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[TR] Mt. Adams - North Face Northwest Ridge Ski 06/11/2019

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Trip: Mt. Adams - North Face Northwest Ridge Ski

Trip Date: 06/11/2019

Trip Report:


There's a good amount of beta out there already on this line, so here's a short conditions report. 



Left Hood River around 4:00 PM on Monday, hiking around 6:30 PM. We hit patchy snow about halfway to the camp, but decided it would be faster to keep the skis on our back and just hike it. Made a nice camp just short of the typical high camp ridge and enjoyed a nice sunset. 



Got a leisurely start the next AM, moving around 6:45 AM. We could almost ski to the base of the north ridge, just one or two short carries before hitting the ridge proper. 


Looking towards the ridge. 



Looking up the North Ridge with another climber ahead of us. The goats tracks went almost all the way to the top!



From this vantage point, the ridge seemed really straightforward. We booted our way up for a while, and then hit a section with two option: either up a short chimney/scramble or over the ridge (we were on the left side) into a really loose chute. I headed up the chimney, which didn't go anywhere, and had to come back down and around. 

This didn't seem to lead anywhere:



We did a bit of downclimbing and some traversing on frightening rock to get onto the N. Face proper, and followed some snow patches to get back on the N. Ridge. Once back on the ridge we slogged up for what seemed like eternity.




As the photos show, the snow was pretty wet and sloppy, and we saw some good sized naturals come down the Lava Headwall on our way up. I was pretty skeptical that our line would be in condition, but we figured there was only one way to find out. We topped out on the ridge around 1:30, and melted some snow and ate snacks, and were treated to views of Rainier, Goat Rocks, Baker, Glacier Peak, and the Enchantments (we think).  Both of us commented on how much of a slog the N ridge felt. We both climb Hood pretty consistently in good time, but were amazed at how painful this route felt. From here we put skins on and headed across the ridge to get to the top of the Pinnacle, where our line started. 

Trevor is smiling because there's skis on his feet. Rainier in the background. 



Skinning across the top. That black dot in the middle is Trevor. 



We skinned to the top of the Pinnacle and dropped into our line around 2:30. The snow was excellent. Slightly grabby up top, perfect corn for the majority, and a little wet on the bottom. The line is truly amazing, with thousands of feet of fall line skiing that only gets steeper and steeper the farther you go. 


Trevor cruising on the upper section:



Getting steeper:





The choke is pretty wide, and had the best snow of the day. It took a little scouting and traversing to piece together the exit onto the Adams glacier, but it was cool skiing next to the seracs and crevasses. 



The Line:

Click image for larger version.   Name: 00-view-of-route-lines.jpg  Views: 26  Size: 864.8 KB  ID: 285515


Overall, amazing ski line. I don't know why you would choose to climb the N. Ridge unless you're going down another way. If I were to do it over again, I'd probably find a different way up. 

Gear Notes:
Axe, Crampons, Skis (why would you walk down a volcano?)

Approach Notes:
Beautiful hike through the forest.

Edited by AlecE

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Great report, thanks! 

The N ridge is always a slog and can lead you into some terrible rock, for sure. Now that I've been up there 3 times, I know that with a bit of poking around you can find an easy way. I guess it's just the easiest option up the N side. Jason Hummell likes to do it in tennis shoes and apparently has done it once in sandals.

Actually, looking at your photo, it looks like you dropped onto the snow above the big tuna-shaped snowfield. On my first adventure/misadventure on that side, we ascended that snowfield as a possible "shortcut" and ended up climbing one pitch of low 5th class rock (solid) to the choss piles above. I know now that staying near the crest is better.

Edited by Kameron

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