Saturday, September 11, 2010

mt. adams

Mt. Adams became my first successful summit of the Cascade peaks.  Stretching the climb over 2 days, we began at 5600ft and made our way up to the summit elevation of 12000ft.  On our way to the trail, the weather seemed pretty fair and we could see all the way to the snowy peak. Of course, this quickly changed after we set out hiking and a low cloud layer quickly rolled in diminishing hope for any "top of the world" views. The goal for the first day was to make it to Lunch Counter (9000ft), where several rock shelters have been created for campers seeking protection from the wind.
kresser and illia on the start of the hike
mt hood perfectly framed through the rolling clouds

casey trekking on

making our way up

...and up

...and up

We quickly set up camp after reaching Lunch Counter because we only had a few hours until sunset and the winds were starting to pick up. Although low clouds obstructed our views for the most part, with the occasional teasing glimpse of Mt Hood or the forest floor several thousand feet below, they also created a spectacular illusion of a white, fluffy earth that lie just beyond our campsite.  Looking out at Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens, we could see a lenticular cloud hovering above both indication of bad weather to come. Unfortunately, our mountain has an even higher elevation.

making camp at lunch counter, 9000ft

looking up towards the false summit of adams

making pasta!

camp at lunch counter with mt hood in the background (photo by kerri bridges)

casey and me trying to keep warm! (photo by kerri bridges)

looking down from lunch counter at 2 hikers making their way back down

i have found that mountains are one of the only places that i don't want a beer in my hand.

cool clouds

mt hood and her lenticular cloud. one of the last views before our early bedtime.

We arose at 4am the next morning (this was supposed to be 2am, but we overslept...imagine that!) for the final leg to the summit. As soon as I left the warmth of the tent in exchange for the wind and wet snow outside, I knew it was going to be a rough day.  When the sun's rays began transforming the darkness into a lighter shade of gray, it appeared that our fear of bad weather was well predicted. 

taking a break on the way up to the summit (photo by kerri bridges)

we make our way to the summit! (photo by kerri bridges)
Encased in a layer of ice, we finally reached the old sulfur mine at the summit of Mt. Adams. Too bad our visibility was limited to about 20 feet...I bet it was beautiful sight. Regardless, we accomplished our goal and enjoyed frozen summit Snickers and turned to head back. The fastest way back to camp was to glissade
down the 2000ft of elevation we just worked so hard to gain. Normally, this would have been perfectly acceptable...however, temperatures were lower then average causing the snow to become hard and sharp.  Although we didn't realize it due to the numbness caused by the snow, several of us actually experienced burns very similar to road rash from the friction of the ice on our...uh-hum...buttocks.  This made the remainder of the hike out as well as the rest of the week quite uncomfortable (this is an understatement). So while climbing Mt. Adams was a lot of fun, it also became a bit of a pain in the ass.

remnants of an old sulfur mine at the summit

group shot #1....i was moving a little slow that morning

group shot #2 with snickers at the summit!