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Womens Climb Mt Adams with Mountain Madness

First Successful Women’s Climb Of The Northwest Season!

Some of you may have read about our new Wom­en’s Pro­gram this year. We are excit­ed to announce that our first Wom­en’s sum­mit climb of Mount Adams was a great suc­cess! As the Mar­ket­ing and Out­reach Coor­di­na­tor, I was lucky to join the team for my first sum­mit climb. What a great way to be intro­duced into the alpine world! 

Mt. Adams cov­ered in snow. Kay­la Fenske photo

The team includ­ed MM Guide Son­dra Rip­perg­er, myself and climber Liz Paul­dine. We enjoyed each oth­er’s com­pa­ny on the dri­ve down and knew we would make a great team. The heavy win­ter had left a lin­ger­ing snow pack extend­ing 2 miles south of the trail­head, which made for a long day into our first camp. How­ev­er, per­fect­ly blue skies, with not a cloud in sight, stayed with us the entire four days of our trip!

Kay­la Fenske and guide Son­dra Rip­perg­er excit­ed for the climb. Liz Paul­dine photo

Since Mt. Adams is a begin­ner climb, Son­dra offered great instruc­tion on Leave No Trace prac­tices, and basic moun­taineer­ing skills that would pre­pare us for the long climb ahead. Liz had climbed sev­er­al Cas­cades peaks before this trip, so I was grate­ful for Son­dra’s and her patience as I slow­ly learned the tech­niques for snow trav­el. Liz and Son­dra were excit­ed to dis­cov­er an added ben­e­fit of climb­ing with women only — we were able to fol­low a wom­an’s stride”, rather than try to match a man’s broad gait. It was lit­tle things like that that made this trip so great!

Moun­tain goat on the look­out. MM Collection

Approach­ing Sun­rise Camp at 8,100 feet on day 2, we spot­ted two moun­tain goats perched high on the rocks! Arriv­ing in camp late in the after­noon after a long day on the snow tra­vers­ing to the south­east side of the moun­tain, we set up camp and Liz and I crashed in our sleep­ing bags for a much need­ed rest. Son­dra pre­pared a won­der­ful vari­ety of meals for us, and even deliv­ered hot water bot­tles to our tent to keep our sleep­ing bags warm! Every morn­ing, Liz got her cup of cof­fee to start the day off and we had a vari­ety of hot drinks through­out the trip – a wel­come warmth in the unsea­son­ably cold weather. 

Sun­rise col­ors on the Maza­ma Glac­i­er. Kay­la Fenske photo

Sum­mit day began with a beau­ti­ful sun­rise as we set out on the Maza­ma Glac­i­er. Due to the heavy win­ter snow, very few crevass­es were opened up, pro­vid­ing straight for­ward routefind­ing and easy trav­el up to the sum­mit. The winds picked up the high­er we got on the moun­tain. Around 10:15 a.m., the steep moun­tain­side began to lev­el out and I looked up to see the sum­mit only feet away! The clear blue sky offered spec­tac­u­lar views of Mount Hood, Mount St. Helens, Mount Rainier, and even Mount Bak­er in the distance. 

At the sum­mit with Rainier in the back­ground. Liz Paul­dine photo

As we descend­ed the moun­tain in 30mph winds, Liz cel­e­brat­ed with a lit­tle: I am woman, hear me roar!” By 6 pm we had reached our 6,300 foot camp, still glow­ing from our accom­plish­ment. We all agreed that this trip was incred­i­ble from the weath­er per­spec­tive, but also due to the fact that we had the com­pa­ny of inspir­ing and strong women on our team — the trip was just that much better. 

To find out about our oth­er Wom­en’s climbs and cours­es, click here. Some­times it’s great to just get out with the gals!

- Kay­la Fenske