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jamessponaugle

Adams Glacier Route - why not descend the Glacier?

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I've been trying to gather all of the info I can for Adams - Adams Glacier route, and have noticed that in every trip report I've read so far, folks seem to descend via North Ridge or some other route. Can I presume that even with a good early alpine start, it's not very safe coming back down the Glacier? Also, there seem to be somewhat mixed impressions on the difficulty of this route. summitpost rates it a 2 - straightforward glacier travel. One book I have (Falcon - Climbing the Cascade Volcanoes), rates it a 4.. more difficult than they rate Rainier Liberty Ridge?!?! I've seen some folks reporting two tool sort of climbing at times. I'm not sure if that was optional playing around in crevases, or required stuff. Any clarification appreciated. Should I be carrying an extra axe?

 

Oh, and any recent info about the state of the route (or just recent pictures of the Glacier) is definitely welcome. I'll reciprocate with a good trip report after I attempt this route with a team of four on the weekend of July 1st.

 

-James

Edited by jamessponaugle

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As with most routes it depends on when you hit it. Late in the season, the climbing is harder. Right now I would venture that it is fairly easy, but changing fast. It is easier to down climb the north ridge than it is adams glacier for the most part. Going down steeply or less depends on you.

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The North Ridge is an easier descent and drops you off right at where you might camp.

 

I used two tools, I like the security it offers as much of the terrain was 45-50 degrees. It would have been much harder to negiotiate the steeper steps with just a single axe.

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As mentioned above, depends on the time of year and luck. I have been on it in late june and it was definately nice to have the extra tool. We barely squeeked by without any gnarly ice climbing but a week after, serious ice falls would have been required climbed to get through the upper schrund. Better to be prepared for gnar-gnar than to have to bale because of terrain/gear issues. Or worse, some climbing rangers hinted that one of the deaths years ago on lib ridge may have a lack of second tool as one of the factors.

 

There is very little doubt as to the descent option. Going back down the glacier is plain stupid. The crevasses are plenty and chaotic. The ground is steep. It is hardly a "glacier route" in the typical nature of glacier climbs.

 

I have never been on lib ridge so I can't compare the two. But from other people's descriptions of lib ridge, I would say that adams glacier is harder. A fine route.

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I have done both Lib Ridge and Adams Glacier. I found them to be about equal in terms of steepness and technical difficulty.

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I haven't done Lib Ridge, so I can't compare, but here's my experience on Adams Glacier in 2004. First of all, we did it in mid-July with perfect snow conditions for cramponing. Most of the climb feels like ~40-45 degrees. There was a ~300 ft section of ~50 degrees where we used 2 tools and protection. Lots of cool navigation through jumbled seracs and crevasses. There was a steep and small snow bridge on the climber's left side across what appears to be the last big crevasse. Another week and that bridge probably was gone, making it necessary to do some vertical ice climbing to get past that crevasse.

 

North ridge is a nice low-key way to descend and it brings you out very close to the base of the Adams Glacier.

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I have done both at various times in the past, and I did both once in the same month of the same year (June 1991), so I would expect snow conditions to be similar that year for the two mountains.

 

I found Adams Glacier to be a straight-forward, casual climb at that time, with one other partner. We did not take a second tool, but we used running belays (2 points per lead) and simul-ed the steep parts. We only stopped to hand off pickets to each other/swing the lead. It seemed to me like it was never steeper than 45 degrees. There was no schrund in June of 1991. We did not bivy.

 

Earlier that same month, I, with the same partner and another, did LR as a team of three. We shared a second tool (whoever was in the lead got the ice axe), and bivied at Thumb Rock. There was a schrund. This trip seemed harder, most likely because our team ended up short-roping a couple of Coloradoans and a Californian to the LC summit. They had overestimated themselves, and underestimated the route. We picked them up just below the Black Pyramid and escorted them the rest of the way up.

 

Summary: Adams Glacier was easier. YMMV. And every descent I have made from the north side of Adams has been down the NR. I would never want to have to ascend it, though... hellno3d.gif

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Adams Glacier is a kick-ass ski descent!

I've always thought the slope on climbers right of the glacier would be a good descent too. bigdrink.gif

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I've always thought the slope on climbers right of the glacier would be a good descent too. bigdrink.gif

It sure was sweet on Saturday... fruit.gif

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I've always thought the slope on climbers right of the glacier would be a good descent too. bigdrink.gif

It sure was sweet on Saturday... fruit.gif

Nice! thumbs_up.gif Were there any issues crossing over the crevasse at the base, or could you get around it? That seems to be the only obstacle that I can see.

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Great... another route on the ski tick list. smile.gif

 

So many good lines, so little time off.

 

-r

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No issues at the bottom whatsoever. Just point 'em and go flyin' over a little 4 foot gap. NFNWR has better coverage now than when I did it in early June of 2003. Oddly enough, other routes on the north and east sides of the mountain have less snow for this time of year. cantfocus.gif

 

TAY has a few excellent recent photos of the route on the cover page...

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