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Moving to Eugene in June - Mt Adams in Summer


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I'm moving from Florida to Eugene in June to get a master's of architecture. A friend (and her friend) and I wanted to climb Mt Adams this summer, and I want to get involved with more serious mountaineering as well.


I've done a fair amount of backpacking and modest climbing in NY, TN and NC mainly easy slab/scrambling, winter snowshoe ascents and limited top-roped rock. I also ski (alpine and tele). I have basic backpacking and winter gear, but have never used an ice axe or crampons. I have a pair of 30" snowshoes, long poles, plastic Scarpa boots, synthetic mid-weight hiking boots and lighter hiking sneakers. I also have a snow shovel, gaiters, a 0-deg down bag, lighter synthetic bag and a GPS. I have read most of Freedom of the Hills, and plan to finish/re-read/study it more.


I am more experienced than my friend, and I am unsure of her friend's experience (hopefully he is more experienced than me - I expect so, as they were planning on going before I was invited). I am 26, tall and slender (not very strong at 6'1", 145lb), and haven't done any conditioning (yet). I don't have any 'active' interests here in FL so I'm a bit out of shape for a skinny young guy, but otherwise healthy.


From what I gather about the S Mt Adams route, the biggest things will be conditioning/altitude and axe/crampons on some moderately steep/hard snow slopes (but no need for ropes). I should start conditioning now. I should also get an axe and crampons and find some self-arrest and crampon instruction/practice. Is this something I can just read/practice a lot, and have experienced people show me? What exactly is 'necessary' before we try Mt Adams in the summer? Is it more of a 'put the crampons on so you don't slip, take a couple of practice steps, and you'll figure it out?'


After this climb, I plan to improve my technical skills further, take an avalanche class, get involved with a club, etc. I assume there are local clubs around Eugene, as well as a UOregon club. Will I be able to get most of the necessary instruction/experience from these clubs (for free/cheap), or will it still be necessary to invest more $ to take formal classes as well?


I'm trying to plan my gear out, so I have what I need, without breaking the bank. I think a light-weight aluminum crampon would be suitable, I saw some recommendations in another post. I'm not sure if I should get the strap-on type to be able to use with my regular hiking boots/shoes, or the step-ins which would only work with my plastic boots. I'm also not sure if I need a sturdier pair of synthetic boots, or if I should just wear the plastic ones for most climbing (in summer?) where more support is needed?


What about ice axes? What details should I look for? I didn't see any posts about this specifically (though I didn't really look yet).


Reading about the climb, I realized I need a 'real' tent that will stand up to wind (and snow?). Should I just bite the bullet and get a 4-season tent? I probably need snow/rock anchors too for high-mountain camping? In past winter trips, I've used a 3-season backpacking tent (long gone now) and 2 sleeping bags, and been ok down to -30F. That was in the Adirondacks below 4,000' and I know the NW is a much harsher enviornment. Would I want goggles high on Adams in case it stormed? How about a helmet?


I'll also (eventually) need a real insulating later (down parka), which I haven't needed in the past. I wouldn't need this to climb Adams though (I've got wind-block fleeces, gore-tex shell, etc).


I'm guessing the next major expense will be avalanche gear (and class), and a harness/helmet? I can possibly use others' gear (rope/rack) for a while as I learn?


Will that be enough to get me started, so I can start going out with people who might be kind enough to 'show me the ropes'? Am I missing anything major? I'm a pretty cautious person, so I'm not going to go running up Mt Rainer. I want to get to the point where I can safely learn from those who are more experienced than me, without being a hazard/liability.



I'm really looking forward to moving out there, as I love the mountains, and really miss them since living in FL for 3 years now. I stumbled upon this group today, which has REALLY made me excited, reminding me of the many new things I'll get to do now!


Hopefully I can find some used gear online in time for our planned climb this summer, and save a few $$.



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Good to see that you are bringing some stoke with you from FL! Welcome to CC.com! Sounds like you have thought through your trip pretty well... Adams south side probably requires a lot more stamina than equipment. Get an ice axe and some strap on Al crampons, toss your skis on the pack and tear it up! You don't need to break the bank on boots or anything, at least not for that trip. For a mountain ice axe, I suggest getting something that is cheapish (less than 100 bucks), light as hell, and about 65cm (i'm your height and I find that's pretty good). Grivel and black diamond make great options. Good luck man, welcome to the NW (at least soon)!

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I live in Eugene and I'm always down to climb cracks. Columns (which is 5 minutes from Downtown Eugene), Crack in the Ground, Smith whateve. I work at the OP. Come by and say hi.


what is the OP?? it seems like i should knwo this but some how i am drawing a blank.

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UO's Outdoor Program

ahhhh that explains. i am too old and my kids are to young :grin:


there used to be this kid who worked with the UofO program, travis or trever or something. He was totaly fun. he could climb up and climb down my favorite crack faster than i could belay. he was literaly at a full run.

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  • 1 month later...

A few more beginner questions:


Adams South Side

Are helmets typically required/recommended/used on this route?


A high mountain tent would be needed/recommended due to possibilities of high winds at exposed campsites above tree line? Are tarp-tents an option for high summer camps on volcanoes?


I haven't skied in a few years, though am/was a solid tele-skier (easier lift-accessed double-blacks/yellow-gates w/o huge drop-ins or jumps in Rockies and Whistler). I'm not sure what to expect terrain/condition wise if I was to drag my skis up there. Would there be suitable terrain/conditions to work the rust off? Or would I be looking down a "wish I wasn't trying to ski for the first time in 3 years down this" kind of thing? Sure would make the descent nicer...



I've been over the OP website too, and it looks awesome! I'll be out there in a few weeks, and can't wait.

Edited by AaronW
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No need for helmets on the S side of Mt. Adams. Tarp tents would prolly be fine as long as the weather's ok. The Lunch Counter's pretty exposed but there's lots of rock rings to set your tent/tarp up in. A full-coverage tarp like BD Megalight or MSR Twin Peaks would be perfect and save a ton of weight over a tent. Bring yer skis with you in the car and see what the snow coverage is like.

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