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TR: Mt. Adams, WA (attempt) on the Solstice

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Myself, and TGR maggots Walter Sobchak, and Greydon Clark made an attempt to climb Mt. Adams via Suksdorf Ridge (yes that really is the name) to hit the famous southwest chutes on the Summer solstice. The southwest chutes isn't the gnarliest route on the mountain, but definitely one of the most worthy descents arounds as they are about 3,000 ft long with a near continuous 30 degree pitch for the entire length....hitting these in corn would make for a damn memorable run.

Unfortunately, a few factors wouldn't be on our side:

1) the weather. the forecasts were calling for 20 - 30% chance of rain depending on the source and PNW volcanoes can be finicky mother-f'ers anyway so we knew we might have some weather issues to contend with. and

2) the route. Due to an epic snowfall season in the PNW, the normal trailhead was still buried under snow. So the only option we had was to drive up the access road as far as we could, park, and then go from there. This would put us about 4 miles away (one-way) from the normal starting trailhead and 2,000 ft lower. not so bad if the entire route was skinnable...but in reality it was very patchy causing us to have to hike a good deal of it slowing us down greatly.

In short, we got turned around by a fast moving system at about 10,000 ft...traveled just over 17 miles car to car....and climbed/skinned/booted just under 7,000 vert. Total trip time was 11 and a half hours. While we didn't make our objective, it was one of the biggeer/longer one-day pushes any of us had ever made so we felt pretty good about it. We were making good time on the ridge when the weather moved in.....but decided it best to turnaround around then to get caught on a volcano ridge in a white out.

anyway, here are some pics. Not very many skiing action pics as nearly the entire time was spent climbing.

Trip Stats:
Mt. Adams, WA
Total Trip Distance - 17.83 miles
Elevation Gain (according to MotionBased - 6,780 ft.
Total Trip Time - 11:30 hours


4:30 AM - Time to get moving. We rolled into our camp spot at about 1 AM so we only got about 3 hours sleep max.

This is the trail/road that is normally drivable. You can't tell in this pic, but we were getting rained on at this point. For about the first 3 hours, we got intermitently rained on and we were just waiting for the skies to really open up on us. Oh well, keep pushing and see how far we get.

The clouds lifted periodically allowing us a view of our surroundings. Mt. Hood in the distance

Another shot of Hood. Those ominous clouds were chasing us all day. We knew it would only be a matter of time before they caught us.

A few hours in, we finally caught a glimpse of our goal...the southwest chutes on lookers left. Summit obscured in clouds/fog however....

Mt. St Helens to the West:

Our campsite is somewhere way down there in those hills

Cool rock shelters at about 8,000 ft....hopefully we won't be needing these.

St. Helens again....**** those clouds are getting closer and it's getting windier

up, up, up

St. Helens....clouds moving in:

me...going up up up

some climbers above us on Suksdorf Ridge. We would make it about as far as that rock pile before getting enveloped by storm clouds:

sobchak and clark...up up up

Darkest clouds getting closer...getting windier....

At abou 10,000 ft, and 8:30 hrs into our climb, the storm clouds caught us. The winds started gusting to about 40mph and it starting snowing sideways...you can't tell in this pic but it was graupeling on us pretty good here and just after I put the camera away here it turned pretty damn white. Let's get the hell out of here:


down! down! down!

hey look skiing! Sobchak making a blurry turn down lower out of the clouds:

Me...retreating with Helens in the background:

finally out of the tempest...time to rest and eat:

down down down

we got a little lost on our return trip and went to low into a drainage. booting up through the forest to get back on route after about 10 hours of effort pretty much sucked:

Back at the car 11 and a half hours later. PBR's and grilled brats sure tasted good at this point:

that evening we drove from Adams north to Chinook pass via Hwy 97 through Yakima. We were treated with these sunset views of Adams. Sorry for the lousy pics, but I was using digital zoom here on my crappy camera.

The next day we skied Chinook pass in typicaly PNW fashion...foggy and spitting rain. although the rain did hold up enough to allow a nice guided tour of the area by none other than Buster Highman and PNWBrit. thanks guys!! Our day on Chinoook Pass turned out to be fantastic as we hit Naches and Yakima peaks. I don't have any pics from this day but the other guys might. I'll post up later if I get them.

post #2 of 7
Thread Starter 
edited for more pics
post #3 of 7
A great story
Waiting for the next pictures if you get them :.

post #4 of 7
Awesome Ty....that looked like a ton of fun. Thanks for the summer stoke. I'm headed out to Hood later this summer.
post #5 of 7
Thanks for posting. I've skied some of the other volcanoes, & always thought Adams looked like some of the better ski terrain, but a major approach kept us away.
Your pictures may rekindle my interest.
post #6 of 7
Great adventure. You could see the grapel in that one pic, it was completely sideways, I'm sure you were happy to start down. Good on ya'
post #7 of 7
Those sure are some good looking boots ......glad to see someone is out there getting some turns in.

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