Mt Adams: Among the Hordes... - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 07-19-2009, 02:24 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: BC, Canada.
Posts: 1,586
Default Mt Adams: Among the Hordes...

Almost on a whim, Geoff, Brandon and I decided to road-trip down to southern Washington on Friday to tackle this 12,000+ foot volcano. It was a bit of a crazy trip... Here was our time-frame:

1) Crossed the border in Sumas at 6pm Friday
2) Arrived at the trailhead 3:30am Sat morning. All three of us napped in Brandon's Suzuki Swift for a couple hours, completely bagged.
3) Started hiking at 6am Sat morn
4) Summitted by noon
5) Back to the car by 4pm
6) Crossed back into Canada at 1am Sat night/Sun morning.

With gas and meals/munchies we each did this trip in under 50 bucks.

Summitting Mt Adams was not what I expected. I knew it was not a technical climb (via the southern main route), but I did not expect it to be so easy, nor for the mountain to be swarming with hikers. We were reminded of old pics from the Chillcoot Trail, Yukon, during the gold-rush days, with people lined in single-file, slowly trudging up the snow slopes. It was very crowded on the summit, and on the hike down it's no exaggeration to say we passed over 100 people heading up to make base-camp: the young, the old, the beautiful, the obese. I made note of a few bizarre things we saw which I didn't catch on film:

* people with crampons attached to running shoes, slopping through soft afternoon snow.
* a dude playing guitar on the summit
* a nice group from Tri-Cities who told us, "This is our first hike!"
* A group of three Mexican-Americans wearing the fanciest gear ever, but who were having a very hard time. The one fella's face was so white with sun-screen I swear he'd have survived a nuclear blast.
* people wearing shorts and jeans on the summit. (I was bundled up, and still chilly...)
* a dog on the sub-summit.
* a father with two young sons, all with their own ice-axes-- very cool.

So in a sense we were disappointed with the crowds and the ease of the hike. We were sort of hoping for more of a mountaineering experience. However, after telling the father and sons that there were almost 50 people on the summit, the father said something that changed my perspective: "Well that's 50 people that love the mountain." To me that captured the essence of why we were all there. Whether one had crampons unnecessarily attached to tennis sneakers or $400 mountaineering boots, or one's face was so painted up with sun-screen he looked like a Mexican-mime, or whether one was burning up in a tanktop with no hat, woefully unprepared, we were all there because we love being in the mountains, challenging ourselves to take another step towards the summit. In the end, Geoff, Brandon and I decided it was a great little trip, if somewhat of a whirlwind. Here's a few pics:


Mt St Helens at about 7am.

Mt hood appears to be floating off in the distance.

Nothing but a rubble heap...

Mt hood from the sub-summit.

Looking down from the sub-summit

Reinier from summit.


Summit Plaque.

The Hordes...

Myself, Geoff, and Brandon. Brandon brought the flag-- was pretty fun watching people wonder where the hell we were from.

Bumslide from Heaven.... A 1500+ foot bum slide drops from the sub-summit. I was behind Geoff, but the bloke in front of him stopped abruptly for no apparent reason, causing a traffic jam. Geoff almost ate my boots for lunch, and I whacked myself in the head with my pole while arresting.

So if you're looking to bag a big mountain, and don't mind a strenuous but easy slog, check out Mt. Adams. Bring your mule! Bring your tuba! Heck, bring your Uncle Muchacha from Whoknowswhere! Just don't bring others down....

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post #2 of (permalink) Old 07-19-2009, 05:58 PM
Headed for the Mountains
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Calgary, AB, Canada.
Interest: Hiking
Posts: 259

Great views and pictures. Looks like a fun trip down. Did you start at the Cold Springs trail head? If so, how was the signage and road to Cold Springs? Might be in the area this w/e.
What were the temps/wind like on top?
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 07-19-2009, 06:42 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: BC, Canada.
Posts: 1,586

quote:Originally posted by Eco

Great views and pictures. Looks like a fun trip down. Did you start at the Cold Springs trail head? If so, how was the signage and road to Cold Springs? Might be in the area this w/e.
What were the temps/wind like on top?

Thanks for the note. Yes we started at Cold Springs. Honestly, it was dark in the middle of the night and we were tired, and I was passed out in the back seat a lot, but we used a road map and directions from Googlearth. The ranger station in Trout Lake, where we got permits, might be useful for info. I know we took a wrong turn once on gravel, but easily backtracked and found the right way. The drive to the trailhead is pretty. Brandon said it was about 4-5 degrees at summit, but it was windy so felt much colder. I needed gloves and to be bundled up- however, some people wore shorts, so go figure...
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 07-19-2009, 07:00 PM
Hittin' the Trails
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Burnaby, BC, Canada.
Interest: Hiking, Mountaineering, Climbing, Camping, Gold panning.
Posts: 21

Great TR Clayton and funny too. Another great adventure under our belts. Thanks for taking the time to do this up.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 07-21-2009, 11:01 AM
Off the Beaten Path
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Vancouver, BC
Interest: skiing
Posts: 693

It can be a bit of circus up there! Same for any volcano that has an easy road access.

If you want solitude and more of mountaineering experience climb Adams in March, April or May, nobody up there and with weather a bit more harsh even the Suksdorf Ridge can be quite challenging.

The South Ridge attracts 99% of the traffic. SW chutes or Avalanche Glacier share the same trailhead (and the final summit bit) but offer solitude and and a bit more technical challenge.

The N side has some long glacier climbs that see very few people.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 07-21-2009, 11:51 AM
High on the Mountain Top
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Ladner, BC, Canada.
Interest: this and that, here and there I may be boring, but i\'m never really bored... and that\'s all that matters. Isn\'t it?
Posts: 1,207

The next time I go there, i'll take your advice and bring my Tuba....and my skis.

neat to see it with less snow. Great job on your timing... that's tough to do!

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post #7 of (permalink) Old 07-21-2009, 11:55 AM
Scaling New Heights
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Portland, Oregon, USA.
Posts: 51

Yep, Adams is a zoo on weekends. For more solitude, the Mazama Glacier or North Ridge may be a better bet. You'll get 1/1000th the amount of humanity until you get to the summit.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 07-26-2009, 03:18 PM
Off the Beaten Path
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: north vancouver, british columbia, Canada.
Interest: ice hockey,ski mountaineering,mountain biking ,rock climbing,trail running,skateboarding
Posts: 628

Good stuff thanks for sharing!

Running clouds is correct you can find peace and quiet on the north side!

Nice ski routes to!
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 07-27-2009, 10:55 PM
Summit Master
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Popkum, BC, Canada.
Interest: Hiking, biking, kayaking, swimming, tai chi, meditation.
Posts: 6,099

I think you're from BC, hurray! Great report of an area I'd like to visit even though it's well trodden.
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