Mt. Adams Summit Trip #2

 

July 20 - 21, 2002:

After successfully climbing the north spur route on Mt. Adams the previous fall, I decided to see if the south spur route was any easier than the north route.  My conclusions?  Well, the south spur route is in fact somewhat easier.  It is still quite a workout 'tho!  The climb and descent between ~5500 FASL to Lunch Counter at ~9100 FASL, while carrying a full pack, was particularly strenuous.  The southern route was extremely crowded compared to the north spur route.  Because of that factor, if I had to choose between these two routes, I would pick the north spur route.

I don't regret trying the southern route at all 'tho!  We had a great time, and there was no way the dogs would have a chance scrambling up the north spur route.   On to the pictures!

Buddy, Harley, and I met friends and co-workes David, Andrei, Valery, Saeed, and Brian at work 6AM Saturday morning.  We drove the long route to the south climb trailhead (SR520 -> I-405 -> I-5 -> SR14 -> SR141 -> FR80 -> FR500).  Actually, we missed a turn off and got lost on FR82, but we found our way back within a half hour or so.  By the time we found parking at the trailhead and everyone was packed and ready to go, it was about 3PM in the afternoon.

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PICT0391: Above, a picture of Harley, David, Valery, Brian, and Saeed at the trailhead.  The trailhead was at about 5500 FASL (Feet above sea level).

 

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PICT0392: On the lower parts of the trail, there was lots of this wild flower (called "Bear Claw") in bloom.


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PICT0394: Andrei petting Harley at one of the early rest stops.

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PICT0397: Now above the treeline, a picture of David. 

Harley and Buddy were both very tired pups.  Harley whined a bit and tried to get some of the other climbers who had already set up camp to adopt him.  Any time we'd stop for a short break, the dogs would fall asleep immediately.

After a little wandering, Andrei, Valery, David, the dogs, and I arrived at Lunch Counter (base camp) just after sunset -- approximately 9100 FASL.  The interns (Saeed and Brian) camped at a slightly lower elevation.  We pitched our tents, ate a quick dinner, and went to bed.

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PICT0398: We slept in to 5AM Sunday morning.  Here is a picture of David, Andrei, and Valery planning our route up to Pikers peak (the false summit on Adams which is visible from base camp).  We started climbing at about 7AM.

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PICT0399: At about 9:45 AM we made it to Piker's peak and ~11000 FASL.  Here's a picture of Harley on the false summit.  Behind Harley is Mt. Hood.


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PICT0400: Here's Buddy at Piker's peak.

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PICT0401: Here's David at Piker's peak.

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PICT0402: Harley and Mt. St. Helen's from Piker's peak.

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PICT0403: Here's Valery and a view of the true Adams summit from Piker's peak.

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PICT0404: And here's a picture of me with the summit behind me.  You can kind of see the trail in the picture.  The piece just below the summit was pretty steep.

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PICT0405: Buddy, fast asleep at the false summit.

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PICT0406: Harley, resting at the false summit.

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PICT0407: Andrei at Piker's peak.  Basecamp is 2000 vertical feet down there somewhere.

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PICT0408: Andri, trying not to slip.  Mt. Hood in the background.

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PICT0409: Yay!  We made it to the top of the mountain!  Summit time: 11AM.  Here's David on top of Mt. Adams.

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PICT0410: Same as PICT0409, but zoomed out.  You can see all the people up there.  At times, you had to wait in line to get your picture taken on top of the mountain. =)

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PICT0411: Andrei and Valery on top of the mountain.  Mt. Hood behind them.

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PICT0412: Buddy and me on top of the mountain.

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PICT0413: Where's Harley?  Probably off eating some other climber's lunch.

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PICT0415: Okay, I think this is my favorite picture from the trip.  Harley with Mt. Rainier above him rising out of the gloom.

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PICT0416: Closeup of Mt. Rainier from Mt. Adams.

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PICT0417: Mt. Hood.  David's trying to make a cell phone call.

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PICT0418: Closeup of Mt. Hood and Mt. Jefferson.

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PICT0419: David and Mt. Rainier.

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PICT0420: The dogs on the very top of Mt. Adams!  I'm very proud of 'em!

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PICT0421: Closeup of the dogs on the top of Mt. Adams.  Not sure if they are squinting or just asleep.  We had already learned the "sit" and "stay" commands at obedience training.  The "stay" command is what makes pictures like this possible.  Yay!

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PICT0422: We headed down at about noon.  At 2PM, we arrived back at basecamp.  That means the ascent from basecamp took 4 hours and the descent took 2 hours.  This picture was taken back at base camp.  If you look closely, you can see the butt track that all the glissades made by sliding down the mountain.  In this picture, you can see all the way from base camp (9100 FASL) to the false summit (~11000 FASL) -- 2000 vertical feet!

Yes, I glissaded down all of that.  The glissade was the best part of the whole trip!  There was just one snag....

Descending from Piker's peak, the butt track was particularly steep.  On the way down, we took a short rest stop at Piker's peek before continueing down.  When we were ready to go, I woke up Harley and Buddy, called them over to me, yelled "Let's go!  Woohoo!", and started sliding down the mountain.  3 minutes later and 500 vertical feet lower, I dug into the snow with  my ice axe and came to a stop.  I turned and looked back up the mountain.  Buddy had been running after me and came crashing down on me. =)  Unfortunately, Harley was nowhere to be seen.

I called Harley over and over and over again.  Eventually, I saw this black dot far above me moving around on the snow -- but not moving down the mountain towards me!  After about 10 minutes of repeated calling, Harley finally came running down to me.

Later, Andrei and Valery told me more details of what had happened.  Andrei and Valery had chosen to walk down this part instead of glissading.  Therefore, they were much much closer to Harley than I was when we were seperated.  They said Harley was crying as if he had been abandoned.  Apparently when I shouted for him, he looked down the mountain in my direction, but did not move in that direction.  Andrei said Harley had a look of disbelief.   Harley was thinking "That sounds like Jeff, but there's no way it could be him.  Jeff was just right next to me 3 minutes ago -- there's no way he could be that far away from me already!"

 

These remaining photos were taken with Andrei's camera.

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DSCN0342: Valery on the trek up to Piker's peak.  I like this picture because you can see how steep the route is.

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DSCN0348: This picture was taken from the summit, looking to the north.  It looks like there is a lone person down there descending via a northern route.

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DSCN0350: Behind Andrei you can see the "The Pinnacle" (the false summit on the north side of Mt. Adams -- just above the Adams glacier).

 

We left basecamp at about 4PM and arrived back at the parking lot at about dark (9PM).   Back at the truck, I discovered I lost my wallet, doh!  Valery loaned me some cash for gas money so that I could make it back home.  Fortunately, after I arrived home, I discovered that I hadn't lost my wallet...I had just left it in some other clothing.  Moron.

I drank about 6 cups of coffee to try to stay awake for the drive home (this is odd, because in my entire life up to this point, I've had 1 cup of coffee total).   We arrived home at 3:30 AM Monday morning.