le ascentDan and I climbed the South Side route of Mt. Adams. We left Cold Creek Campground at noon and headed up the dusty trail. I had aspirations of camping at Pikers Peak (11300') or the actual Summit (12200) instead of the traditional Lunch Counter (9500'). It was fairly slow going as I didn't feel uber strong and didn't drink enough water (who knew) on the way up. We took breaks wherever we could find shade, tiny trees or the old lava flows. We still had quite a few hours of sunlight left when we got to Lunch Counter but decided to camp there for the night because the wind was picking up and the spots there looked very enticing.
We settled into the wind break and Dan set up his tent and I boiled water for our gourmet dehydrated dinners and dessert. We each carried a beer up, Guinness for Dan and Rainier for me (no Olympia beer at the store). I was hoping to take a picture of the Rainier with Mt. Rainier behind us, but Mt. Adams got in the way. I didn't feel great so Dan took over beer drinking duties and finished mine. After taking out our dinner we sat around watching the sun set and wait for the stars to come out. It was most likely the best campsite I've stayed at just because of the views and location.
In the morning we got up a few hours after the go getters who were moving up the mountain in the dark. We had to melt snow for water as the runoff was frozen from the night. The new MSR Reactor was very impressive and melted and boiled the snow in no time. I drank a few liters of water as I had headaches during the night from being dehydrated/stupid and that made all the difference for the rest of the day. We made up some milk and granola and packed up for the rest of the climb. We decided to carry crampons but ended up not using them (it might have been a little more secure but the snow was fairly soft by the time we were on it.)
We made good time up the initial slog to Pikers Peak, catching up to a party that was way ahead of us. We got a look at the huge glissade chutes going down the mountain - they looked scary when the snow was hard. On top of the peak we added another layer and marched over to the true summit. The walk over was very cool with the wide expanse of mountain and gentle slope down and up. I could definitely feel the altitude after Pikers Peak, not a wonder as we were above Mt. Hood by then. I threw rocks at Dan to have him slow down but he was too far away to hit. Once on the top summit field we had a 10 yard jog/race, which is not advised as we had to double over from lack of air. I did at any rate, I blacked out and couldn't see Dan but I assume he was hurting too.
Up top we took photos and kept going on and on about how cool the summit was. It really was awesome, great views and a huge snow field every directions you looked. It was a bit hazy so we couldn't see further North than Mt. Rainier or South than Mt. Jefferson. We ate some rice krispie treats, drank some of the 3 liters I humped up and headed back down.
le descentI put on my rain pants for the renowned glissading. I thought it might be over hyped this glissade, but it was if anything underrated. We floated down the summit peak in no time, cruising down the banked chutes and jumps. The photos don't do it justice but it was very very cool. After walking back to Pikers Peak we got a view of the real glissade tracks and didn't chicken out. This part was even faster and cooler than the first track, the walls at the beginning were 2 to 3 feet deep and banked for the turns down. Dan went first to get some pictures of me coming down. We hollared and screamed like little kids as we flew down the hill, much more fun than any mountain bike trail I've done. It took a little under 2 hours to hike up and about 15 minutes to float down.
We slid almost to the camp and grudgingly walked over pumice and rock to the tent to pack up. Once we grabbed our bags and broke out the new plastic sleds, we headed back to the snow fields. The new sleds must've been coated in teflon and oil for how fast they took us down the hill. We cruised past the suckers plunge stepping down the hill. We hit a few more fields and chutes and were back down at the trail in minutes.
thoughtsTrying to learn from past mistakes I tried to carry only the minimum necessary for an overnight on the mountain; bringing a bivy sack, sleeping bag, stove, food, filter, 2 light jackets, rain pants, crampons, axe, poles and many packs of GU and only a few liters of water. I should have drunk more water more often but I'm pretty bad about heeding plans and drinking when hiking. Equipment wise we did well and didn't bring anything we didn't need and didn't want for anything - perhaps more powerade.
This was both mine and Dan's first time using blue bags for our waste. Next time I will bring an air freshner, more kitty litter and many more ziplock bags. It's a little disconcerting carrying your poo in your backpack as you slide down the hill with an axe in your hands.
This was definetly a Type I climb. The views, location, ease of climbing, awesome weather and super glissading (5000' of sliding) made it a great trip.
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