I live on the east coast, but I'm looking to head out to climb Mt Adams, the south spur route, either the last week of April, or first week in May with some friends. The ranger station has been helpful so far, but I'm just looking for anyone, that's been on the mountain recently, or has some experiences on climbing Adams in early season. I know that we have to snowshoe our way on the road, going to cold springs campground. In early season, I'm guessing there is no running streams and well have to fully rely on melting snow for water right? From cold springs, how is it navigating up to lunch counter? Is the trail defined while your in the trees? Also would the wooden posts leading up to lunch counter be completely buried? How's the snow pack, was wondering as far as avalanche danger if wind slabs is something to be concerned about.
To answer your questions, the road to Cold Springs is the long way up the mountain, but there are no markers for any other route. Once above the TH, don't count on finding markers, although there are some. And if the weather is bad, you won't be able to find anything. Above timberline you can get in full white-out conditions (and there are 5 or 6k to gain above timberline). Make sure you can cope with that.
Avalanche conditions change by the hour, so start studying the conditions now so you can make an informed opinion when you see what YOUR conditions are.
Thanks for those links and the info. Yes were fully aware of the demand that's needed for this. Were going to have extra fuel/food so if we wanted to wait out for a weather window we could. But if the mountain doesn't let us, you live to climb another day. Even though well have map/compass/gps I wasn't sure if there would be a obvious boot path up to lunch counter at this time of the year. Or from there up to the false summit
It's been many years since I've done it early. Back in those days early season was maybe June. Had to park at Morrison Creek CG and walk from there.
There was no clear boot path. Because it was June, warm, lots of sunlight, there were hundreds of trails all over the place going up thru the woods - many of them were made by skiiers.
Get a good topo map and compass and learn how to use them before you go. It's not hard if you have a compass with adjustable declination. Bring some colored tape and/or wands to mark your route, and turn around and look where you've come from often as you go up. Even doing that, it will all look EXACTLY the same when you start down. Do not depend solely on the GPS. It could fail.
If you've been on the route before, and know where the Crescent Glacier is you could choose to go on the ridge either to the left (that's the normal summer trail route), or the ridge to the right of the glacier which passes just left of that red butte (think it's called South Butte, but check your map). Stay off the glacier to the right of that ridge.
I'd plan on melting snow for water but there may be some running water if you are lucky. Bring a snow shovel so you can dig down if you hear water running under the snow. No shovel = no water in that situation.
Carry some kind of communicaion device. One of those Family Radio Service radios with a long range that you can get at home depot would be better than nothing - leave one of the batteries out of it until you need to use it in case the power button gets pushed "on" in your pack, etc.
If you have doubts about how to get from lunch counter to the false summit then it sounds like you have not been on the mountain before. You can see the false summit from lunch counter. If you haven't been on the mountain, or if you can't use map/compass, I'd wait until June or July when the path will be obvious due to lots of people going up.