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Fairweather

[TR] Mount Adams Circumnavigation - 9/15/2014

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Trip: Mount Adams Circumnavigation -

 

Date: 9/13,14,15/2014

 

Trip Report:

I've dreamed about doing this trip for well over thirty years, but for some reason never got around to it. My calendar and the weather finally cooperated, so with my friend Greg I set out to do a complete encirclement of Mount Adams--including the off-trail section between Devil's Gardens and Bird Creek Meadows on the mountain's east side.

 

We began our trip on the mountain's northwest side at the Divide Camp Trail, then headed clockwise past Foggy Bottom, Devil's Gardens, and set up camp near two lovely tarns in Avalanche Valley.

 

Next day, we set out cross-country for the snout of the Klickitat, crossed the Big Muddy, crossed dozens of other raging streams, wove our way through herds of goats,and then climbed up onto the Ridge of Wonders well below Mazama Saddle. Gave up 3/4ths of our elevation gain and dropped into the headwaters above Hellroaring Meadows, then climbed back up to Bird Creek Meadows. From here we hiked around the south side and camped near Madcat Meadow. This was a long day, but probably would have been shorter if we had just climbed to Mazama Saddle instead of taking the "low traverse."

 

Hiked out the last 13 miles of trail through equal amounts recently burned and untouched forest interrupted by beautiful green meadows with waterfalls and flowers still in bloom.

 

Total trip the way we did it looks something like this: 41 miles--about eight of it off-trail--and 9011 feet of elevation gain/loss.

 

Here are some pictures (in order) of this beautiful area:

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Gear Notes:

Ski Poles--and crampons if you choose the Mazama Saddle version. GPS helpful. Crossing the Big Muddy near the snout of the Klickitat Glacier is terrifying--even in September. Easy to get cliffed-out while trying to find your way off Ridge of Wonders.

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Very cool. I was trying to get this to happen with a friend this summer but it's still on the list. Your TR keeps it alive for me though.

 

Adam's East side has sort of a forbidden quality in my mind.

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heard this is a good bit more mellow than the timberline on hood - true dat?

 

I haven't participated in a Hood circumcision, so I can't compare. Your TR looked like a good time for sure.

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Great trip idea and nice photos. Bird Creek meadows looks just the same as I remember it from around 30 years ago.

 

Some interesting stream crossings too, from the looks of it.

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No issues. A five-dollar permit (per person, per day) can be purchased from the Yakama Nation ranger/attendant on patrol in the Bird Creek area during the summer. Bring cash. You can also call the Tribal Center in Toppenish and get one that way.

 

I don't think non-members are allowed on tribal land during fall, winter, or spring.

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No issues. A five-dollar permit (per person, per day) can be purchased from the Yakama Nation ranger/attendant on patrol in the Bird Creek area during the summer. Bring cash. You can also call the Tribal Center in Toppenish and get one that way.

 

I don't think non-members are allowed on tribal land during fall, winter, or spring.

 

Thanks, I'd read many years back that it wasn't easy to get permits. That sounds straightforward. I love this area but only make it down there every few years or so.

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Up until 1973 the east side of Adams was administered by the USFS. But after the Yakama Tribe successfully litigated their right to Mount Adams' east side--based on the unambiguous language of the 1854 Medicine Creek Treaty--there was quite a bit of bitterness among the wilderness/hiking community who were not immune to the deep, local anti-Indian sentiments of the day. What's more, a lot of misconceptions about permits persist because of Harvey Manning's rant in his 101 Hikes about the supposed complicated nature of obtaining a permit. I think this rant has since been edited out, but a lot of old copies remain in glove boxes. It is also possible that ole Harvey wrote this bogus warning to discourage travel into Avalanche Valley--a place he clearly loved and described as being "where good little hikers go when they finally hang up their boots for the last time"--or something close to this.

 

In any event, the Yakama Nation has done a very good job of managing their side of the mountain and allowing access that is, in my opinion, no more restrictive than the USFS--and certainly less restrictive than the NPS. Kudos to them.

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