Mount Adams Date: July 10, 2003
Author: Dean Molen
Did the after hours self-register at the Trout Lake Ranger Station. I found the road to Cold Springs fine although prior to the last three miles there is a washboard stretch of road that threatened to rattle out all of the bolts of my once-solid Honda Accord.
I went in on a Thursday evening and decided to dispense with pulling out a tent at the Cold Springs CG and just camp in my Honda Accord (back seat) as has become my habit. I met Bob Crocken, a guy from the Tri-cities and a guy who can cover some ground and take some great pics at the same time. I woke up at 4 a.m. and so I just decided to get up and get moving. Grabbing a quickie breakfast, i was on the trail a bit before 5 a.m. One of the nice things about this time of year is that it starts to get light around 5 a.m. so I didn't have to use my headlamp very long. I hit snow at 6,400 feet and it was pretty much the norm the rest of the way. Mt. Adams is HUGE, so plan accordingly. I took 3 quarts of water and it was barely enough and glacier type goggles are a must at this time. Bob, who got up about a half hour after me, passed me at about the 8000 foot mark, moving at a very good pace. As I made my way up the snow field towards the lunch counter, four skiers who started out from a campsite I had passed as I made my way up, caught up with me and for awhile we hiked up together, passing some idle chatter until I stopped to take some pictures. I was to envy their rapid mode of descent a little later on in the day.
The lunch counter area served as a good spot to stop and have a snack and camel up a bit and soon I was making the long slog up towards Pikers Peak. While I carried crampons, I did not need them nor did I need my ice axe as my trekking poles did just fine considering the snow conditions. I must admit it was somewhat of a shock when I crested the false summit of Pikers Peak to see that the summit was still a mile away and a thousand feet higher. Oh well, I had to put on all my warm clothes though because the wind was soooo cold. As I traversed the top of the rocky area I met up with Bob C. who had already been to the summit and was on his way down. I figured he was a good hour ahead of me (or more) at this point but we exchanged greetings and I went up and he went down.
Across the snowfield to the bare patch that was two steps up and one step down until I got back on snow again and continued my way up to the summit. I observed my 4 skier friends skiing down from the summit and realized that I needed to start thinking about adding that to my arsenal. I fought the wind and clouds that swirled around me but before long I was at the pole sticking out of the snow that was the top of the cabin or old lookout building. That was all I could see of it was that pole and to make sure I got the highest spot, I did some walking around and took several pictures of the summit and Mt. Rainier which was dominant to the Northwest. What a view.
I ended up losing the CF card with these pics but that is another story. In fact that CF card is still up on Mt. Adams, most likely near a rock I sat on to change cards. Doh.
The glissade down from Pikers Peak was absolutely the highlight of the whole day. Almost as good as the one on Mt. St. Helens that was below the Dog's Head of the pre-eruptive St. Helens. I was back at the lunch counter within ten minutes with a truly stupid grin on my face. The best part was when you whizzed on by those who were struggling upward and watched the envy on their faces. From there it was a slog back down the mountain.
I had only seen ten people besides my self on the mountain Friday a.m. but that changed in the late afternoon as I counted more than 60 people heading up to camp at the Lunch Counter. One guy I talked to said that over 100 had registered at the ranger station and this didn't include all of those still coming in late Friday or on Saturday. Mid-week is a great time to do this one. Great summit (cold and VERY windy above Pikers Peak), from the top of Pikers Peak to the Lunch Counter is the awesome glissade I've ever had. However, in spite of all my recent summits in Oregon, I found Mt. Adams to be one heck of a workout. 12 hours car to car. A great day and I had a nice dinner in Hood River. Yum.