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Trip Report    

Mount Adams/Mazama Glacier

A twelve person party climbed Mt Adams via the Mazama Glacier on 9/6 & 9/7 with excellent weather, a very large moon, and no bugs.

The drive from the 65th P&R to Mirror Lake Campground in the Yakima Tribal Lands (45 minutes northeast of Trout Lake) takes 5hrs 30 minutes. This is where you purchase car passes ($5 for four days) and camping passes ($10 overnight and no more than six people per pass) at a self-pay station.

In another five minute drive from Mirror Lake Campground toward Bench Lake you arrive at the very obvious trailhead (5,600 ft elevation). We departed the TH at 1pm, walked the well-worn climbers trail 4 miles, and arrived at Sunrise Camp (8,400 ft elevation) at the base of the Mazama glacier in 3 hrs (4pm). Beyond the Hellroarin' Meadows Overlook the trail becomes less well defined so keep on the lookout for cairns. Once in the scree fields and snow patches below Sunrise camp the trail is easily lost, but at that point it isn't that important as it's mostly boulder hopping anyway.

There are numerous camp sites on gravel at Sunrise Camp with ample water sources. Although we passed a few parties along the trail, most were day hikers and by late afternoon we had this side of the mountain to ourselves. We made camp, made supper, observed the glacier, planned our ascent, and then called it a night.

Sunday morning we woke at 2am and began walking at 3am. We finished climbing the Mazama Glacier by the time day-glow arrived (5:45am). Avoiding crevasses was fairly straight forward, but finding and crossing the snow bridge across the bergschrund (9,440 ft elevation) was a bit more challenging. We approached it on climbers left and then traversed across its steep lip until we found the bridge. Beta from a climb several weeks prior indicated the bridge was broad and deep; it was still deep but much less broad and so the crux of the climb was a balancing act in the dark crossing the schrund.

We traversed slanting up and south on the upper portion of the glacier and at just below 10,000 ft elevation we approached and crossed a 300 ft wide rock rib and then joined the southern approach to the summit. It was straight-forward slogging from there passing the false summit (Piker’s Peak at 11,650 ft elevation). We arrived at the Mt Adams summit (12,276 ft elevation) at 9:30am, returned to camp by 2:30pm, packed and started walking by 3:30pm, and we were back at the trail head by 5:30pm.

We stopped for dinner and very tall coffees on the long drive home!

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    46.135934, -121.497640
    46.1359341898 -121.497639512
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