Turns All Year Trip Reports

2012 Backcountry Trip Reports => June 2012 Backcountry Trip Reports => Topic started by: Lowell_Skoog on 06/17/12, 01:45 PM



Title: 6/15-16/2012, Mt Adams, "Promenade des Glaciers"
Post by: Lowell_Skoog on 06/17/12, 01:45 PM
(http://alpenglow.org/misc/2012/20120615-0003-Mt-Adams.JPG)

On June 15-16, David Nicholson and I explored the glaciers of Mt Adams.  We took Friday off work, hoping to catch the best two-day weather window.  Rather than ski from the summit as in past trips, we decided to see more of the mountain's lower slopes.  If we got in a few turns along the way, it would be icing on the cake.  Our basic route plan was "turn left, majestically."

The south side road is now drivable to Morrison Creek campground.  Several weeks will be required before you can drive much higher toward Cold Springs.  Over half that distance is still skiable and much of the rest has patchy snow.  We left our car about 6:30 a.m., climbed above timberline, then began our wanderings.  Our route took us across sides of Mt Adams that I haven't visited before.  The snow was plentiful and perfectly consolidated.  I don't think conditions could get much better for a trip like this.  The only negative was debris from ice/rock avalanches on a few of the glaciers.  This required stepping carefully but remained "skiable" if you don't mind a little grit.

From the North Cleaver, the weatheradio called for clouds and a chance of rain on Saturday.  We camped on the west side of Adams Glacier, below the NW Ridge.  From this location we had a fine view of Mounts Rainier and St.  Helens, and a window on the approaching weather.  Saturday dawned cloudy, but there was no rain.  The clouds thickened to the north but thinned around Mt Adams as we continued our journey.  Careful contouring enabled us to cross the west side of the mountain from our campsite without skins.  In just a few hours we were back at our car.  Heavy rain fell as we drove up I-5 south of Olympia.  This was a trip that rewarded some flexibility in timing.



Selected Photos:

Crossing South Butte saddle with Mount St. Helens in the distance:

(http://alpenglow.org/misc/2012/20120615-0007-Mt-Adams.JPG)

Dropping onto Klickitat Glacier:

(http://alpenglow.org/misc/2012/20120615-0026-Mt-Adams.JPG)

Ascending Battlement Ridge:

(http://alpenglow.org/misc/2012/20120615-0039-Mt-Adams.JPG)

Seracs loom over Roosevelt Cliff:

(http://alpenglow.org/misc/2012/20120615-0054-Mt-Adams.JPG)

Crossing Rusk Glacier:

(http://alpenglow.org/misc/2012/20120615-0057-Mt-Adams.JPG)

Skinning up to ascend Victory Ridge:

(http://alpenglow.org/misc/2012/20120615-0062-Mt-Adams.JPG)

One of the few ski portages on the route, on Victory Ridge.  With good snow and careful route-finding, we never used skins after this point:

(http://alpenglow.org/misc/2012/20120615-0068-Mt-Adams.JPG)

Dropping onto Wilson Glacier:

(http://alpenglow.org/misc/2012/20120615-0073-Mt-Adams.JPG)

Traversing with Mount Rainier in the distance:

(http://alpenglow.org/misc/2012/20120615-0085-Mt-Adams.JPG)

Below Lyman Glacier:

(http://alpenglow.org/misc/2012/20120615-0087-Mt-Adams.JPG)

Crossing Lava Glacier:

(http://alpenglow.org/misc/2012/20120615-0097-Mt-Adams.JPG)

On Adams Glacier, a few telemarks wearing Dynafits:

(http://alpenglow.org/misc/2012/20120615-0107-Mt-Adams.JPG)

Camp with Mount St. Helens in the distance:

(http://alpenglow.org/misc/2012/20120615-0121-Mt-Adams.JPG)

Traversing below Pinnacle Glacier headwall:

(http://alpenglow.org/misc/2012/20120616-0008-Mt-Adams.JPG)

Clouds converge on Mount St. Helens:

(http://alpenglow.org/misc/2012/20120616-0020-Mt-Adams.JPG)

Traversing west slopes with Mount Hood in the distance:

(http://alpenglow.org/misc/2012/20120616-0016-Mt-Adams.JPG)


Title: Re: 6/15-16/2012, Mt Adams, "Promenade des Glaciers"
Post by: samthaman on 06/17/12, 01:55 PM
that looked really fun


Title: Re: 6/15-16/2012, Mt Adams, "Promenade des Glaciers"
Post by: peteyboy on 06/17/12, 02:33 PM
Wow, Lowell, what a trip!  And nice teletiptoeing.
Any idea what the Northwest access is driveable to?


Title: Re: 6/15-16/2012, Mt Adams, "Promenade des Glaciers"
Post by: runningclouds on 06/17/12, 03:15 PM
Majestic trip for sure.


Title: Re: 6/15-16/2012, Mt Adams, "Promenade des Glaciers"
Post by: jhamaker on 06/17/12, 04:54 PM
Quel beau traverse.

Way to pin the wx!


Title: Re: 6/15-16/2012, Mt Adams, "Promenade des Glaciers"
Post by: chieftaffy on 06/17/12, 05:36 PM
Great pics and report!


