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View Full Version : Mt. Adams, WA - Summer Solstice attempt



Tyrone Shoelaces
06-24-2008, 10:17 AM
Myself, Walter Sobchak, and Greydon Clark made an attempt to climb Mt. Adams via Suksdorf Ridge (yes that really is the name) to hit the famous southwest chutes on the Summer solstice. The southwest chutes isn't the gnarliest route on the mountain, but definitely one of the most worthy descents arounds as they are about 3,000 ft long with a near continuous 30 degree pitch for the entire length....hitting these in corn would make for a damn memorable run.

Unfortunately, a few factors wouldn't be on our side:

1) the weather. the forecasts were calling for 20 - 30% chance of rain depending on the source and PNW volcanoes can be finicky mother-f'ers anyway so we knew we might have some weather issues to contend with. and

2) the route. Due to an epic snowfall season in the PNW, the normal trailhead was still buried under snow. So the only option we had was to drive up the access road as far as we could, park, and then go from there. This would put us about 4 miles away (one-way) from the normal starting trailhead and 2,000 ft lower. not so bad if the entire route was skinnable...but in reality it was very patchy causing us to have to hike a good deal of it slowing us down greatly.

In short, we got turned around by a fast moving system at about 10,000 ft...traveled just over 17 miles car to car....and climbed/skinned/booted just under 7,000 vert. Total trip time was 11 and a half hours. While we didn't make our objective, it was one of the biggeer/longer one-day pushes any of us had ever made so we felt pretty good about it. We were making good time on the ridge when the weather moved in.....but decided it best to turnaround around then to get caught on a volcano ridge in a white out.

anyway, here are some pics. Not very many skiing action pics as nearly the entire time was spent climbing.

Trip Stats:
Mt. Adams, WA
Total Trip Distance - 17.83 miles
Elevation Gain (according to MotionBased - 6,780 ft.
Total Trip Time - 11:30 hours

http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/activity/6064676


4:30 AM - Time to get moving. We rolled into our camp spot at about 1 AM so we only got about 3 hours sleep max.
http://photos-a.ak.facebook.com/photos-ak-sf2p/v250/247/0/603343578/n603343578_636864_8992.jpg

This is the trail/road that is normally drivable. You can't tell in this pic, but we were getting rained on at this point. For about the first 3 hours, we got intermitently rained on and we were just waiting for the skies to really open up on us. Oh well, keep pushing and see how far we get.
http://photos-b.ak.facebook.com/photos-ak-sf2p/v250/247/0/603343578/n603343578_636865_9275.jpg

The clouds lifted periodically allowing us a view of our surroundings. Mt. Hood in the distance
http://photos-c.ak.facebook.com/photos-ak-sf2p/v250/247/0/603343578/n603343578_636866_9541.jpg

Another shot of Hood. Those ominous clouds were chasing us all day. We knew it would only be a matter of time before they caught us.
http://photos-d.ak.facebook.com/photos-ak-sf2p/v250/247/0/603343578/n603343578_636867_9803.jpg

A few hours in, we finally caught a glimpse of our goal...the southwest chutes on lookers left. Summit obscured in clouds/fog however....
http://photos-e.ak.facebook.com/photos-ak-sf2p/v250/247/0/603343578/n603343578_636868_66.jpg

Mt. St Helens to the West:
http://photos-f.ak.facebook.com/photos-ak-sf2p/v250/247/0/603343578/n603343578_636869_332.jpg

Our campsite is somewhere way down there in those hills
http://photos-h.ak.facebook.com/photos-ak-sf2p/v250/247/0/603343578/n603343578_636871_908.jpg

Cool rock shelters at about 8,000 ft....hopefully we won't be needing these.
http://photos-b.ak.facebook.com/photos-ak-sf2p/v250/247/0/603343578/n603343578_636873_1539.jpg

St. Helens again....shit those clouds are getting closer and it's getting windier
http://photos-e.ak.facebook.com/photos-ak-sf2p/v250/247/0/603343578/n603343578_636876_2389.jpg

up, up, up
http://photos-f.ak.facebook.com/photos-ak-sf2p/v250/247/0/603343578/n603343578_636877_2659.jpg

some climbers above us on Suksdorf Ridge. We would make it about as far as that rock pile before getting enveloped by storm clouds:
http://photos-g.ak.facebook.com/photos-ak-sf2p/v250/247/0/603343578/n603343578_636878_2938.jpg

http://photos-h.ak.facebook.com/photos-ak-sf2p/v250/247/0/603343578/n603343578_636879_3216.jpg

sobchak and clark...up up up
http://photos-a.ak.facebook.com/photos-ak-sf2p/v250/247/0/603343578/n603343578_636880_3515.jpg

