Mount Adams NFNWR
Nate and I skied the NFNWR of Adams on Tuesday. We drove out the night before coming to Killen Creek TH from the N because the ranger said the road was blocked by snow from the S, although that has probably melted out by now. We started at 4:30am, consistent skinnable snow started around 5,500’. We climbed the N ridge following mountain goat tracks to near 11,000’. It’s surprising to see goats this high, maybe it’s because they are protecting their babies or are going after some sulfur. We climbed the N ridge in ski boots, but I’m not sure this is better than using trail runners. It’s either climbing steep snow in trail runners or chossy rock in ski boots.
Once on the summit plateau we skinned over to the summit then skied over to the Pinnacle where we met another party who had climbed the NW ridge. We waited until 2pm to ski which was about right. The snow on the steepest section of the face was perfect. Soft enough to get a good edge but not so soft that it was sluffing. The passage onto the Adams Glacier is very broken up this season. We were not able to find a reasonably safe way to ski it and we didn’t want to hang out in the icefall so we traversed W to the base of the NW ridge instead which involved a couple carries over scree. The party that we had met earlier skied down at this point and showed us a way off the NW ridge at about 9,000’ over a steep roll and bergschrund. The snow here was schmoo over blue ice, pretty hard to get an edge. After a quick skin we skied the Adams Glacier on very sticky snow to Glacier Lake then more sticky low angle snow to the trail.
When I go back I will climb the NW ridge instead of the N ridge. It’s all on snow, gives you a much better sense of snow conditions on the face, and allows you to scope out an alternative exit in case the Adams Glacier exit doesn’t work.
Crossing onto the Adams Glacier at 9,000'
Adams Glacier and NFNWR