Mt Adams (12,276), via South Spur route, S1
Route: Mt Adams, South Spur
When: Saturday-Sunday, June 29-30, 2019
Where: Trail head is located at Cold Springs Campground, NF-8040-500, Trout Lake, WA
Maximum Party Size: 12
Contact: Scott Phillips, 503-931-0751
Driving distance: 300 miles round trip (3 1/2 hours)
Hiking distance: 12+ miles round trip
Elevation gain: 6700 ft
The South Spur is a non-technical climb and the most popular ascent of Mt Adams. The angle of the slope will not exceed 30 deg which aids in the glissade back to camp after a long day on the mountain.
This climb is a great introduction to big mountain camping and climbing. Bigger than Mt Hood but not as committing as Mt Rainier, it can be a good training ground for future mountaineering goals and test your high altitude stamina.
Our climb will start at the Cold Springs Campground/Trailhead that can be reached via forest service road 8040 out of the town of Trout Lake, WA. The hike from Cold Springs (5,560ft) to our target camp site next to Crescent Glacier (8,830ft) is about 3.7 miles. It is along the Crescent Glacier that we will decide if we want to camp there or join the masses at Lunch Counter located about a half a mile to the NE and another 500 vertical feet.
After a good nights sleep we’ll rise and be on the trail by 5am. Crampons will be needed but ice axes are optional for this part of the climb. Helmets will be required after reaching the Lunch Counter area of the mountain. It gets a little steeper here with potential of snow and rock debris coming down on us. Trekking poles are highly recommended if you don’t use your ice axe at this point.
We will ascend to the false summit at 11,640 feet taking short breaks as needed along the way. Our final push will take us to the summit elevation of 12,276 feet.
On our way down we’ll find areas to glissade (ice axe required) as far back to camp as possible. Hopefully the snow will be a bit softer by then.
At camp we will pack up our gear and head back to the cars.