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Adams Glacier skiing photos: Mount Adams north side
Turns All Year: Previous Home Page Galleries
This is a gallery of Mount Adams Glacier skiing photos which appeared on the Turns All Year home page in the past. Thumbnail images on this page can be clicked to view the full-sized photos, and lead into a slide show sequence for the gallery. The photos are from a four day backcountry trip to the north side of Mount Adams. Rainy weather put a damper on skiing, but great skiing was still found on the Adams Glacier in brilliant June sunshine.
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Turns All Year CD-ROM

The complete version of this photo gallery is now available on Turns All Year CD-ROM. Below you can view thumbnail photos from this gallery.

Turns All Year CD-ROM contains over 180 photo galleries, containing more than 3200 full-sized photos, from backcountry skiing and snowboarding trips in the Pacific Northwest.

from June 26, 2006:
Adams Glacier skiing, Mount Adams north side,
Mt. Adams Wilderness Area, Washington, June 13-16, 2006

Foggy forest near 4800 feet
Foggy forest near 4800 feet
Adams Glacier moraine in the fog
Adams Glacier
moraine in the fog
Front door of the plastic-roofed snow cave shelter
Front door of the plastic-roofed
snow cave shelter
Side view of the shelter
Side view of the shelter
Snow-block wall protects the windward corner of the shelter
Snow-block wall protects the
windward corner of the shelter
Shelter floor lined with winter blowdown for foot insulation
Shelter floor lined with winter
blowdown for foot insulation
The clouds lift to reveal the mountain basking in sunshine
The clouds lift to reveal the
mountain basking in sunshine
Adams Glacier icefall and NFNWR
Adams Glacier icefall
and NFNWR
Adams Glacier cirque from near camp
Adams Glacier cirque
from near camp
West face of north ridge, with Stormy Monday Couloir
West face of north ridge,
with Stormy Monday Couloir
North face of the northwest ridge under the clouds
North face of the northwest
ridge under the clouds
Adams Glacier icefall
Adams Glacier icefall
North face of the northwest ridge (NFNWR)
North face of the
northwest ridge (NFNWR)
Looking over ice to the icefall
Looking over ice to the icefall
Close-up photo: Adams Glacier icefall
Close-up photo:
Adams Glacier icefall
Extreme close-up photo: Adams Glacier icefall
Extreme close-up photo:
Adams Glacier icefall
Skiing tracks and threatening clouds
Skiing tracks and
threatening clouds
A colorful portion of the west face of the north ridge
A colorful portion of the
west face of the north ridge
Snow eroded almost down to ice
Snow eroded almost
down to ice
Sunlit snow and clouds
Sunlit snow and clouds
Adams Glacier skiing tracks
Adams Glacier skiing tracks
A lenticular cloud formed over the summit of Mount Adams
A lenticular cloud formed over
the summit of Mount Adams
Cloud enshrouded north face of northwest ridge
Cloud enshrouded north
face of northwest ridge
Adams Glacier cirque with lenticular cloud
Adams Glacier cirque
with lenticular cloud
Skiing tracks on the lower Adams Glacier
Skiing tracks on the
lower Adams Glacier
Adams Glacier cirque with lenticular cloud
Adams Glacier cirque
with lenticular cloud
Wind and rain have eroded the snow-block wall: time to leave
Wind and rain have eroded the
snow-block wall: time to leave

Photos by Charles Eldridge
Backcountry skiing trip report:
June 13-16, 2006, Adams Glacier skiing, Mount Adams north side, Mt. Adams Wilderness Area, Washington

    I'm getting good enough at interpreting the forecasts that I would have choosen not to ski during this period of "unsettled weather", but because I have to plan months in advance to get the time for a multi-day ski trip, I pretty much had to go. I didn't have any partners, but I'd been to the north side of Mount Adams three times so I figured I could have a good trip.
    The 2329 road was drivable to close to the Takhlakh Lake CG spur (a little further with high clearance 4WD). A 20 minute walk brought me to continuous snow, and except for a short carry on the road before the trail it was snow all the way up to treeline (though dirty and lumpy in the lower woods). I used my fishscale waxless skis (Fischer Outtabounds) and my joke leather/fabric telemark boots, and I took the removable cables for the three-pin bindings for all of the runs I expected to get. I generally followed the route of the Divide Camp trail, which avoids the lava flow outcroppings which are bare by this time of year. The weather was overcast but not raining, but as I reached treeline I started to enter into the cloud layer. I got a couple of glimpses of the surrounding terrain and was able to find the spot where I'd camped twice before. By the last band of trees, with a nice little 500 foot run right above, easy access to the Adams Glacier, very scenic, but most of all with running water from the roof of a natural snow cave - at least on the two prior trips. The snow was piled up differently this time, however, and there was not yet any evidence of the snow cave or running water. Good thing I brought extra fuel.
    Right about when I had decided on a location for my camp, it started to rain. I had not brought a tent, just a bivy sack, down sleeping bag, and one of those high-tech tarps from Ace Hardware (brown-green version of the blue tarp, 6x8 feet). I quickly set up the tarp from a near-vertical snow ridge, then dug in to make a sort of snow cave with a plastic, instead of snow, roof. I was able to get the place dug out without getting very wet, and there were some small trees in just the right places to pull the tarp out over my alcove in the snow. Adjustable ski poles worked great for proping up the free corners of the tarp until I could find some sticks. Given the following weather, I was happy to have been stuck in this relatively roomy shelter rather than some small tent, because I could sit, move around, cook, and even stand up in the shelter. During the first evening I was able to collect the water running off the roof at 1 liter per 10 minutes, and I quickly had my 6 liters of storage filled. I made continual improvements over time, like adding a snow block wall on the windward side, finding sticks to replace the ski poles, and gathering winter blowdown of small green branches to line to floor and keep my feet warmer.
    The rest of the trip was pretty much either rainy, foggy, windy, or a combination of the three, with the exception of the afternoon of the third day. In the morning of the third day there were brief hints that it might be sunny up above, but I didn't think I could risk getting soaked getting up to the sun. By the afternoon, however, it looked like I could get up to the sun near 7000 feet without getting wet, so I made a quick trip up and then skied back to camp. The snow was very nice, smooth and fast. The weather was still looking OK, so I packed up and skied up onto the central Adams Glacier. After all of the gloom it was wonderful to be in the warm sunshine, and the entire upper mountain was clear. I skied up toward the base of the Adams Glacier icefall, stopping around 9000 feet. Below 8000 feet the snow was perfect corn, an inch or less softened, but above the surface snow was airy and large grained, 4 to 10 inches deep. The upper mountain looked like it had gotten fresh snow, and, for those who are interested, the North Face of the Northwest Ridge (NFNWR) looked to be in prime shape.
    I didn't want to head back down out of the sunshine, but around 8 pm I decided that I should. The skiing on the Adams Glacier was great! Nothing very steep, but the snow was so fast and smooth that it didn't matter, even the deeper snow above 8000 feet. I stopped several times to watch the lenticular which had formed over the summit, and to photograph the sunset colors on the upper mountain.
    My hopes were certainly raised by this trip into the sun, but that night it got even more windy at camp and started raining again. The next morning (4th day) it was again raining, windy, and foggy. Although I had a fifth day for the trip, I decided that by afternoon I would either ski up into the sun or ski down to the car. I ended up doing the latter, though the rain let up just at the right time for me to ski out and not get soaked. A very disappointing trip, but I decided that it must have been payback time to the weather gods for all of the great weather and snow I've had on trips in the past year.
   Charles

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