Climbing block #2 - Mount Adams, WA

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Gary Neben
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Climbing block #2 - Mount Adams, WA

Post by Gary Neben » Sat Aug 05, 2017 12:25 pm

Pikers Peak 11657
Mount Adams 12276
Suksdorf Ridge 9402
2017/07/30, Sunday

Start/End Loc: South Climb Trail #183, Cold Springs CG
Distance/Elevation: 13.2 miles RT/6907 feet elevation gain

This is the second block in a block of peaks that I came to the PNW to do in 1½ weeks. The first block of peaks centered on Mount Olympus that I did with fellow Coloradans Jim and Kurt, and the third block of peaks centered on Mount Stuart that, like Adams, I did by myself.

There’s a lot of information readily available on Adams. This is my summary of the extremely popular South Spur Route.

To find the TH simply type Cold Springs CG into Google Maps and you’re all set. :thumbup: The initial dirt road, easily driven by car, turns into a rough dirt road for the final miles after a right-hand turn. This rough road is also passable by car if you take it slow. My Nissan Altima rental did just fine.

The CG is a crowded jumble of haphazard parking and occasional clearings for tents. There are toilets but bring an extra roll when they run out. There was no water so bring your own. It is a forest fee area (purchased elsewhere) or use your inter-agency pass like I did - either one needs to be visibly displayed.
While driving in, you get a good view of Adams and the route. I have marked up an attached photo showing the route and the three high points.
The entire area up to just below the glacier was completely burned in 2012 and is in recovery. Thus it is a very dusty and dirty hike in on the trail. There is no water source anywhere except below the glacier at Morrison Creek. Everyone camping higher up is melting snow. There are many bivy sites on the way up, above Morrison Creek, in the rocks - not just at Lunch Counter. Lunch Counter itself is an expansive rocky area, interspersed by some snow, with many bivy sites.
Even though the general weather was clear and quite warm, the hike up was chilly and most people were layered up on the summit. The snow was very firm and even icy in some spots. However on the way down, everything became a furnace and the snow was very soft. Notice the deep glissading grooves that people enjoy once it heats up (see photo).

The climbing is easy to moderate, axe and crampons are a very good idea. If going up early and the snow is firm, Microspikes would do nicely. There are short sections of maybe up to 35 or 40 degrees.
I was hoping to walk over to another high point, The Pinnacle 12100, about .5 miles NW from the summit of Adams. However, there appeared to be a significant bergschrund at its base and there were uniformly deep suncups between me and the high point that would have taken forever to walk through (see photo). I decided it wasn’t worth the effort.

One thing I couldn’t figure out is why the maps show the true summit about 200 feet NE of where everybody goes. Indeed, there was some kind of structure half buried in the snow and a bunch of flags where everyone snaps their summit shot (see photos). Virtually no one walked over to the “true” summit. I walked over there and it does appear lower, but I didn’t have a level. I think only two other people walked over there besides me. Do all of these people really not summit Adams? :thinking:
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Beauvais Jeanmard
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Re: Climbing block #2 - Mount Adams, WA

Post by Beauvais Jeanmard » Wed Aug 23, 2017 11:00 am

Whenever I get up there, I will do this peak!

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