Trip Report    

Glacier Climb - Mount Adams/Mazama Glacier

Second highest peak in Washington, beautiful approach, and not too technical route on Mazama Glacier. Just be ready for the hoard of hikers coming up from the South side.

  • Road recommended for high clearance only
  • Starting from Sunrise Camp, travel straight up Mazama Glacier. Some crevasses, but nothing significant. Only difficulty in getting on the ridge to the South Side route, going over loose rocks and steep snow. Number of options exists. Firm snow in the morning, some loosening by noon.

Met up at Trout Lake Ranger Station at 10AM on Saturday, where we were warned of Cold Springs Trailhead parking lot overflow. No choice, since we were told usual approach from Yakima Reservation was closed. On the flip side, rangers at the station told us that we did not have to purchase Volcano Pass ($15) as we were going to be on Yakima land.

Managed to find decent parking spot, organized ourselves and started up. Hit the Round the Mountain trail at noon, then traversed through lava bed and Bird Creek Meadow. Interesting and beautiful scenery once we left the fire burn area. Could not find the climber trail supposedly .25 miles after crossing into Yakima Reservation, so found a likely drainage and headed up at 1:15. Followed drainage up, then onto snow. Long break around 3:30 at 7800', then traversed across snow and rocks to Sunrise camp, 8300', at 4:30 or so. Broad site with lot of windshelters and running water. Enjoyed dinner, organized rope and glacier gear, and hit the sack for the night. Some slept OK, others did not. Gorgeous night sky with no moon.

Got up at 2AM, left camp at 3. Two chose to stay behind, not having fully recovered from the approach. After getting on snow and putting crampons on, headed straight up the glacier skirting the rock ridge. Firm snow but not icy. Headed up for a low point on the ridge above, instead of detouring to the right (snow cover looked thin). Reached the ridge around 5:15 to find moat and loose rock. After some tricky moves, got past and onto the south side at around 6AM to see a line of people heading up. Unroped and headed up at own pace, reaching Pikers Peak at around 7:30AM, some earlier and others later. Summit was reached between 8:30 to 9:00 AM. Blue sky, strong winds, and lot of happy faces. Returned to the ridge, negotiated the loose crossing, roped up, and headed back down to camp, returning around noon. Snow was starting to soften up, but not so much that team chose to keep crampons on all the way down. Packed up, filtered some more water, and headed back out on snow at 1:30. Back to the Round-the-Mountain trail at 3:20 and then back to the car around 5:10. Long drive home, some getting back well after midnight...