Climbing Mount Adams via South Spur in Summer
12 miles round-trip with 6,700 ft. Elevation gain
Pick up permit ($12- weekends are $15) at the Trout Lake Ranger Station:
2455 HWY 141
Trout Lake, WA 98650
It’s open until 1630 and you can pay with by envelope after hours with exact change. During hours you can pay with a card.
Ice Axe – or anything to stop/slow down a snowy slide
Crampons – slip on ice studs work great
Gloves – if you are going to glissade down
Waterproof pants – for glissading
Sun protection – glasses/ goggles + sunscreen + hat
Snacks – we carried Cliff Bars, Jerky, and Gummies.
Tent and bag– Anything rated to 32 degrees (F) is fine
Water – limited sources on the mountain, I carried 6 liters for 2 days and never refilled. I also used my water to cook everyone’s meals (6 meals).
Mountain House meals – We had one for dinner and one for breakfast (6 total).
Jet Boil stove + fuel + spoon
We chose to do the climb in 2 days so we could get a night on the mountain to catch the sunset on Hood and Helens (pink glow).
We parked in the Cold Spring Campground (no water) and started our hike up at 1820. The first 2 miles are all in the tree line with long-gradual switchbacks up the mountain.
We reached the “Round the Mountain Trail Crossing” in 1.3 miles.
The tree line ended around 2.2 miles and we started climbing through the moraine.
At mile 2.6 we crossed the creek at crescent glacier (last water access before Lunch Counter) where most people decided to camp out of the wind and close to the water.
We climbed up the ridge and around the glacier another 0.4 miles and camped just below the snow line 3 miles into the climb at 7,558 feet. We reached this point in 1.5 hours. Most the camp sites have rock walls built to save you from the wind and there are a lot. If you can’t find one keep walking there are loads along the ridge.
Here is my Strava from day 1 hike to our camp
That night a group of climbers decided they wanted to climb the glacier and one got lost while another got hurt. They dragged the injured girl back to her tent (sprained ankle) and called SAR for the lost deaf guy in the morning. Stay on the trail people….
I woke early, made coffee, and sat around waiting to poop for 2 hours before we set off around 0800. Most people start super early (0500) to catch the hard snow up, but I made it up easily in the late morning. Enjoy your vacation, sleep in.
We hit the snow in 0.25 miles from our campsite but I continued without crampons for now because the incline was not steep.
At 4.2 miles (1.2 from camp) we reached the lunch counter, taking us 1:12. There are a ton of camping spots here so if you can’t find anything around crescent glacier keep on going.
From the lunch counter the route climbs steep and straight up to the top of Piker’s Peak (the false summit). This climb is about 1 mile long and took us 1:40. I put on a crampon halfway up because late morning heat was making the snow slick and my going slow.
From the top of Piker’s Peak you only have 0.8 miles left, but half of that is another climb. Almost there, step, breathe, repeat.
We reached the summit just under 4 hours after we left camp that morning. Everyone sits around and takes pictures around the wooden hut, but the real summit is at the pile of rocks to your right. There is a Geocache there to sign.
Here is my Strava from our climb to the summit on day 2
Going back down is the best part. Just take off your crampons, put on your rain pants, and slide on your butt. Make sure you have a way to slow down and put a leash on it. I used a rake and Cody used an Ice Axe. All work good, be creative and enjoy.
Total time up was 5.5 hours. Time down was 3 hours.