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Adams Glacier

AI2-3 Steep Snow, Ice, Snow, Alpine, 4700 ft, Grade III,  Avg: 3.4 from 16 votes
FA: unknown
Washington > Southwest Cascades > Mt Adams

Description

The Adams Glacier is on Mt. Adams's N /NW face. The route generally starts at the base of the glacier on the right side, and ascends fairly straight up, sticking to the right 1/3 of the glacier for the majority of the climb. (Of course, the exact route may vary by year, season, and conditions.) The upper icefall can be passed on either side, Nelson and Potterfield show the route going around the left, my party went on the right. Above this icefall is a false-summit plateau. You then continue to the actual summit.

The route is primarily moderate snow with some steep snow, and a bit of alpine ice. In 2016 we found 2 sections requiring ice screws and a belay, the latter of which was climbing into and back out of a large crevasse. The majority of the route can be simul-soloed, and is protectable with pickets and a running belay if desired.

You can descend via the N. Ridge or a snow field on the west side of the N. Ridge. Note the N. Ridge consist of very loose volcanic rock. Be careful to not release rock slides on fellow skiers or climbers.

Location

Use Forest Service roads 23, 21 and 2329 to reach the Killen Creek Trail (#113).

Follow the Killen Creek Trail (#113) to the PCT, where you'll continue straight onto the High Camp Trail (#10). Once up in the High Camp area, head SE towards the foot of the N. Ridge. Ample camping can be found between 7,000 and 7,600 ft.

The route is impossible to miss and you have a good view of your line for the entire approach.

A volcano permit is required to climb Mount Adams. More info here:
fs.usda.gov/recmain/gifford…

Camp at a glacial lake at 7650' for easy access.
There is also flat and dry camping (on dirt) at the established 'high camp' area at 7000'

Protection

Protection consists of pickets and ice screws.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Upper Adams Glacier June 2019 (photo: Erick T.)
[Hide Photo] Upper Adams Glacier June 2019 (photo: Erick T.)
Approximate route taken, Adams Glacier, July 2016.
[Hide Photo] Approximate route taken, Adams Glacier, July 2016.
Lower Adams Glacier June 2019 (Photo: Erick T.)
[Hide Photo] Lower Adams Glacier June 2019 (Photo: Erick T.)
Traversing the upper portion of the Adams Glacier just before the final steep snow field (June 2019)
[Hide Photo] Traversing the upper portion of the Adams Glacier just before the final steep snow field (June 2019)
Looking back on the Adams Glacier route from about half-way up
[Hide Photo] Looking back on the Adams Glacier route from about half-way up
On belay crossing a snow bridge half-way up the Adams Glacier
[Hide Photo] On belay crossing a snow bridge half-way up the Adams Glacier
Alpine start June 2019 looking back at Mt. Rainier and the lower Adams Glacier
[Hide Photo] Alpine start June 2019 looking back at Mt. Rainier and the lower Adams Glacier
Adams Glacier on July 12, 2012.
[Hide Photo] Adams Glacier on July 12, 2012.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

Steve R
NY, NY
 
[Hide Comment] June 15, 2019 ~6.5hr from lake camp (~7500') to the true summit. Mostly simul-climbed while roped-up for glacier travel. We walked mostly upright, but there were multiple steeper sections where we simul-climbed (without pro) with two tools. The snow was excellent. The steepest snow was near the 'brown band' (see 'lower Adams Glacier' photo). We eventually crossed two hollow snow-bridges about half way to two-thirds up the route where we belayed each other using pickets. We used an ice screw for one of these anchors. Although we brought 4 pickets and 3 ice screws, we used no more than 2-3 pickets and 1 screw at a time. The traverse and upper left exit was obvious, safe, and inviting--an upper right exit did not seem possible without significant vertical climbing and rock/serac fall hazard. The two snow-bridges we crossed were likely gone a week or two later; that said, one could have gone around with some back-tracking and out-of-the-way travel. There were a number of steep ~45deg snow slopes that were easy to climb due to the great snow conditions, but in the run-out zones of these sections were big crevasses (close enough so that group-self-arrest would not have been possible)--this represented the major hazard for our climb. Regarding the down-climb--it was also in good condition: the upper third was all snow, while the lower 2/3rd was choss, as expected. Overall this was a great route in excellent conditions. Jun 26, 2019
Chris H
seattle
 
[Hide Comment] started our climb from high camp at 12am to reduce objective hazards. Climbed during good relatively cold conditions end of June. To base of climb by 3:30am. Summit 9am at very moderate pace. fun climb, leave time to camp and observe the glacier, beware seracs. Jul 1, 2019
Chris H
seattle
 
[Hide Comment] June 30 2019: Snow bridges thin, but route probably still goes at harder grade without some of them. we stayed right until the end. Jul 1, 2019
Mark P Thomas
Draperderr, by Bangerter, UT
 
[Hide Comment] July 12, 2019 - Route still passable but much more difficult with many more hazards. Lower section can be climbed on good ice closer to the center to avoid rock/snow/serac fall and is straightforward. The middle section is a maze of 'nearly' impassable crevasses, but routes can be found with some amount of wandering and perseverance. I don't know if you could still exit left at the top.We went up through the trough of the 'schrund. This was difficult but barely possible on more technical, complex, and loose terrain within the seracs. Be ready to craw in and out of a mess of crevasses and seracs, and ice up to AI2+. 3 days ago