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Orbitor

Mount Adams - 2017 South Side Anticipated Access

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We are a group of mostly Californians looking to climb Adams this year. Tentative plans were made to go for the south side route over Memorial Day weekend. However, this was before the snow dumps of the unexpectedly wet winter.

 

I have been told by our Oregon friends that Cold Springs campground being accessible by the end of May is unrealistic. I would like to ask the opinions of more experienced people here on a timeline for getting to that trailhead, and what to expect on the mountain. I understand this would be just speculation based on what's happened so far only, but it would help with the planning.

 

As quick background, I have experience with the volcanoes, having led teams on Rainier, Hood and South Sister. These were in the previous "drier" years though.

 

Thanks for your input!

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I did that route a few years ago in June. Had to park at a turn out approx. 3 miles below Cold Springs and hike in. No big deal. You'll likely have to do the same in May but its a big snow year and so may end up parking/hiking considerably further.

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Back in May of 2000, we parked 6-7 miles from the Cold Springs trailhead. Not a big deal, still made it to Lunch Counter despite massively over packing and renting plastic boots from REI. That was the first and last time I attempted to walk a significant distance in plastic boots. There seemed to be a pretty solid boot path so I wouldn't necessarily worry about floatation.

 

A warm and dry spell could shorten up the approach quite a bit, hard to predict this far out.

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Take skis and enjoy the snow! (Or take light trail runners in case you have to road walk). Also a crew of people with shovels can take out a decent road blocking burm in short time if it's only a little ways to dry road and you have chains.

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Do something different and pick a route on the west side that is doable directly from NF-23 like the West Ridge or the Pinnacle Headwall. Shorter approach and would make a great ski in/out.

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These guys are forgetting about the recent burn on the lower slopes which has significantly improved earlier access: lack of trees means the sun melts out the road faster. Years ago we had to walk 7 miles of road on Memorial Day. Back in 2011 we had to walk three miles of road on July 4th weekend due to a single pesky snow bank. (Past the snowbank the road was clear to the campground). I think Memorial Day weekend is probably going to be way to early this year unless you factor in road walking. (ugk!) Good luck!!

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