Mt. Adams (Cascades) June 9-12, 2023

Leader: Forest Dean
Participants: Elizabeth Moore, Erin Carey, Ethan Levin
Due to a poor forecast, we decided to head west at the last minute instead of north to the original
planned climb of Mt. Joffre. The four of us met up and headed out of Missoula at 4:00pm on Friday
afternoon. We drove to a small campground west of Naches, WA on Highway 12, arriving a bit before
10pm, set up tents and spent the night. Saturday morning we awoke to clouds and rain and drove west
to Randle and then south on FR 23 to Takhlakh Lake on the north side of Mt. Adams. We were able to
just get to the Divide Camp Trailhead- a few lingering snow patches on the road had to be blasted
through. Arrived at the trailhead, packed up, and began the approach to the north side of Adams at

Trailhead sits at 4700’ and was still mostly surrounded by snow. The approach trail was 75% covered,
but snow was firm and we moved up the trail at a good pace. About 3 miles to the PCT, which we
crossed, then headed up snow patches and glacial moraines towards “High Camp” (denoted on maps).
Sky began to clear as afternoon progressed and when we arrived at our chosen camp (7900’ near the
toe of Adams Glacier) it was mostly sunny. We set up camp on snow, made dinner, studied the route
and just admired the surroundings. Made a plan to awake at 3:00am and get going by 4:00. Ethan, on
his first real glaciated mountain, was feeling a bit beat up from the approach and announced he was
going to stay behind in the morning.

We awoke to clear skies and got started as planned. Roped up from camp, but no real crevassed terrain
for the first 1000’ feet of climbing up the glacier. Around 9000’ though we started to climb steeply.
After several hundred feet of this, we got into an area which required some belayed ice climbing (AI2).
A couple of steep pitches brought us to a bergshrund which required some additional interesting and
fun climbing to get through. Above this was another 1000’ of steep snow climbing. We caught up to a
party of five guys (only other group on the route) who had started at 1:00 and we’re really starting to
struggle. We took a short break, climbed past the other group, then made a big level traverse to the
east side of the Glacier to avoid a massive ice cliff at around 11,000’. From there is was a slog up
gradually easing slopes to the very low angled, but huge, summit plateau. About a quarter mile on the
plateau got us to the 12, 275’ summit. We were joined here by dozens and dozens of folks who had
hiked or skied up the easy SW route. Strange to climb a fairly hard and engaging and remote route only
to be greeted by so many people at the top!

We spent about 40 minutes on top taking pics and eating food. We then began our descent opting for
the North Cleaver route. Snowfields predominated for about 1500’, but then the steep ridge was mostly
just scrambling down a decent user trail all the way to 8000’. Kind of a fun descent (well, Erin didn’t
think so!). Got to the base of cleaver then marched about a quarter mile back across the bottom of the
glacier to our camp. Ethan met us halfway across and exchanged high fives! He had spent a good
portion of the day taking photos and marveling at this magnificent area. We made a lot of food, drank
wine and Fireball, then retired early to our tents, exhausted.

Monday morning we were up at 5:00 am to more sunny skies. Got packed up and started hike out at
7:00am. Went right down the glacier and snowfields this time and met up with the Divide Camp Trail.
Back to our vehicle at 10:45am. Opted to drive home via Trout Lake, Hood River, Dalles, Tri Cities, etc.
Took a long time, but we were back home by 9:30pm. A fun trip with a great group! Forest Dean

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