Going back to Mt. Adams to summit was a priority for this summer. When Ryan told me Sarah had Adams on her mind for the weekend I immediately got to planning. This was the perfect opportunity to get the summit I had missed a few months ago and do a girls only ascent. Lindsay was also interested in getting outside for the weekend so I invited her along. Sometimes it is nice to leave the boys behind.
We left Seattle around 5:30pm and after a brief stop at Burgerville for some sandwiches, shakes, and asparagus fries we made our way down to Trout Lake, WA. We stopped by the Ranger Station to pick up climbing permits and then headed up the road to the South Climb trailhead. This time the road was snow free the whole way up! Driving up the road definitely made me feel better about not summiting the last time. That was a long hike Ryan and I had to do and with extra weight! We set up camp and were sleeping by ~12:30am under the stars in Lindsay’s awesome 3-person tent.
We woke up at 5:30am as the sun was rising and got ready as fast as we could without dropping stuff on the head of the guy sleeping next to my car. By about 6:30am we were on the move so I guess we weren’t all that fast as far as getting ready goes. This seems to be a trend with early morning wakeups. The trail was snow free for a half-mile or so but we were able to skin soon enough. Skis off of our backs=increased happiness. We made South Butte by 8:30am and Lunch Counter by 10:30am, which is about 1,000’/hour. While temperatures were high and the sun was out, there was a constant breeze that kept us comfortable in pants and long sleeves.
After a somewhat prolonged lunch at Lunch Counter we began the 2,000’ climb to the top of Piker’s Peak (11,687’), the false summit of Adams. It seemed like this face was the bottleneck as we climbed with about 20 other people for this portion of the mountain. Most climbers were on skis but a few were boot packing and we felt bad for them (and Sarah made sure to let everyone know that we thought they were silly). As we gained elevation the winds began to pick up and towards the summit of Piker’s Peak I was pretty sure I was going to get blown over. Luckily the skinning was easy so fear of death was minimal. We had one more quick snack break on the face before reaching the summit of Piker’s Peak. Now finally the true summit was in sight! It is amazing how much staring at a false summit all day plays with your mind.
We were easily able to descend down a few hundred feet on skins to the base of the summit face. At this point the winds were constant and the speed had increased. We took a final snack break (although I was barely able to eat anything solid due to altitude) and pushed on to the summit. Each step was a battle against the wind and the altitude but having the summit in sight kept me motivated. The constant thumbs up from Sarah and smiles from Lindsay were nice too.
Once on the summit I immediately ducked into the shelter built earlier that day and squeezed in next to Sarah and Lindsay who had summited just minutes before me. We had made it! 12,281’ by about 2pm! We had the only other woman we saw all day take a group shot and after organizing our stuff so it wouldn't blow away we decided it was time to crawl to the true summit which was 15ft away…crawling was necessary to avoid being blown over by the now ~70mph winds. The views were spectacular and we were sufficiently rewarded for the efforts of the day. All of the volcanoes were out and the sun was shining. Rainier, Glacier, Helens, Hood, The Sisters, Jefferson. After a few pictures and another quick snack the 6,000ft descent to the snow line began. Although the original plan had been to descend the SW Chutes we decided to stick to the South Climb due to the wind.
Most of the descent was perfect corn snow, only a few sticky parts, which made this one of the best ski descents I have had. Super long, perfect weather, perfect conditions, great company. We made good time and found the trail easily. Looking back at what we had skied (and climbed) made us feel pretty good about the day. After a quick hike on dirt we were back to the cars by 5pm where we were surprised to find three beers hidden for us by a friend of Lindsay’s we had run into at the Ranger Station the night before. We packed up the car, stopped briefly for Thai Food served by the nicest waiter ever, and headed home jamming to NOW! 1. In bed by 1am after a very successful day.
I am glad I was able to go back and summit a mountain that had defeated me before. I am even happier I was able to do it with two awesome girls! There will definitely be more volcanoes in our future but next time I will make sure to put even more sunscreen on my nose.