Santiam Alpine Club
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Mount Adams South Climb

July 13 to July 14, 2019

Coordinator: Kyle Burns

Summit Altitude: 12280 feet
Elevation Gain: 6900 feet
Round-trip Distance: 15 miles
Excursion Time: 30 hours (car-to-car)
Carpool ratio: 3.0 (people/cars)

The spirited SAC team, composed mostly of SAC rookies looking for their first volcano summit, set off at 930 AM from Cold Spring Campground. Our goal for the day was the rocky village of Lunch Counter where we would set up our base camp amidst the hordes of other climbers. After several hours slogging up the dusty trail, we finally hit snow and were on the search for a spot to set up our base camp. After passing a deliriously happy man rocking only boxers, socks and sandals, and crampons, we found a sizeable area higher on Lunch Counter where we could all fit comfortably. We had epic views of Hood and Helens, as well as good view of the climbers returning from a successful summit. After setting up camp, we tested our teamwork via crossword puzzle and in true SAC fashion, successfully completed it. We chatted about the logistics of the summit push, dined on a plethora of fine freeze-dried cuisine, and were greeted by an adorable mountain goat family. As we retreated to our tents to rust up for the push, the skies made for the usual epic Adams sunset. It is pretty difficult to get rest when the views are that good.

We chose to have a later start time to allow the snow to soften so we could have the much-preferred descent, glissading! At 630 AM we made our way from camp to the start of the snow. This was the first time wearing crampons for most of the group so we had a quick technique and safety tutorial before starting the slog. We made great time as we headed up the slope, resting and regrouping every hour. We had clear skies, but wind kept our breaks short and efficient. After an extended rest at the false summit of Piker’s Peak, we traversed a wind-swept, alienesque snowfield to the last push for the summit. In an hours time, we were atop Washington’s second highest peak! With views from Mount Rainier to Mount Jefferson, the team celebrated with summies and very cold beers. What an accomplishment for these climbers who just put on crampons for the first time 4 hours prior. We snapped some photos and the fearless leader continued his tradition of embarrassing himself with a shirtless summit photo. We carefully descended the icy slope and made our way back to Piker’s Peak for the highlight of the day, glissading!

Donning trash bags or rainpants, we were excited and or terrified to gliassade. Kyle led the way, fearing nothing but an alpine wedgie. If climbers were hesitant, they sure didn’t show it, rocking huge smiles and laughing at the end of each glissade chute. In two shakes of a sasquatch tail we were back at our base camp. We rested for a while, snacked, and packed up our camp. 2.5 hours later, first thinking it was an oasis, we saw the parking lot. The climb was a great success, and it seems we have some new mountaineers on our hands. Great job everyone!

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