Mt. Adams/south spur

July 7-8, 2007

This climb of Mt Adams was a reschedule of last years weather cancellation. It was an absolutely beautiful weekend, with a great group of climbers. The group was exceptionally excited due to waiting a whole year for the opportunity.

My assistant on the climb, Peter Green, and I agreed to a split group on the first day. Peter, Dan Keller and Emily Casey left Friday afternoon to get an early Saturday start. The plan was to hike in to high camp at the Lunch Counter and secure some camp sites. The rest of the group, which included myself, Juli McGlinsky, Chris Steele, Mike Wilkens and Greg Milliman, would follow up later in the day.

We carried two way radios and cell phones to keep in contact between the groups. It did not go as planned as we had no communication between the groups until I received a message on my cell phone explaining their location. The thing is we went ahead and established our own campsite before we were able to get a cell phone signal, thus the message. We eventually did find each other because of Peter’s detailed description of their camp location.

We all enjoyed a nice dinner and agreed on a 4:00 a.m start from Peter’s camp location higher on the mountain. Meanwhile we enjoyed conversation and great views of Mt. Hood and St. Helens, the latter mountain silhouetted against the setting sun.

We awoke to a balmy morning oddly enough at 3:30 a.m at an elevation 9,200 ft. On the walk up to Peters camp we found no need for crampons. We met up with the rest of the group and after a quick logistics briefing we decided it was best to put our crampons on because eventually we would encounter frozen snow.

I set out a brisk pace for the assault on Suksdorf Ridge. I felt strong and the rest of the group seemed to be fine with it. The sun rise as we ascended was absolutely stunning and we made Pikers Peak in about two hours. The wind was blowing pretty hard and we stopped to put on another layer, eat and hydrate.

We set forth again and I stayed back with the slower people as we walked across the caldera for are final climb up the rim to the summit. It was not long before I was out in front again discovering an excellent boot track pretty much in a direct line with the summit. I would not have been this anxious if it wasn't for Peter willing to be the sweep. We switched up this climb because he lead out for Mt Shasta. We all arrived at the sun splashed summit about three and a half hours after leaving the Lunch Counter.

There were splendid views to the north of Mt. Rainer, Goat Rocks, Glacier Peak and the north summit plateau. To the west Mt. St. Helens was giving off vapor plumes. To the south Mt. Hood, Mt. Jefferson, The Three Sisters, Broken Top and Mt. Bachelor were all visible. We were all feeling great so we walked over to the east rim and snapped shots of the great Klikitat Glacier and looked out over eastern Washington.

We began our descent slowly waiting for the sun to soften up the snow for the glissade down from Pikers Peak to the Lunch Counter. The glissade looked a little spooky off the top but after watching a few climbers go down, it did not take long for the rest of us to jump in and slide our happy butts down the slope. We all made it back to camp safe and sound and we leisurely broke camp and dreamily walked and glissaded down the mountain back to the cars.


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