April 26, 2019, to May 3, volcanoes trip

Posted by pboria on 5/4/19 6:13am
My first post here so forgive me if I don't quite follow the forum's style.

Skied MSH Worm Flow on 4/26 with my son, his wife and friends. What an amazing place! For you PNW people it's probably not a big deal. But for a guy from Boston? Sensory overload at the summit! Right now you can probably start skinning about 1 mile from TH.

On April 28 my son and me did a lazy recon trip on mt Adams. We wanted to check if Aiken lava flow approach would work and drove there first. There was no snow in sight so we turned around and drove as far as we could towards the summer trailhead. Parked 4.2 miles (4.4k) from Cold Springs and skinned to 9k. By 2pm the mountain was in the clouds, it started snowing and we skied back. First it was scratchy and very very noisy skiing but then hero corn.

My son and his wife had to go back to work so I was all by myself for the rest of the trip. My lovely (and very strong) daughter-in-law casually suggested that I try Mount McLaughlin. I hope she doesn't mind me getting her into this post... She hails from Ashland, OR and hiked that "little" volcanoe. I checked it out the evening before from the PCT trailhead on rt 140, 5k elevation and the snow was right there. I spent the night in Klamath Falls motel and when I woke up on 4/30 it was snowing! The trip started easily enough on mostly snow-covered PCT. After 2 miles I stopped following PCT, switched to skinning and headed through the woods in the general direction towards the summit. Skinning bushwack followed for a couple. I first saw the mountain about 1 hour before summiting. I followed the spectacular ridge to the summit and switched to proper crampons 200 feet from the 9.5k summit! It was not steep but I realized that if I slipped the slope curved towards the precipice. From the summit it was just a bit of scratchy snow, then the amazing corn, and then 3 hours of your PNW bushwack to the car. Just over 10 hours car-to-car, 4.5k gain, full value! Not a sight of human passage on the mountain all day...

May 1st was a relatively easy day. I went to Shasta, skinned the Avalanche Gulch to 11.4k and had a glorious 40-min corn ski to car. Felt like a rest day after Mcloughlin. Ah, what a beautiful mountain!

Finally, to my last trip: mt. Adams. I just wanted to see how far I could go in one day. This time my rented Jeep Grand Cherokee made it to 4.6K - 3.8 miles from the summer TH. Started a bit late at 5am on 5/3 (Friday). Had all Adams to myself until around 11am when I met two people at 9.5k who were decending. After that I definitely had Adams to myself! I stopped at 11.4k just a bit shy of Pikes Peak. The snow was getting weird with very water slick ice cover and I didn't want to ski that. The transition was fast and I was skiing at 1:10pm. The snow was a bit strange first with melted sastrugy but then glorious corn! Skied the winter route which was fun with a corniced ridge to ski at one point. Managed to get a bit lost near the trailhead as the terrain sucks you in the wrong direction. Was back at the car around 4pm.

Thank you the PNW for amazing weather all this time! Thank you the kind mountains for letting me trespass...

Sorry for such a long post! Waiting for my flight and wanted to write something before it fades...

Sounds like quite the trip, what a nice itinerary!

I have to laugh about the McLoughlin bushwhacking experience.  I've skied it twice and have both followed the PCT (trip #1) and done the "direct" route (trip #2).  I recall thinking how pleasant the bushwhacking was compared to the steep jungle crap we have in the Cascades.  In any case, it is truly a beautiful mountain (very Fuji-esque) and like you, I've never seen another person while out there, even on a bluebird Saturday.

Anyway, congrats on your safe trip and I hope you are able to make it out here again!
2019-05-09 15:36:58
Thanks for the report! I've been wondering about the snowline on a couple of those mountains (Adams and McLoughlin), so it is nice to get some recent info. Also funny the reply about North Cascades and McLoughlin - from the couple times I've been to McLoughlin, I've come to think of it as having some challenging bushwhacking/navigation, but guess it is all relative. I'm probably just a bit lazy, in preferring the (mostly) straightforward climbs up S Cascades volcanoes to the rangy shenanigans required for bc skiing further north.
2019-05-10 10:03:18

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2019-05-04 13:13:09