A Quick Trip Summary
Mt Adams was a generally straightforward climb, and while challenging to new mountaineers, easy to follow.
First, go to the Ranger Station in Trout Lake. Instead of veering off at the 141 - adams rec area interesection from 141 to the Mt. Adams rd, continue on to the left along 141, past the small grocery store, gear rental shop, and post office for about another mile. At the Ranger Station, you can get your Cascades pass, go to the bathroom, and on the way back, stop at the shops to get any gear/food/equipment you might need. Keep in mind, the rental shop is closed on Mondays.
I did the South Climb. That meant leaving from the Cold Springs Trailhead. I went back along 141, took a left at Mt. Adams Road, and followed the road signs into the Mt. Adams recreation area towards the Cold Springs Trailhead. Even though, the road's relatively straightforward, it can get a little long, so to make sure you're on track, it can be a good idea to get a free map of the roads leading up to the trailhead @ the ranger station.
From Cold Springs, the trail is pretty wide and well-marked. You follow the south climb route/signs along and eventually you'll get to a field where there's a bunch of rock cairns and poles. While there is a trail here, I noticed footprints everywhere...so I think people were just going from pole to pole. Follow along the poles, and then you'll go through a tiny forest, and then veer along a small ridge to the left and then right onto another ridge going towards the mountain filled with some more shrubs. Mark this spot, as you're actually joining onto a larger trail from that small ridge onto the larger ridge. A lot of people on the way back just continue along the main trail, and miss that point where they should turn left. Anyways, there's still a trail at this point, but it's pretty much - bleh - keep your eyes on the glaciers from here on out - @ least that's what I did to stay on route. The other ridge will lead you to the first glacier, which when you put your crampons and ice axe on, should not be much trouble, as the grade is fairly even. Then, you're on the lunch counter, where there are campsites all up and down, although there are a bunch prior to the first glacier as well. Then you have to climb the second glacier. This one's a bit more steep, but a lot more fun to glissade on the way back down. When you get to the top of the second glacier, you'll be on piker's peak or the false summit. From there, you go to the right, along another glacier. Depending on what you're comfortable with, you can either go right and stick to the snow while you have your crampons and ice axe, or take the crampons and ice axe off, and go straight up to the half bowl glacier on the top. From there, you can see the summit, note it's not the little hut on the far left end of the mt, it's the pile of rocks in the middle where the summit marker is. There's a difference of about 15-20 feet for those of you who want to make sure you get to the official, real summit of the peak. From there, you can see the other big volcanoes/mts in the area - st. helen's, hood, rainier, and baker.
Head back down the way you came, and have fun glissading!
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