July 20, 2002, Mt Adams, SW Chutes

WA Cascades West Slopes South (Mt Rainier)
Posted by ema on 9/10/02 9:11pm
The "Old Timers" thought we should try Mt. Adams in a day. The weather forecast was for a perfect weather window for Saturday. We headed to Trout Lake late Friday via road 25 from Randle and arrived at the Trout Lake Ranger station at 9:30 p.m. If you purchase a climbing permit $15 Fri-Sun, $10 during the week, you do not need a Northwest Forest Pass, as there is a ticket on the bottom of the permit that you tear off and place on the dash for the parking permit. Arrived at Cold Springs Campground at 10:30 p.m. and were pleasantly surprised to see that the road to Cold Springs has been graded and topped with crushed gravel. Excellent condition. Car camped, and left Cold Springs at 4:30 a.m. on Saturday. When the sun came up, it was clear skies and great visibility for the rest of the day. We were able to average 1,000 vf of climbing an hour for the first four hours, then the "Old Timers" slowed to a geriatric pace once we were above the Crescent Glacier. The snow was very hard, and was slow to soften even though the temps were in the 60s. Ron skinned to the base of the "False Summit" while I donned the crampons. The false summit pitch was in great shape, and had softened enough that some were climbing it without crampons. There was a rather large deep glissade trench down the middle of the false summit pitch. Approx. 3 feet deep in some places. The snow at the top of the summit pitch was very sloppy, but stable slush. We were fortunate enough to be engulfed by a Monarch Butterfly migration starting at 10,000 feet and continuing to 11,500. There were 100s of thousands of butterflies catching a ride by the light breeze that was pushing them over the top of the mountain. An incredible site to be seen as they were fluttering by everywhere, on the snow, on the rocks, and in the air. It was a perfect day for a summit attempt, but since there was very little continuous snow at the summit and down to the top of the false summit pitch, we skied the SW Chutes which had the best conditions for skiing. The snow was very stable with about 6 inches of perfect summer corn over a very stable base. Temps were 60 degrees at 11,500, with a slight breeze. We skied from 11,400 to 8,000, where we were being watched by three curious mountain goats that were basking in the sun and snow, before we traversed around the top of the bowl and down to the saddle at 7,000 where we loaded up. Ron used his GPS way points, and we did a little bush whacking to catch the, "Round the Mountain Trail", back to Timberline and then to Cold Springs, arriving at the car at 7:00 p.m. The "Old Timers" didn't do bad, making the round trip in 14 hours. Trout Lake seems to button up the town around 6:00 p.m., be prepared of not finding any stores (which is one) or gas stations (also one) open after dusk. For those of you who are interested, we saw lots of four legged creatures on our travels to and from the mountain. Including, 2 porcupine, 8 deer, 2 owls, 1 coyote, the Monarch butterflies, 3 mountain goats, one large bat, 3 elk, and 1 frog, not to mention again, the best 3,000+ vf of skiing."

Photos from this trip can be viewed here and also here.


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2002-09-11 04:11:19