At abou 10,000 ft, and 8:30 hrs into our climb, the storm clouds caught us. The winds started gusting to about 40mph and it starting snowing sideways...you can't tell in this pic but it was graupeling on us pretty good here and just after I put the camera away here it turned pretty damn white. Let's get the hell out of here:
http://photos-b.ak.facebook.com/photos-ak-sf2p/v250/247/0/603343578/n603343578_636881_3809.jpg

incoming:
http://photos-c.ak.facebook.com/photos-ak-sf2p/v250/247/0/603343578/n603343578_636882_4094.jpg

hey look skiing! Sobchak making a blurry turn down lower out of the clouds:
http://photos-a.ak.facebook.com/photos-ak-sf2p/v250/247/0/603343578/n603343578_636888_8915.jpg

we got a little lost on our return trip and went to low into a drainage. booting up through the forest to get back on route after about 10 hours of effort pretty much sucked:
http://photos-b.ak.facebook.com/photos-ak-sf2p/v250/247/0/603343578/n603343578_636889_9184.jpg

Back at the car 11 and a half hours later. PBR's and grilled brats sure tasted good at this point:
http://photos-c.ak.facebook.com/photos-ak-sf2p/v250/247/0/603343578/n603343578_636890_9501.jpg

that evening we drove from Adams north to Chinook pass via Hwy 97 through Yakima. We were treated with these sunset views of Adams. Sorry for the lousy pics, but I was using digital zoom here on my crappy camera.
http://photos-d.ak.facebook.com/photos-ak-sf2p/v250/247/0/603343578/n603343578_636891_9801.jpg

http://photos-e.ak.facebook.com/photos-ak-sf2p/v250/247/0/603343578/n603343578_636892_93.jpg

The next day we skied Chinook pass in typicaly PNW fashion...foggy and spitting rain. although the rain did hold up enough to allow a nice guided tour of the area by none other than Buster Highman and PNWBrit. thanks guys!! Our day on Chinoook Pass turned out to be fantastic as we hit Naches and Yakima peaks. I don't have any pics from this day but the other guys might.

fin.

PNWbrit
06-24-2008, 10:48 AM
Great to ski with you guys on Sunday after your Adams sufferfest.

The face off of Naches through the mini-golf rocks was fun skiing.

Greydon Clark
06-24-2008, 10:58 AM
We should have hit the SW Chutes at sunset. Also, why no pictures of Yakima Wal-Mart, it was truly the crux of the trip.

Tyrone Shoelaces
06-24-2008, 11:09 AM
Also, why no pictures of Yakima Wal-Mart, it was truly the crux of the trip.

Most of the subjects wouldn't fit in the frame.

powski3
06-24-2008, 11:12 AM
Nice pics. Looks like a good solid trip even though conditions didn't allow a summit.

I'm looking to make my first Adams attempt soon and had a few questions for you--

How long did it take you to get from where you parked to the start of the actual south climb trail? Is it still about 4 miles (according to the NFS website)? From the looks of things, did it look like it would still be awhile before the road is completely clear?

You said you missed the trail on the descent. Is the routefinding in general very difficult, or was this just a simple mistake?

Thanks for any beta and the TR.

The weather is looking promising this weekend if anyone is interested in meeting up for another try...

Tyrone Shoelaces
06-24-2008, 11:21 AM
Nice pics. Looks like a good solid trip even though conditions didn't allow a summit.

I'm looking to make my first Adams attempt soon and had a few questions for you--

How long did it take you to get from where you parked to the start of the actual south climb trail? Is it still about 4 miles (according to the NFS website)? From the looks of things, did it look like it would still be awhile before the road is completely clear?

I'd say it took us about 2 hours to get from our car to the normal start of the south climb trail. It is indeed about 4 miles and it's approx 2,000 ft of extra vertical you will need to climb. It wouldn't have taken as long as it did if the entire way was snow and skinnable...but it is patchy....you will spend alot of time and energy skinning...then shouldering skis to boot...then skinning...then shouldering...etc.

