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Mount Adams Climb with Mountain Madness

Steep Terrain Climbing on Mount Adams

Scott, Bri­an and I left from Seat­tle on July 4th to attempt the Adams Glac­i­er route on Mount Adams. As we approached the trail­head we found the road blocked by snow about one half mile from the trail­head. So we packed up and got ready for our 5 hour hike in to a great camp spot at 7,800 feet just below the glacier. 

Camp below the Adams Glac­i­er. Alan Rousseau photo

Our camp pro­vid­ed us with great access to a low­er ice­fall where we spent the sec­ond day work­ing on skills like fixed line ascen­sion, steep ice climb­ing tech­nique, mul­ti-pitch tran­si­tions, and crevasse res­cue. We went through skills that would be need­ed for our next day’s ascent as well as skills Scott and Bri­an will like­ly use on future adven­tures to the moun­tains. We wrapped up skills around 5 pm cooked up some mac n’ cheese, and got to sleep ear­ly to rest up for sum­mit day.

Prac­tic­ing ice climb­ing tech­niques. Alan Rousseau photo

The alarm woke me from a deep sleep at 2:30 am, as much as I want­ed to go back to sleep, I knew we need­ed an ear­ly start to min­i­mize our dan­ger from rock and ser­ac fall So I laced up my cold boots, put on a puffy jack­et and head­ed to the stoves to get some hot water ready for break­fast. By 3:30 we were out of camp and head­ed to the objec­tive. The three of us reached first tech­ni­cal dif­fi­cul­ties on the glac­i­er at around 4:45 am. We climbed up the first 65 degree ice step quick­ly and began mov­ing togeth­er again up the glac­i­er. After about 45 min­utes on 40 degree neve we hit our next sec­tion of pitched climb­ing. This con­sist­ed of 70 degree ice for about 50 feet fol­lowed by a 40 meter stretch of firm 70 degree ice.

Steep ter­rain! Alan Rousseau photo

Tak­ing a break. Alan Rousseau photo

Above this step we were able to walk togeth­er again for anoth­er 25 min­utes before reach­ing what turned out to be a dead end! The labyrinth that is the Adam’s glac­i­er had sucked me into a leg of the maze that did not lead us to the cheese. So we reversed back a bit and tried a cou­ple oth­er options. Even­tu­al­ly we found a weak­ness in a crevasse that offered us an exit via 8 feet of over­hang­ing glacial ice. This turned out to be our final tech­ni­cal dif­fi­cul­ty and we con­tin­ued slow­ly but sure­ly up the Adam’s glac­i­er. At 11:20 am we topped out onto the sum­mit plateau. After a short break in the high winds, and low­er­ing cloud lev­el, we head­ed for our descent route down the north ridge. 

Alan Rousseau photo

On the sum­mit! Alan Rousseau photo

After 2.5 hours we found a snow couloir that that dropped us down toward camp we pulled in right around 3:15pm mak­ing it just under a 12 hour day. Mis­sion com­plete, great effort fel­las, thanks for a fun and safe few days and I hope team three men on a ledge” can get back in the moun­tains again.

~ MM Guide Alan Rousseau