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Ascent of Mount Adams on 2018-09-03

Climber: Eric Gilbertson

Date:Monday, September 3, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Adams
    Location:USA-Washington
    Elevation:12276 ft / 3741 m

Ascent Trip Report

September 3, 2018, 9am-3:15pm

Eric Gilbertson

I finished climbing Argonaut Peak on September 2 and made the long drive down towards Mt Adams. I’d climbed Adams twice before, in 2007 and in 2016, but needed to reclimb it to tighten my Bulgers finishing time window.

I arrived at the Trout Lake ranger station around midnight, filled out the self-registration permit, then made it up to the south side trailhead by 1am. It was pretty crowded, which wasn’t too surprising for a holiday weekend.

I slept in the back of the car and decided not to set an alarm. I’d been pushing pretty hard the past week climbing mountains, and needed to catch up on sleep. By 8:30am there was enough commotion outside that I crawled out of my sleeping bag to look around. Adams looked like it had a little bit of snow, but I’d read a conditions report at the ranger station that the snow was deeply sun cupped. I had packed my skis, but given the small amount of snow and low quality, it seemed like they wouldn’t speed up my round trip climb at all. I saw two other guys starting to hike up with skis, but I decided to go on foot.

By 9am I left the car going light with aluminum crampons, a little bit of food, a whippet, and a liter of water. I soon passed the skiers, who were lugging up huge packs, and continued up the trail. A bunch of people were heading down, after camping out on the mountain for the holiday weekend. I actually bumped into Joseph Kovac hiking down to finish off a backpacking trip.

I hiked up just past the tent sites around 8,000ft and then met nearly continuous snow. It wasn’t that badly suncupped, and probably would have been fun to ski in hindsight. It was soft enough to not require crampons, so I quickly continued up.

After crossing a brief bare section I started ascending the south face below Pikers Peak. It eventually steepened enough that I put crampons on. The snow ended just below Pikers Peak, where I switched to boots and hiked up the scree. Over Pikers Peak I traversed another icy snowfield, then picked up a trail through the scree to reach the summit around 12:45pm. The wooden structure was almost completely melted out, and I’d never actually seen it like that before.

I walked around the ridge to be certain I tagged the highpoint, admired the view for a while, then continued down. I ran down the scree and glissaded down the snow, boot skiing when it was steep enough. With all the glissading, I think I made about as good of time as I would if I had skied.

By 3:15pm I made it back to the car, and soon started driving towards my next objective, Glacier Peak.
Link to full trip report and pictures.
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