It adds a significant amount of time on the return trip as well...because not being continuous snow, you can't just ski back down to your car. The return hike back down was probably more tiring than on the way up.

However, if you actually make it to the SW chutes, you will be returning via a a different route since the chutes take you farther away from the south clmb trail head and since we didn't make it to there...I don't have much beta for ya on that route.



You said you missed the trail on the descent. Is the routefinding in general very difficult, or was this just a simple mistake?

It's not really that hard, but we just got a little over ambitious with our descending and ended up in an adjacent gully. If you have a GPS....bring it.

PNWbrit
06-24-2008, 11:35 AM
What Tyrone said - The navigation is much easier from the SW chutes you can just ski to an altitude and traverse back.

The road melt is always such a gamble. by the time you can drive to the trailhead you may not be able to ski to-from there anyway.

I haven't enough time this weekend to do Adams. But I'd love to.

Mofro261
06-24-2008, 11:41 AM
The Adams approach is eternal.

I still have some unfinished business to attend to there, if I can ever get a knee to last through the winter.

prestonf
06-24-2008, 11:50 AM
Good job going for it in a sketchy forecast. I bailed on volcano plans and just went cragging in Leavenworth.

Greydon Clark
06-24-2008, 11:54 AM
I think a couple of big drifts will prevent driving to the trailhead for a few more weeks, but the road will be really dry by this weekend and you may want to bring approach shoes. I wouldnít worry about getting lost on the descent, just donít get greedy skiing the trees and wind lips on the way down and note some of the obvious landmarks. If you know the area you could probably connect snow patches on the way down and cut out some walking, but we didnít.

Next year Iím going earlier when the road is mostly snow or later and driving to the trailhead. Mofro, hope the knee is progressing and getting stronger!

somegeek
06-24-2008, 12:05 PM
Nice TR - thanks!

Walter Sobchak
06-24-2008, 01:19 PM
Even though we didn't get our objective, it was a beautiful day to be out. Those CA bluebird skies don't have much character - PNDubya stormy graybird is where it's at.

Buster, PNWAussie - great to finally meet you and thanks for the guided tour.

Full, wordier write-up here (Air Supply, Wal-Mart, sasquatch, bestiality, etc.):

http://www.felicia.us/activities/adams-chinook/adams-chinook.html

And some photo highlights to round out the thread...

Hood and St. Helens below stormy skies:

http://www.felicia.us/activities/adams-chinook/adams-chinook-Images/2.jpg

http://www.felicia.us/activities/adams-chinook/adams-chinook-Images/3.jpg

Clouds advancing on Adams:

http://www.felicia.us/activities/adams-chinook/adams-chinook-Images/5.jpg

And the black clouds that swooped down and snowed on us on the first day of summer:

http://www.felicia.us/activities/adams-chinook/adams-chinook-Images/6.jpg

http://www.felicia.us/activities/adams-chinook/adams-chinook-Images/7.jpg

http://www.felicia.us/activities/adams-chinook/adams-chinook-Images/8.jpg

The descent:

http://www.felicia.us/activities/adams-chinook/adams-chinook-Images/9.jpg

http://www.felicia.us/activities/adams-chinook/adams-chinook-Images/13.jpg

http://www.felicia.us/activities/adams-chinook/adams-chinook-Images/16.jpg

Sunset in the Klickitat Valley:

http://www.felicia.us/activities/adams-chinook/adams-chinook-Images/17.jpg

http://www.felicia.us/activities/adams-chinook/adams-chinook-Images/19.jpg

A few shots of climbing and skiing in the rain and fog at Chinook:

http://www.felicia.us/activities/adams-chinook/adams-chinook-Images/21.jpg

http://www.felicia.us/activities/adams-chinook/adams-chinook-Images/24.jpg

http://www.felicia.us/activities/adams-chinook/adams-chinook-Images/28.jpg

http://www.felicia.us/activities/adams-chinook/adams-chinook-Images/29.jpg

http://www.felicia.us/activities/adams-chinook/adams-chinook-Images/30.jpg

Walter Sobchak
06-24-2008, 01:27 PM
We should have hit the SW Chutes at sunset. Also, why no pictures of Yakima Wal-Mart, it was truly the crux of the trip.

