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Ascent of Mount Adams on 2008-08-28

Climber: Jan Peter Eklund

Others in Party:Emma-Blue
Date:Thursday, August 28, 2008
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Mount Adams
    Location:USA-Washington
    Elevation:12276 ft / 3741 m

Ascent Trip Report

I was watching the weather for a window to summit Adams, Thursday & Friday where predicted to be clear & warm so I headed out from Seattle on Wednesday, driving south through alternating sun & heavy rain. Turned east @ RT 12 and drove through some more rainstorms until hitting the junction with road 23 south through Gifford Pinchot NF. The road turned to gravel after a while, ok driving for the Mazda 323, but then was washed out about halfway to Trout Lake. Fortunately a family in a 4x4 pulled up just then and gave me directions for a bypass to hook back up with 23. the bypass was steep, narrow, potholes & mud but made it through ok - I've always been amazed at how much you can get through with a front wheel drive compact. Got to Trout Lake and signed in at the ranger station - at this point I still hadn't seen the mountain due to clouds, but caught a brief glimpse while signing in. Headed up the road to the South Climb Trailhead and geared up for the approach. I was hoping to get to Lunch Counter, but made it up to the valley below Crescent Glacier where the daylight ran out. The night was sublime - amazingly clear with the Milky Way so thick it looked like a band of fog. Big gusts of wind regularly howling down the valley and tossing the tent around - fun!
Thursday got up, had a quick breakfast, stashed the tent, bag & pad & headed up to Lunch Counter @ 10 am. A few hikers where heading back down due to 40 mph sustained winds, but the day was sunny & warm and looked to get better so we headed up. Crossed Lunch Counter and filled up water at the base of the snowfield. The wind was whipping around the West face @ 40 mph and was pretty frigid, but the South slope was mostly sheltered and got quite warm. Occasional cloud plumes would form at the peak and roll down the slope before dissipating. We stopped for water & snacks regularly on the way up, making sure to keep the dog hydrated & peppy. I thought Suksdorf Ridge would make an easier ascent than up the snow chutes so we scrambled up and then started the grind up to Pikers Peak. About halfway up crossed over to the snow chutes, probably should have just started up those in the first place. At this point it was maybe 20 steps and then a minute to catch breath, then another 20. Emma the golden retriever was going along steadily, though starting to get a bit uneasy. We reached the final stretch of steep scramble and summited around 3 pm, making sure to pop over to the higher point east of the rocky point with carved inscriptions. It was still very windy, but mostly clear at this point, with a lower layer of clouds covering most of the west view. Standing out in the open was quite cold, I had all my layers on. From Pikers Peak Mt Adams was too close to pass up, so taking just water & snacks we started the final push. Crossing the snow covered saddle was intense - 40-60 mph sustained wind, pant legs flapping crazily, crunching along the frozen snowfield - I could see rock below the 6-12 inches of snow so felt pretty safe. We summited Mt Adams @ 4:20. Walked around the old lookout, which was completely encased in ice, and signed the register. Crazy wind up there. I was anxious to start down so away we went - conditions did not encourage staying up top. Felt relieved to get down & across the saddle to Pikers Peak. Started the long grind down. When it comes to climbing, I am less enthusiastic about the descent than I am about the ascent. We did have the big snowfields to glissade down which helped, but still a long grind down. I was happy to get down to Lunch Counter with pretty warm conditions, and across to the big snowfield. We went down the snowfield skirting the west edge and glissading. Towards the bottom I decided to cross over and reach the valley below Crescent Glacier from the East side, rather than climb the hundred feet or so to the trail on the west. This was a bad decision as we ended up in a bowl behind the Crescent Glacier valley and had to skirt around and then up along some ridges to reach the final snowfield above the valley. A good example of "saving" a small amount of effort and gaining alot more. I also managed to slip and fall a few times on slick patches. Emma the dog was completely wasted at this point, sitting down at every opportunity. I was pretty wasted too, and was extremely happy to hit the valley floor around 8 pm. We slept in Fri morning and then lounged around in the sun til 1 pm. Emma was pretty slow to start moving, but rallied when we started the descent to the trailhead, pepping up when we hit the easy walking. Chatted briefly with two Forest Service people who lavished the dog with attention for bagging the peak. A note to dog people: lots of sharp volcanic rock - consider paw-boots. Got to the trailhead @ 3:30 pm. Drove down towards White Salmon stopping for a post climb beer and meal at "The Logs" Roadhouse (Est. 1932) - neat place. All in all a great trip. Probably the last tall peak Emma will go along on, with Pikers, Adams & S. Sister that makes three 10,000 footers for the 10 yr old dog - how many dogs can say that!
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:6676 ft / 2035 m
    Trailhead:south climb trailhead  5600 ft / 1706 m
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Snow on Ground, Scramble, Exposed Scramble, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Tent Camp
    Nights Spent:2 nights away from roads
    Weather:Cool, Windy, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Part of Trip: Mount Adams

Complete Trip Sequence:
OrderPeak/PointDate
1Pikers Peak2008-08-28 a
2Mount Adams2008-08-28 b



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