Mt. Adams via Mazama Glacier

August 14, 2005

Four of us left Bird Creek Meadows trailhead and hiked the 3000 vertical feet to camp in just less than four hours. We had a nice camp spot right at the base of the Mazama glacier. It was a flat spot about 50 yards by 50 yards with a stream running through it. We got up at 3:30 a.m. to start the climb but it was so dark we chose not to go out on the glacier because the crevasses were open and we needed more light. So we started at 5:00 a.m. instead.

The first 1000 feet of the climb was the most exciting. It went up a 25 degree slope that was heavily crevassed with a huge bergschrund running all the way across the glacier. We weaved in and out between the crevasses, some of which were as much as 100 feet deep. When we got to the bergschrund, we found a nice bridge to the right. We crossed it and from there the slope flattened out a little and there weren’t as many crevasses.

At 10,000 feet, we took a break, and had some food. From there, we had another 25–30 degree pitch for about another 1500 feet. Then we ran into the standard south side route, at the top of Piker’s Peak, the false summit. From there we took the rope off and walked to the summit, arriving by 10:00 a.m.

The weather was beautiful. We could see Mts. St. Helens and Rainer, Mt. Hood, and Mt. Jefferson. We didn’t stay long, though, because the snow was softening fast. We descended back to the top of the bergschrund. From here we had to use extreme caution because the snow was soft and we had huge, open crevasses below us. So we put in some pickets, kicked nice steps, took our time, and returned safely back to camp by 2:30 p.m.

This was a very exciting route to climb, but I don’t think I’ll climb it this late in the year again. It would be outstanding in early July during a big snow year. We packed up camp, and descended to the cars by 5:30. Climbers were Craig Renkert (co-leader), Mark Slipp (leader), Chris Steele, and Steve Stuckmeyer.

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