Mount Adams 12,307' April 23, 2011 SPEED ASCENT AND SKI
Summary: Start 4am at 2,500', Summit 1130am,
Stayed on the summit for 2 hours, Skied back to the truck in 2.5 hours by 4pm!
On Saturday, I took advantage of High pressure and awesome clear weather forecast for the central Cascades so I headed to Mount Adams, Washington's second highest peak, and the second highest volcano in the Cascades.
My plan was to skin-up and climb to the summit of the volcano, via the south ridge via Sno-king basin and the Aiken Lava Beds. This is a very long approach, and most people do this ascent in the summer with an overnight camp high up near 8500' on the peak. I wanted to see if I could do the entire volcano in one day, going fast and light from the base, and then ski approximately 10,000 vertical feet back to my truck, and the peak didnt dissapoint......I was on the summit by just before noon!
I arrived at the trailhead north of Trout Lake, WA on Friday night, and was greeted by the mountain from a distance.
I parked near the Sno-King Trailhead (FR 8252) at roughly 2800' above sea level. I chose not to use the summer South Climb Trailhead because the road was snowed in and I knew about better skiing and easier access to the peak via the Aiken Lava Beds.
I woke up at about 3am, ate some breakfast and departed the warmth of my truck at about 4am. I skinned up road 8252 in clear skies and light winds. There was a half moon and I made quick work of the forest road, making my way up into the lava beds and into the early morning light in 4 miles in a little over an hour. I could see Mt. Hood in the distance to my south. There wasnt a cloud in the sky.
By 530 there was plenty of light and I didnt need my headlamp any longer. At 5,000' above sea level I could see the path up the lava beds and the entire remaining 7,000' vertical came into view up the long SE ridge line.
The glades below treeline would be excellent soft powder skiing in the sunshine on the way down!
By 9am I approached the ridge near the lunch counters at about 9,000'. Winds were light and so I pushed on in the morning sun.
By now the snow was a bit icy....I was able to skin up the S face and only take my skis off for about a 100 yard section near Pikers Peak (11,700'). By this time I was actually hot because the wind wasn't blowing one bit.
I took my time and made my way up to the true summit. I figured the sun intensity would soften that south face a bit and make for a spectacualr ski. I approached the summit at about 1130am or so. Up high on the mountain there was very little in the way of avalanche danger. The snow was very consolidated and safe. I spent two hours on the top......at lunch and had a red bull. It was awesome. Made it up in a little more than 7 hours! Check out the views in the video below!
Here are some other summit shots. And I didn't see another soul all day up there! Had the peak all to myself...a rarity in the Cascades, but even on a weekend in winter conditions you can get solitude.
Looking west to Mount St. Helens
A Red-bull Salute
I Departed the top at nearly 2pm and skied directly off the tru summit as you can see my tracks here to the left of the photo.
The icy conditions were softening up just a bit and I was able to make quick work down a few thousand feet in a matter of minutes.
You can see the Lava beds 6000' to 8000' below to the left of the photo.......this was by far one of the longest vertical continuous ski descents of my career....roughly 10,000'!
Getting closer to the lava beds on the way down........
I Skied 8000' vertical in less than an hour.....the slowest part was skiing the 8252 road back through the forest to my truck! Hard to believe I was just up there when I was looking back up the mountain.
Back to the trailhead by 4pm......
A stunning view of Adams from the Southeast looking northwest from near Glenwood, WA. The southridge is in the left skyline. The entire spine was my ski route.