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Mt. Adams winter asscent?


skygrl07
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I climbed Mt. Adams in July from the south and was thinking of doing it again this winter and was looking for advice.

 

I've never done a winter accent before, but from the previous climb I feel it will be a good first route since it was non-technical, anything I should know before I go and what extremes would I be expecting from this mountain?

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Get dialed on navigation. Have and know how to use map, compass and altimeter, wands, and GPS (but don't rely just on this one). A big, round volcano when covered with snow can turn "interesting" in a serious whiteout- kind of the flip side of the moderate/non-technical nature of the thing. Know what to do if you get pinned down so that you don't wander into avalanche terrain, etc. Have the appropriate gear (shovel, extra clothes/bivy/etc and a stove) with you when you are climbing, so that hunkering down is an option. Weather can get ugly any time of year, but more so in winter so have experience dealing with the simple stuff- layering correctly, keeping dry inside and out, staying fueled and hydrated, knowing how to winter camp, and being in good shape for the potential slogfest conditions. And make sure your partners have the above covered or better, and that you can rely on them to be sensible and enjoyable company.

 

All this will help you with any future ascents, and being ready will help you relax and put your energy towards the climb. It will be a lot of work, but likely a great experience. Enjoy!

 

 

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I would second a couple of the previous comments:

 

First, you definitely want one or two sticks to slide back down the hill on.

 

Second, navigation! Adams is sort of like Hood in that the natural fall does not take you right back to where you want to be. So you need to be able to recognize that and end up back where you started!

 

And, have fun!!

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I once did a May ascent in a big snow year. We used the Smith Butte Sno Park and snowshoes. We should have used skis.

 

The approach is via the Aiken Lava Beds. Once you gain the lava beds, the navigation is pretty straightforward as you can actually see where you are going. The route goes over the top of South Butte. I suggest that you camp on or near South Butte and then go for the summit from there with an early start.

 

If you make good time, you can go out that day, otherwise you can spend another night in camp, which wouldn't be bad, as the views are great from South Butte.

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Have the appropriate gear (shovel, extra clothes/bivy/etc and a stove) with you when you are climbing, so that hunkering down is an option. Weather can get ugly any time of year, but more so in winter so have experience dealing with the simple stuff- layering correctly, keeping dry inside and out, staying fueled and hydrated, knowing how to winter camp, and being in good shape for the potential slogfest conditions.

 

I'm all geared up...finally got the last piece of essential equipment, THE TENT. Thanks for all the great advice, I've dealt with winter conditions on Rainier and so I know what to expect for weather...but this will be a challenge. But again, thanks for the input.

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Too many personal variables to know. Your comfort level and navigation skills are two big ones. If you're familiar with the general area, which it sounds like you are, I'd bring just enough to mark the path through the trees and maybe a half dozen or so to get me from camp towards that direction. Of course, if the weather closes in and you decide to summit anyway, several dozen wouldn't be too many.

 

I have a friend who's had a few "issues" with that approach and he looks like a porcupine heading in there every year. He typically places a few dozen just on the approach.

 

Personal preference.

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You need to know the wand location in a big whiteout. Sounds strange but you need to have an idea where the wand is or you will just spend tie wandering for it. You place wands every rope lenght in some areas so when you find a wand, your partner goes out a rope lenght and goes till he finds the next one. You know approx where you are looking. On big mountains you may elect to wand by elevation ie every 200 vertical feet. Again you maintain an elevation until you find the wand.

 

 

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Okay, i'll throw my bit in here as i love adams have climbed it several dozen times via many routes. In winter, getting there is the hard part. I imagine that you won't see anyone at all so that would make it a lot of fun (cept for a few snowmobilers). If you are not used to winter camping try camping up around rainier for a few nights to get used to it. This mountain is much different in winter than other times of the year. A very wilderness feel, as you are in the middle of nowhere once the roads get snowed in.

 

Oh, and getting lost on adams is embarrassingly easy. My last time there, coming out of a white out in early may, I lost my way for half a day or more, but I know how the roads work so I wasn't too concerned. What's nice is that there are eventually roads on most sides of adams. Although knowing which one you are on can be a challenge.

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