of the steep stuff. We hiked this mountain with only a ski pole each, no experience self arresting but having an idea how to do it and crampons that hardly fit without being jerry-rigged. The mouseboots must have weighed 5lbs each and my wiry frame of 100-120 lbs probably carried half my weight in gear. No wonder I almost got hypothermia. Still one of the most influential trips of my youth.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Crampons, Ski Poles, Hut Camp
    Nights Spent:3 nights away from roads
    Weather:Snowing, Frigid, Very Windy, White-out
White out till summit then briefly clear back to white out



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