Mt. Adams Climb - Hike to Basecamp

For five years I waited for the opportunity to avenge my previous failure to summit Mt. Adams. My first attempt to climb the 12,276 foot mountain was halted by a storm that blew in while my sister and I were making camp at 9,000 feet. We spent 12 hours in a tent that was continuously thrashed by high winds and rain. During the storm we feared that at any moment the tent would rip apart exposing us to the elements. When the winds finally died down in the morning we quickly packed things up and ran back to our dry car.

Since then, I had always hoped to return, but was unable to coordinate schedules with my other climber friends to make another attempt. Finally, this year I found that my friends, Diane and John, were willing to make the attempt. The climb up Adams would be good practice for them since they planned on climbing Rainier at the end of the month. We only had one weekend that would work for all of us so the weather had to cooperate. When the weekend arrived the weather was great and thus we embarked on our journey.

After a long drive to the southern Washington Cascades, we started our hike to basecamp from the Cold Springs campground on the south side of the mountain. Our goal was to hike to 9,000 feet and camp at the Lunch Counter area. For the first few miles we hiked through forest and then across volcanic rock. Behind us we had a clear view of Mt. Hood in Oregon. At 7,000 feet we hit the first snow field. It was at this point that John realized he was missing his sunglasses, an absolute necessity when hiking on snow during a sunny day. After a quick search he was unable to locate them so we decided that Diane and I would hike up to 8,000 feet to make camp and John would go back to the car in hopes of finding extra glasses.

The hike through the snow field proved to be a bit challenging. My route-finding skills were not at their best that day as I led Diane though a steep and challenging section. This was a new experience for her. Oh well, at least it was good practice for Rainier. We eventually found a place to make camp and, after getting things set up, I went 1,000 feet back down to meet John and help him carry his pack. When we met up I learned that John couldn't find any glasses in the car, but he found my swim goggles which would of been a crude substitute. On his way back up to meet me, however, he happened to find another pair of sunglasses, lost by someone else. After hearing his story and some rest we found a ridge trail that totally bypassed the snow field. We went up this trail much faster and easier than the route Diane and I had taken earlier.

We finally made it to Diane and our camp. Night soon crept in and we barely had enough time to make dinner and melt snow before it got dark. We were treated with a beautiful sunset with the nearby Mt. Saint Helens in the foreground. The was a meteor shower that night, but we didn't stay up to watch it. We had to get up earlier than planned for the next morning in order to make up the extra 1,000 feet we would have to climb that day.

Diane and John on their way to base camp

Behind us was a clear view of Mt. Hood (well, maybe not for the camera)

The snowfield Diane and I struggled up

Diane and John at our camp

Mt. Saint Helens and sunset

Another glorious mountain sunset

Mt. Adams Climb -> Up to the Summit

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August 10, 2002