09 August 2012

Mt. Adams Part 2

We woke up before the alarm on Saturday morning to see the awesome mountain was smiling at us.

Goooooooood Morning!

We ate, exercised our poo ethics, packed camp, and were on the trail by 5:45am. In keeping with the theme of impressing our eyeballs, the sunrise was, again, stunning.

When you get high enough elevation, mountains start casting their own pyramid shadows. At 12,276', Adams is high enough to cause it's own sunrise and sunset pyramid.

Sunrise Pyramid

We chose to put on crampons and boot pack to the summit, rather than skin up. The hike from Lunch Counter to the false summit (Pikers Peak) is quite steep, making skinning more difficult. The snow was crusty as well, meaning we would have needed ski crampons, and we had already decided at the car that we didn't want to bring the extra weight.

Ryan heading up to those ants in the distance.

I am TALL!

Lunch counter is between the two snow fields at center
Distance in the mountains can be really disorienting. It's much like running on a beach - you often think you are closer than you are to major landmarks. Here's our first look at the true summit after we topped out at Piker's Peak. It's at least 90 minutes away.

Adams Summit at right

The steepest portion of the climb was behind us (heading to Piker's Peak is pretty brutal) and I for one was feeling great to finally know where I was heading! Normally people climb to Lunch Counter, camp, and then head out early in the morning with just small day packs. Our planned descent line had us going no where near Lunch Counter, so we packed ALL of our gear all the way to the top. Made for a pretty heavy pack.

Four hours after leaving camp we stood on the summit! One could say I was happy to be there!

Jumping for Joy

Handstand for Happiness

Ryan packed a 24oz Rainier Beer (pronounced Rahyn-yah) to the top (because we weren't that concerned about weight), and of course we enjoyed drinking it, with Rainier in the background.

Grandpa Max came to the summit too, so we captured him, the Rainier, and my new ice axe in a stoic grouping - representing 'Merica. It was just 4th of July afterall!

After hanging out on the summit, we began our descent! We carted our skies all the way up, so we were super excited to put them on for the way down. To say that people were jealous they didn't do the same thing would be an understatement.

Ryan on the summit descent

The corn from the summit was fantastic and we flew down to the top of the SW Chutes, our planned descent. A 2,000' foot vertical chute with perfect summer corn? Um, yes please!

SW Chutes at left

The Chutes were a different aspect than the summit pyramid, so the snow was a bit icy on top, but turned into epic corn in the middle, before becoming slushy at the bottom. Once out of harms way I required a full 30-minute break. Never before have my legs been so tired from skiing that I had to take a break, but there's a first time for everything!

Running out of snow
Navigating back to the car we ran into a little snafoo....We got too low, then had to bushwhack for over a mile across the mountain to get back to the truck. This was...not awesome. It was a few hours of not awesome in ski boots with heavy packs. At one point I took a tumble in some Slide Alder and immediately understand why it earned it's name. But no bother, Ryan's GPS did in fact know where it was going. Goes to show that it can be invaluable to a) have proper navigational training and b) have proper gear to help! I will be getting a GPS. We eventually made it back to the car where the cold fruit in the cooler greeted us like angels sent from heaven.

Yay Car!
What a great trip! Can't wait for the next adventure - on the list: climbing in Squamish, and Ski Summit of Mt. Baker!

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