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Trip Report

Mount Adams South Climb — Saturday, Aug. 1, 2015

South Cascades
Obligatory summit picture
​​​​Happy Washington Trails Day! To start the month and 2015 Hike-a-thon off right, a group of ​friends (11 of us total) decided to summit Mt. Adams.​​ ​We left Seattle just before 6 am on Saturday, and Ellie and I made the stop at the ranger station in Trout Lake to purchase permits for our group. The rangers were friendly, but I did get grilled on how prepared I was to not get lost on the mountain. Apparently having a GPS and following the highway of climbers to the summit is not adequate for them, or perhaps not adequate for the older woman who seemed to want to make a point to me.​ ​Yeah, I know I look like I'm 16 (although I'm 29), and I'm a girl, but I'm actually very good at researching and preparing myself and my friends for what we are getting ourselves into. Plus, I've climbed the mountain before! We just barely managed to beat the parade going through the Trout Lake community that morning, and after the long, twisting and treacherous drive up to the trailhead, we met our group to hand out goodies - climbing permits and homemade blue bags - and were on the trail by noon. It was a HOT climb for the first few miles on the dusty trail. We made frequent stops in any shade available, and spent some time cooling off and filtering additional water in Morrison Creek​ before continuing on. Multiple boot paths make it easy to get off trail, so beware and make sure you don't start scrambling up sheer boulder fields - if so, get back on trail. Snow started at about 9,000 feet, so we donned our crampons for the final climb up to Lunch Counter. There were plenty of camping spaces left when we arrived around 5 pm, and we had our pick of the best spots to pitch 5 tents together. It felt good to put our packs down and wander around, enjoying the views of Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Hood. Most of us felt the altitude immediately once we started setting up camp - make sure you don't sit down and stand up too quickly! This passed after a couple hours. There was a good spot to filter water about 200 yards from our camp, so we re-filled everyone's water bladders and nalgenes and enjoyed the ice cold refreshment. The snow is melting quickly, and there is plenty of water to filter up here. We all re-hydrated ourselves and quickly got to making dinner, so that we could enjoy the sunset. It was beautiful! We even saw a few mountain goats about a hundred yards from our camp, and they made a nice picture against the backdrop of dusty pinks and purples. We were all exhausted, so retreated to our tents not long after the sun went down. The nearly full moon was very bright all night long, and the temperature likely didn't get below 50. I slept soundly although was a little warm, but several in our group had trouble with the altitude. We woke just before sunrise on Sunday, and fueled up with oatmeal and peanut butter and coffee. It was nice leaving all our gear and only taking what we needed to the summit. The climb starts gradually enough, although our legs were tired from the day before, but soon angles nearly straight up as you get close to the top of Piker's Peak. Our group ranged in strength and ability, but everyone regrouped at the false summit before continuing on to the true summit. Once past the flat, the snow is nearly all gone along the trail to the summit. We took our crampons off for the final push to the top. It's bizarre to see the summit so bare! When I was here last in August 2004, only the flag pole on the top of the mine shack was visible. After enjoying the views, refueling with some lunch and a celebratory pass of the flask, a short nap and many many pictures later, we began our descent. You can glissade from the top of Pikers Peak all the way back down to Lunch Counter. This is, in my opinion, the best part :) We quickly packed up, and then began the LONG trek down the mountain. Clouds rolled in and began raining on us, which actually felt nice in the warm humidity. The descent seemed to go on forever, and we were more than excited to finally see the parking lot, where a couple coolers full of cold beer and tasty snacks awaited us. Definitely a great trip, and I'm so glad I got to enjoy it with a bunch of friends crazy enough to keep joining Ellie and I on our adventures! Don't forget to support my Hike-a-Thon endeavors!
Adjusting crampons
Sunset at Lunch Counter
Halfway there!
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