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ScaredSilly

[TR] Mt. Adams - Mt. Adams Glacier 7/6/2016

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Trip: Mt. Adams - Mt. Adams Glacier

 

Date: 7/6/2016

 

Trip Report:

A short report on conditions for those heading up the Mt. Adams Glacier.

 

The area around the Mountaineers Camp (aka High Camp) is rapidly melting out. We bivied on bare ground next to the snow and found running water near by. It took us about an hour to approach the base of the route from our bivy.

 

There are a few cracks on the approach to the first ice step. Nothing of note. The first ice step can be tackled three ways - right side; longer ice, lower angle snow, left side; shorter ice, steeper snow. Middle - split the difference. My partner and I soled through this section taking the middle and left options while a guided party was on the right side. The ice/snow is around 60 degrees.

 

After that there is one big crack with a good bridge that leads above to a huge crack that one down climbs (~15') and then out (~20'). Mostly good neve with a bit of ice. I placed one screw just before some crappy snow.

 

At this point one is more or less on the right side of the glacier. From here we went straight up a couple rope lengths before moving left and wandering around cracks. We passed one crack by dropping down into debris and climbing out onto a shelf. Not a big deal.

 

Above that one has two choices. Traverse under a large set of seracs and head to the left side of the glacier. From there it is a straight forward to the summit plateau. Or continue straight up and eventually pass a shrund via bridge. We did the former and found it much quicker than going straight up gaining the summit probably 30 minutes ahead of another party which we had just passed before hand.

 

The descent was a suck fest down the N. Ridge. What a suck fest of sliding down scree for some 3000 feet. The top 1000 of snow, and last 1000 of semi trail are not bad but the middle is a suck fest. Fortunately we had trekking poles to help with the suck fest.

 

We left camp at 5am and got back at 3pm. Not a speed record by any means but not bad for a couple guys in their 50s. We spent a second night out before heading out in the morning.

 

 

 

 

 

Gear Notes:

Couple of screws and a couple of pickets.

 

Approach Notes:

The usual approach via Killen Creek. The road in has lots of pot holes. One car in the parking lot had a flat tire.

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No pics? Flat tire because of the rough road?

 

My partner took all pics ... will post some when he sends them to me.

 

Yeah rough roads and shitty tires often make for a bad combo.

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We went up on 7/5/16 and found the route impassable. We went up the middle of the first ice cliff as you describe it and then had the snow bridge across across the crevasse you describe. Then hit a very large open crevasse at around 10,500' across the entire (climbers right) side of the glacier and we were also blocked out traversing left where we topped out. We had been told by a party the day before that the route was impassable, but wanted to see for ourselves. Looked like a 20-30' drop into the crevasse and then a very difficult climb out (AI4?); too committing for our group to tackle. We had a very difficult retreat even without going into this crevasse. Glad that you made it, you are a much more seasoned climber than me. One of the guys I was with had climbed Kautz glacier on Rainier two days prior and thought just getting to where we stopped was more difficult. I was surprised at the difficulty of what is rated a "moderate" route. It is described as 45 degrees with a few "ice steps" in the guide books, I did not expect to have to climb into and out a crevasse and the one ice step we did climb had very steep snow above it, a bit more than a "step" IMO. We descended way to climbers right (to avoid downclimbing the ice cliff we came up), onto the next glacier and barely found a way down off the edge of a cleaver into a moat. I have never been more concerned about making off a mountain than on this trip.

 

What is "mountaineers" camp? We camped at "high camp" and I did not see anyone or a guided group on the 5th or when I was walking out the morning of the 6th and nobody was in camp with us beside a couple of skiers.

Edited by triyoda

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Mountaineers Camp (old name) == High Camp (new name).

 

We arrived at our bivy site around 7pm on the 5th and passed by one group already camped. It was pretty foggy by then. There was another camped by the lake. As we descended we passed the skiers going up the N. Ridge around 1pm on the 6th.

 

Overall the Adams Glacier route is certainly more involved than the Kautz. The two ice steps on the Kautz are around 40 degrees and are very straight forward. All one needs is a single tool for that route.

 

The huge crack we down climbed into and out of was not bad but the location was key. Sounds like you did not find the spot. Bummer. When we got to it we had just caught up to another party who were climbing out. I did not see how they dropped in but I easily found a way down that we and the guided party behind us used. We did not immediately see other places to climb into and out but then again we were not looking. Above it was no steeper than the snow above the first ice step. After that it kicked back for the most part.

 

A funny story about the Adams Glacier. Some 15 years ago friends did the route and showed images from their trip. A good friend, Al Burgess was there and after seeing the slides he joking commented that in places it looked like they were going through the Kumbu Icefall. At one point my partner thought we were going to be doing the same until I spied the quick traverse through the debris field that led to a shelf.

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This trip report sounds very similar to my experience some years ago around the same time. Compared routes of similar character (e.g. Mt. Stuart's Ice Cliff Glacier and Mt. Shuksan's Price Glacier, both of which I would describe as on the harder end) the Adams Glacier was significantly easier and very much a 'moderate' route by my standards. 'Easy' routes would be South Spur of Adams and Sulphide Glacier on Shuksan. Fisher Chimneys on Shuksan, one of my all time favorite routes, would also fall into the 'moderate' category.

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THE Al Burgess??!!

 

BTW, about 13 years ago when I climbed it a huge serac collapsed the night before our climb (we heard it), filling a troublesome large crevasse that spanned most of the way across the glacier. It was easy travel for us, walking on top of the debris, but I can see how the route could be tricky- and could change quickly!

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Yes Al Burgess, he and Ad are friends of mine. If you have not read their book you should.

 

As for the serac collapse - the upper crack we crossed was pretty much filled in from serac debris. And I would agree the route can and will change. I am trying to see if my friend will send me images from when they climbed it almost about the same time as you. It would be interesting to compare the route from different years.

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I would post up the photos if I had them easily. I haven't gone back thru and scanned all my old slides, however. I was pretty late to the digital photo thing.

 

You're right, I should read Al's Book of Lies. From what I gather, he and his brother are quite entertaining.

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I'll third that. Enjoyed reading that book. I probably have it lying about if anyone is interested.

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Was able to successfully climb Adams Glacier route July 9 - was thankful for identifiable boot path up. Probably most intense glacier climb for me. I too wondered about the steepness, my climb partner said 45 degrees but felt like more at times to me, was very committing in my opinion - was thankful for my tools and relied on them heavily. This was the first "real" steep climb I have attempted, felt like the real deal.

 

 

adams7.JPGadams4.JPGadams31.JPG

 

 

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