Almost forgot those...

The friendly greeter:

http://www.uneasysilence.com/wp-content/walmartgreeterbig.jpg

Working on the Type II (aka "your fault") diabetes:

http://mediacology.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/08/obese-america.jpg

http://www.spurgeon.org/images/Suge/fat_kid.jpg

Exodus 20:5... the sins of the father shall be visited upon the son...

http://images.teamsugar.com/files/upl0/1/13255/02_2008/DSC02257.preview.JPG

And the lively parking lot scene:

http://i96.photobucket.com/albums/l187/chel708/walmart-greeter-flasher.jpg

HikeforTurns
06-24-2008, 01:34 PM
Sasquatch country! Good effort.

somegeek
06-24-2008, 01:36 PM
Almost forgot those...

Working on the Type II (aka "your fault") diabetes:

http://mediacology.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/08/obese-america.jpg


G-strings along with spandex is a privilege, not a right.

skiingsamurai
06-24-2008, 01:54 PM
solid work, sucks that the weather didnt cooperate

so according to your motion based report, not only do you hike at 15mph, but you can jump 1000 vert in a single bound

Tyrone Shoelaces
06-24-2008, 02:04 PM
so according to your motion based report, not only do you hike at 15mph, but you can jump 1000 vert in a single bound

bwahaha...and all in alpine boots dude..haha.

Snowmasscolt
06-24-2008, 02:09 PM
That mountain is a slog! I did it last year and it sounds like the snow made you park the car around the same place as us.. I bet it was just a snowfield too with no snow after it for a while so you had to walk.. sound about right? we camped at close to tree line and the next day was still super tough I can't hardly imagine starting from the cars. SW chutes were pretty sweet tho! keep in mind once you ski them you have work to get back out to the rout you took up still. sidesteppiing traverse. Get it!

Dug
06-24-2008, 02:49 PM
Glad you guys got at least some good turns in.

Chaka
06-24-2008, 03:23 PM
I've been waiting for this TR, Ty! Sorry things didn't work out better for you guys, but hey, sufferfests usually have their own intrinsic rewards, without ever nailing the original objective.

Does this mean you'll be really really tired for PC tomorrow

PNWbrit
06-24-2008, 03:42 PM
Gentlemen - So you get an idea of the views that you missed off of Naches, here's what it looked like from the top ~this time last year.

http://tetongravity.com/forums/showthread.php?t=86848&highlight=chinook

http://i140.photobucket.com/albums/r20/IHWd35ign/DSC_1278.jpg

....and as Scotsman sagely observed on Sunday morning. Why didn't we have any women with us?

TyWebb
06-24-2008, 04:00 PM
nice TR...looks like a brutal slog. Had to feel good to be out though...I'm jealous for sure.

Tyrone Shoelaces
06-25-2008, 08:28 AM
Does this mean you'll be really really tired for PC tomorrow

Regardless of tired.....it is smooooooooooky out there today. I rode last night and it wasn't so bad, but holy crap, this morning seems much worse. I wonder how turn out will be tonight at the races...they should do double points.

hop
06-25-2008, 08:35 AM
Friday: I contemplate joining this expedition, but the timing is all wrong and I'm tired.

Saturday: I woke up at about 10, sat around, played drums, watched soccer game, played drums, drank gin and tonics. Bed by midnight.

Sunday: I woke up at about 11, sat around, played drums, watched soccer game, sat around, played drums, took a nap, went bowling, drank beer. Bed by 1am.

Monday: Tyrone pocket-dials me at 0606. :cussing:

Tyrone Shoelaces
06-25-2008, 08:37 AM
Monday: Tyrone pocket-dials me at 0606. :cussing:

Shiet......again? :D

Vets
06-25-2008, 08:47 AM
Very impressive effort on Adams.
Skiing Chinook looks intersting too.

mmcpheet
06-25-2008, 08:56 AM
Quality coverage of some type II fun!

Adams is on the list.....someday.

madturtle
06-25-2008, 09:40 AM
Way to get after if guys, still a big day even w/o standing on the summit. Just another reminder the mtn is still in charge.

Hicks
06-25-2008, 09:58 AM
Major effort for sure, nicely played.

That PNW thing is beautiful, need to go there in winter one day.