Ascent of Mount Adams on 2016-05-27

Climber: Rich Stephens

Others in Party:BMS 914 <4734>
Brett Harris
Date:Friday, May 27, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Mount Adams
    Elevation:12276 ft / 3741 m

Ascent Trip Report

Three of us were in the climbing party. Brett and I drove to Cold Springs Campground. It was questionable if I could make it to the campground in my Jetta but I was able to do so without damage. Bart flew from Las Vegas to Portland and then rented a Jeep and met us at the campground. The snow continued to melt very quickly at the trailhead and we found plenty of places to park.

The permit was $15 each at the ranger station. They indicated that the weather would be a little unstable on the day we planned to climb. The day turned out to be very windy and cold. Fortunately, the clouds were low and we were able to climb above them. We were treated to a very clear, but very windy day.

We left camp at 0235 hours and slogged our way up the winter route of the South Spur route. We basically just followed everyone else’s footprints and ski trails, staying right of Crescent Glacier. The snow was solid and was perfect for crampons. Bart felt nauseous right out of the gate and had to descend about 4 hours into the hike, just before lunch counter, at around 8500’.

Brett and I made our way up to the lunch counter where we talked with a couple of guys (Shawn and Ben) who pitched a tent there the night before. They indicated the wind was very rough and they thought the tent may not hold through the night. They were now contemplating whether they should push to the summit or descend. It was a beautiful, clear day, but it was very windy and very cold. We suggested that they go for the summit, which they eventually did and were successful in doing so.

The wind continued to blow hard. It was difficult to get any breaks without feeling like you would freeze. The hydration water lines on each of our packs froze, even with cold weather protection on the tubes.

Brett and I started up the long climb to Piker’s Peak. This is definitely the hardest part. It rises over 2000 feet above the Lunch Counter, is very steep, and very exposed to the elements. Brett wasn’t feeling very good at this point so I pushed it hard ahead and headed up and over Piker’s Peak and then on my way to the summit. Brett eventually felt sick enough that he descended before he reached Piker’s Peak. The overall ascent time for me was 9.5 hours. A little slow because of the issue we had with sick climbers and dealing with a cold wind.

After the start of my descent, I wasn’t sure where Brett was going to be and I thought I might be making a solo trip back to camp. But I found Brett at Shawn’s and Ben’s camp at the Lunch Counter. He was dealing with some abdominal pain that was likely due from elevation. From here, we glissaded back to camp and found Bart packing up and ready to head back to civilization. Brett and I stayed another night and broke camp the next morning.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:6676 ft / 2034 m
    Route:South Spur (winter route)
    Trailhead:Cold Springs Campground  5600 ft / 1706 m
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Snow on Ground, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Tent Camp
    Nights Spent:2 nights away from roads
    Weather:Cold, Extremely Windy, Clear
Snow and wind below 9000'
Ascent Statistics
    Time:9 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:4 Hours 

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