Adams Glacier - Mt Adams' North Face
For those with the appropriate skills and equipment, the Adams Glacier boasts a greater technical challenge and more solitude than the south side routes. The approach passes quickly through pleasant, dry pine forests. Campsites can be situated among beautiful meadows with plenty of running water. This is my favorite side of the mountain.
Steeper and more technical than the more popular South Spur route, it is still doable by most competent mountaineers with ice climbing experience. Climbers can expect a lot of moderately steep terrain punctuated by shorter, steeper sections that may require a belay.
The best time to attempt this route is late spring (after the road to the trailhead melts out) through early summer. Usually June - early July. Later in season will mean a more broken up glacier and more rock fall on the descent.
Although doable car to car in a long day, the camping is so pleasant it makes up for carrying a heavier pack. Two days allows for a leisurely approach hike and time to admire the alpine meadows.
Getting ThereFrom Randle, Washington on US 12, east of I-5, drive 32 miles on road 23. Turn left on road 2329, past Taklakh Lake in 2 miles, reaching the trailhead in 5.7 miles.
Route DescriptionThe nature of the route, a giant icefall, means that the route may change considerably from year to year and throughout the season. The route one chooses to follow will largely be dictated by crevasses and seracs.
Begin climbing on low angle glacier at 7,000 feet. As the angle steepens the glacier will become more broken up and short, steep sections will be encountered. A good stategy is to stick to the right hand side until able to cut back left, high on the glacier to gain the summit plateau. The summit is reached after a long (1/2 mile) trudge across the high glacial plateau.
Descend via the North Ridge back to your campsite. The North Ridge is not technical, but is relatively exposed in places and has steep snow and loose rock. Take your time.
4-5 long ice screws
Crevasse rescue gear
External LinksLink to a trip report by Loren and Hannah. The photos nicely depict some of the challenges one can expect on the route. Adams Glacier Trip Report
Another nice trip report: Adams Glacier Trip Report
Additional resourcesGood descriptions of the approach and route can be found in the following guidebooks:
Selected Climbs in the Cascades, Volume I Jim Nelson and Peter Potterfield.
Cascade Alpine Guide, Climbing and High Routes. 1: Columbia River to Stevens Pass. Fred Beckey. Published by the Mountaineers.
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