Start at the Cold Springs Campground (5,600') and hike up the South Climb Trail #183. This trail is very easy to follow and will take you to the Crescent Glacier where the route gets slightly more interesting. To the west are numerous rock shelters for setting up camp before Lunch Counter, however, most people will continue on by asending the ridge to the west and crossing the glacier east across to "Lunch Counter" at about 9,250' which is at the base of the main part of the South Climb, or Suksdorf Ridge at 9,400. While its easy to do the round-trip in a day, many may want to spend a night at "Lunch Counter" or earlier where there are many walled rock shelters have been built.
This route is the most straight-forward on Adams and was regularly climbed by mules early on and by many dogs today. From "Lunch Counter," head north up either the main snow field
or Suksdorf Ridge to the west. By July, many steps will already be present on the snow field for easy hiking. Once you reach Piker's Peak at 11,657', aka the false summit, continue north to the true summit
Through July, the most popular methods of descent are glissading / skiing the south snowfield or skiing the Southwest Chute (connecting back via the "Round-the-Mountain Trail"). The glissade on Mount Adams is almost legendary with 4 or more glissades possible on the descent including the Piker's Peak to Lunch Counter descent of over 2,000 vertical feet! By July, glissade chutes are formed similar to the slides in water parks or bobsled chutes where you can swing your body into the turns. Both the South Snowfield and the Southwest Chute offer intermediate level skiing terrain.
Be sure to time your ascent and descent for optimal ski and glissade snow conditions. Often, you will not be able to get perfect conditions for the run from the summit to Piker's Peak and from there to Lunch Counter. A common trade-off is to leave the summit a bit early when the snow is still on the hard side but to make it to Piker's Peak for a good corn run down to Lunch Counter.
Although this route is considered non-technical, crampons and and ice axe are recommended year-round. Bring an ice axe or ski pole for glissading. During the winter, skis or snowshoes may be desirable at "Lunch Counter" and above.
ADDITIONAL ROUTE INFORMATION:
USDA FS Gifford Pinchot NF Route Description