Mount Adams/Adams Glacier

Mount Adams via the Adams Glacier is a Grade II ice climb.


Take I-5 to exit 142. Exit to SR 161 and drive south until exiting at SR 512 West. Travel 2-3 miles and get off at Puyallup exit (Mount Rainier sign). Drive via Eatonville to SR 7 South. Drive south 27 mi to Morton and turn left at SR 12 and drive east 17 mi to Randle. After registration at Randle Ranger Station drive south on Forest Road 23 for 32 mi. Turn left on Forest Road 2329 for 5.7 mi to Killen Creek Trailhead, 4,584 ft, (approximately 3-4 mi from Taklakh Lake.


Three routes on Mount Adams, North Face of Northwest Ridge, North Lyman Glacier and Adams Glacier, share the same approach, although choice of camp may vary.

Follow the trail past the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) (pay attention, do not follow the PCT) and towards high camp in the meadows at 6,900 ft. With heavy snow, getting lost finding camp is easy, so keep your bearings. Established camps have access to water and good views of the mountain and the route. A higher bivy on snow is possible, however this entails a detour on the descent. The start of route is about 1-2 hr from camp. Beware of fragile meadows.


Route goes up the Adams Glacier: exact choice of route will depend on conditions. Lately, most parties have gone up on the right side of the glacier about two-thirds of the way, then worked left to avoid crevasses. Moderate angle snow/ice climbing, especially in early season. In July, negotiating crevasses may be tricky and some parties were unable to find route.


Descend the North Ridge down loose scree and boulders. This part of the climb is long, tedious, sometimes dangerous, and universally described as the most unpleasant part of the climb by far. Consult Beckey’s North Ridge Route description for details.


Seattle to Trailhead 3-4
Trailhead to Camp 3-4 2,400
Camp to Summit 7-9 5,300
Summit to Trailhead 5-8


Ice ax, crampons, possibly second tool, screws, flukes, pickets.


A very popular intermediate route, and a good beginning ice climb. Check on road conditions, and snowshoes may come in handy if there is a lot of snow. While a carryover and descent of the South Ridge is possible, a long car shuttle from Forest Road 2329 to Cold Springs becomes necessary. Some parties are willing to go through a lot of trouble to avoid the infamous North Ridge.

A snow finger on the Northwest Ridge has been suggested as an alternative descent. Hike down the North Ridge approximately 1/4 of the way down and work left down climbing on loose rock to snow finger. Be careful of rock fall down the North Ridge.

Climbing fee and trail park pass required at trailhead. Ranger station closed weekends.

  • Suitable Activities: Climbing
  • Climbing Category: Intermediate Alpine
  • Seasons: May, June, July, August
  • Weather: View weather forecast.
  • Difficulty: Intermediate Ice Climb
  • Elevation Gain: 7,700 ft
  • 12,276 ft
  • USGS Mt Adams West
  • Green Trails Mt Adams West No. 366
  • Green Trails Blue Lake No. 334
  • USGS Mt Adams East
  • Red Marker
    46.288549, -121.552653
    46.2885486929 -121.552652568
  • Red Marker
    46.202028, -121.489649
    46.2020282015 -121.489648819

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