Rotator Placeholder Image
  • Mt. Bierstadt Group Summit - Front Range, Colorado
  • A rest before the summit push on Dallas Peak - San Juan Range, Colorado
  • Broken Ankle + 6 Miles = Tired
  • The classic San Juan approach - San Juan Range, Colorado
  • Overlooking Noname Basin from Twin Thumbs Pass - San Juan Range, Colorado
  • Upper Noname Basin - San Juan Range, Colorado
  • Nearing Noname Cabin - San Juan Range, Colorado
  • Twin Thumbs Twins - San Juan Range, Colorado
  • Nearing the summit of Pt. 13,736 - Sawatch Range, Colorado
  • Blustery day on Iowa Peak - Sawatch Range, Colorado
  • Morning snow at 15k, Cerro Ramada - Cordillera Ramada
  • Artesonraju from the summit of Nevado Pisco - Cordillera Blanca, Peru
  • February crowds on Gray's Peak - Front Range, Colorado
  • Kicking steps on Cerro Lliani - Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru
  • Final traverse to the summit of Wheeler Mountain - Ten Mile Range, Colorado
  • The long walk to Pachanta - Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru
  • banner31
    Afternoon at 17k on Cerro Ramada - Cordillera Ramada, Argentina
  • banner22
    The final ridge on Iowa Peak - Sawatch Range, Colorado
  • Summer summit on Longs Peak - Front Range, Colorado
  • A rest day at the Pachanta Hot Springs - Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru
  • Mind over matter on Mt. Parnassas - Front Range, Colorado
  • Rest stop on Cerro Lliani - Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru
  • banner30
    Post nap surprise on Cerro Ramada - Cordiller Ramada, Argentina
  • Summit on Cerro Lliani - Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru
  • banner23
    Ridge walking on Grizzly Peak - Sawatch Range, Colorado
  • Enroute the summit via the West Ridge on Pacific Peak - Ten Mile Range, Colorado
  • Mule train bound for Chilca - Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru
  • Taking in the view from Fletcher Peak - Ten Mile Range, Colorado
  • Hiking on Silverheels - Mosquito Range, Colorado
  • Traversing! Gladstone Peak - San Juan Range, Colorado
  • banner24
    The best of times at Willow Lake - Sangre de Christo Range, Colorado
  • banner29
    High Altitude Cerebral Edema? - Cordillera Ramada, Argentina
  • Bound for Chilca - Vilcanota Range, Peru
  • Going alpine light, Holy Cross Ridge - Sawatch Range, Colorado
  • Cumbre! Campa I - Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru
  • Roadside lunch with the best of company - Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru
  • banner25
    Long ridge walk to the summit of California Peak - Sangre de Christo Range, Colorado
  • banner28
    Crossing el Rio Colorado . . . in the afternoon - Cordillera Ramada, Argentina
  • banner37
    Dealing with Fall snows high on Casco Peak - Sawatch Range, Colorado
  • Moonrise over Mercedario - Cordillera Ramada, Argentina
  • Still climbing at 20,900 on Cerro Ramada - Cordiller Ramada, Argentina
  • Talus on Halo Ridge, Mt. of the Holy Cross - Sawatch Range, Colorado
  • banner26
    Deteriorating conditions on Mt. Arkansas - Ten Mile Range, Colorado
  • banner27
    After the climb - Cordillera Ramada, Argentina
  • banner38
    Taking in the view from the summit of Crystal Peak - Tenmile Range, Colorado
  • Topping out on Mt. Arkansas' North Couloir - Mosquito Range, Colorado
  • Glissade on Mt. Arkansas - Mosquito Range, Colorado
  • Hard snow morning on Teakettle Mountain - San Juan Range, Colorado
  • Spring snow announces the start of the climb on Dallas Peak - San Juan Range, Colorado
  • Crossing the Eolus Catwalk - San Juan Range, Colorado

Mount Adams

September 12, 2010 - East Ridge


G, Bob, and I tried to reach the summit of Mt. Adams in April 2010 but the spring snow conditions presented us with an avi slope but a hundred yards or so from the summit. I knew that when Ed and I returned in September, there would be no similar issue. The route would be familiar and obviously more clear as we would be hiking on the summer trial and not trying to follow the trail cut in deep spring snow on snowshoes.

We camped the night before at the Alvarado Campground, which I am pleased to say must be one of the nicest USFS campgrounds that I've stayed at in years. We were post Labor Day, hence there was no shortage of sites. In preparation for a full day of climbing and hopefully the summit of Adams, we'd had another great dinner at the Uruguayan restaurant in Westcliffe.

The climb from the east is a good hike and promises at least a five mile approach before the climbing, albeit class 1, starts in earnest. Our course followed the same route as we'd taken in the spring but this time we were on the trail proper and we did make time, much better time than before. We left the truck and made the zigged course to arrive at the trail register, a good half mile from the parking area. Then we knew we had only to cover about 5 more miles to get to the lake below the flank of Adams that we would ascend. We hiked and chatted and I recalled familiar points as we worked our way up the Horn Creek Valley. We crossed the wilderness boundary after about 2 miles, i.e. an hour and change from the register. From the boundary it was up along the creek and the through the woods until we broke out into the open upper valley. This time the creek was running and we were soon hiking past alpine lakes and wetlands that had been an expanse of frozen white on our earlier attempt.

We took a break at Horn Lake and filled the water bottles for the climb up the broad flank of the mountain to reach the ridge above. This would surely be the worst part of the climb and it proved to be exactly that. Back and forth, first through willows and short headwalls and then on up through the less vegetated higher slopes that offered a talus field here and there as the best means to avoid the scree. We topped the ridge and then made our way west toward the summit. Where the course this past spring had been class 3 and 4 as a result of snow and ice forcing us onto the ridge top proper, now we could traverse the flank of the ridge and hold the climb to a class 2 ascending traverse at worst. We took to the ridge here and there for variety and soon reached the point that had stopped us in the spring. Where there had been an avi slope not to be messed with in April, now lay a grassy couloir that we crossed in a minute without second thoughts in September.

The summit block proved to be a class 2 climb up a series of grassy ledges that eventually funneled us to a weakness the proved to the class 2+ summit pitch. Once atop, we looked out on the rest of the Sangre de Christo range, knowing that although we were alone on Adams, there folks, probably many folks, enjoying this same wonderful weekend at Willow Lake and the Colony Lakes in their quest for the Crestone group 14'er summits. We remained on top for about 20 minutes and then reversed our course back down the ridge to the drop point and then on back down to the lake, well over 1000 vertical below us. It proved to be the expected knee jarring descent but once we hit that lake, we knew that we had only to hike a bit over five short miles to reach the truck and the cooler within.

It took two tries, but I'd scored the summit of Mt. Adams and in the course of doing so had the opportunity to climb the peak in opposite seasons, each of which painted a very different picture of climbing on this high 13'er.


A wintery early April climb of the same route . . .