Mt. Adams-Adams Glacier
July 4-7, 1985
We left Eugene at 7 a.m. on the 4th of July, and commenced hiking from the trailhead on the northwest side of Mt. Adams at 11:30 p.m. We arrived at the base of the route in three hours of moderately paced hiking, and set up camp at approximately 7300 feet an the glacier. We enjoyed a beautiful view of Mt. Rainier from camp. Friday was spent surveying the route with binoculars and observing the progress of three parties. Our spirits were lifted by the knowledge that one party of the three made it through the maze of crevasses and seracs. The other two parties retreated, and later assured us that the route was virtually impassable.
We started climbing at approximately 3:30 a.m. on the 6th. We traveled roped virtually from camp due to crevasses. The key portion of the route is approximately 2000 vertical feet of sustained 30°–40° glacier climbing with a couple of pitches to 60° and substantial exposure to open crevasses. The crux of the climb came at the upper icefall at about 11,300 feet where seracs and the absence of snowbridges required careful route finding and belayed leads. We took an exit ramp to the left around the gaping bergschrund at the top of the glacier and walked the remaining one-half mile to the summit over gentle snowfields. Descent was by the north cleaver (a.k.a. the north ridge), a tedious route on scree and rotten volcanic debris, and steep enough to be subject to some rockfall. Time to the summit was 7 hours, descent 3½ hours.
The Adams Glacier is an excellent climb for small parties of fit climbers with enough experience and poise to deal with the objective dangers. The route will typically be very difficult to complete late in the season. Retreat off the route is slow and requires continuous belaying.
Climbers were nonmembers Paul Winther, Jim Davis, Dave Schroeder and Steve Jeffries, Obsidians were Ray Smith and leader Lee Lashway.