Title: Re: 6/15-16/2012, Mt Adams, "Promenade des Glaciers"
Post by: cchapin on 06/17/12, 08:40 PM
Awesome!  I especially like the t-shirt and 3-pinners (or at least what appears to be 3 pinners).


Title: Re: 6/15-16/2012, Mt Adams, "Promenade des Glaciers"
Post by: JibberD on 06/18/12, 06:40 AM
Very cool Lowell.

Especially like the "Crossing Rusk Glacier" photo.

Any idea how many years of snow accumulation are represented in that cross section of glacier? Is the Mt. St. Helens eruption represented in one of the dark layers?

Really interesting to see how the glacier rides over the rock bump on the left. The ice seems to be broken up a bit uphill from the bump, and well consolidated downhill. Counterintuitive to my thinking. But maybe I am reading too much into what the rock is doing to the glacier at that point.


Title: Re: 6/15-16/2012, Mt Adams, "Promenade des Glaciers"
Post by: Jason_H. on 06/18/12, 07:14 AM
Nice Lowell and David. That's a spectacular adventure with tons of views. The Klickitat and Wilson Glaciers are amazing to see, too. 

There's a ton of snow left up there! Wow. 


Title: Re: 6/15-16/2012, Mt Adams, "Promenade des Glaciers"
Post by: Lowell_Skoog on 06/18/12, 08:33 AM
Quote from: JibberD on 06/18/12, 06:40 AM
Any idea how many years of snow accumulation are represented in that cross section of glacier? Is the Mt. St. Helens eruption represented in one of the dark layers?

Really interesting to see how the glacier rides over the rock bump on the left. The ice seems to be broken up a bit uphill from the bump, and well consolidated downhill. Counterintuitive to my thinking. But maybe I am reading too much into what the rock is doing to the glacier at that point.


Hi Doug,

No idea what years may be represented in the Rusk Glacier cross-section. I believe that this section of glacier is below the firn line, meaning that it melts down to bare ice in summer. It is fed by avalanches from the upper cliffs around Victory Ridge, I think. One thing that's not obvious from the picture is that the ice is flowing toward the camera as much as it's flowing to the right. So the fracturing of the ice reflects that.

peteyboy: I don't know the status of any north side roads. I suspect that there are still a lot of snow closures.


Title: Re: 6/15-16/2012, Mt Adams, "Promenade des Glaciers"
Post by: clane on 06/18/12, 12:25 PM
Great report/photos! Love PNW spring skiing.


Title: Re: 6/15-16/2012, Mt Adams, "Promenade des Glaciers"
Post by: Snoqualmonix on 06/18/12, 12:56 PM
Thanks for the TR and pictures.

Your style of mountain travel on ski has always motivated and inspired me since seeing the Cascade Crest slideshow at Marmot a few years back; using the ski as an alpine tool, and sometimes touring for the tour and not just the turn has made my life much richer.

I hope to move through the mountains with you some day.

Cheers!


Title: Re: 6/15-16/2012, Mt Adams, "Promenade des Glaciers"
Post by: Griff on 06/18/12, 03:51 PM
Wow, great pics and looked like a really fun time.


Title: Re: 6/15-16/2012, Mt Adams, "Promenade des Glaciers"
Post by: antigravitypaint on 06/18/12, 05:39 PM
Lowell,

I have an Adams trip planned in two weeks, so thank you for whetting my whistle.  I especially appreciate the Fuki-esque photo of Mt. Hood with clouds.  Out of curiosity, did anyone use kick wax or fish scales on the traverse? 


Title: Re: 6/15-16/2012, Mt Adams, "Promenade des Glaciers"
Post by: Lowell_Skoog on 06/18/12, 06:10 PM
Quote from: antigravitypaint on 06/18/12, 05:39 PM
Out of curiosity, did anyone use kick wax or fish scales on the traverse? 


David was on light telemark skis with fish scales. I was on light AT skis that hadn't been waxed for a while. David could definitely climb better, but I could climb pretty well too.

This saved much time and energy on the latter part of the trip. As I mentioned in the TR, we skied all the way from Victory Ridge to our car without using skins again. We had several gradual climbs (like across Adams Glacier) but "stiction" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stiction) was good enough for me, thanks to slightly wet snow.

I think if we'd had a hard freeze Friday night, the last part of the trip would have been harder for me, because I would have needed to use skins or something. I thought about bringing klister but I have no experience using it.


Title: Re: 6/15-16/2012, Mt Adams, "Promenade des Glaciers"
Post by: jackal on 06/18/12, 06:49 PM
Quote from: Lowell_Skoog on 06/18/12, 06:10 PM
but "stiction" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stiction) was good enough


Thanks for the schooling on stiction. Who knew? Love the pictures especially crossing the Rusk. It looks like a metamorphic rock outcrop. Which essentially it is.


Title: Re: 6/15-16/2012, Mt Adams, "Promenade des Glaciers"
Post by: JibberD on 06/19/12, 06:27 AM
Quote from: Lowell_Skoog on 06/18/12, 08:33 AM
No idea what years may be represented in the Rusk Glacier cross-section. I believe that this section of glacier is below the firn line, meaning that it melts down to bare ice in summer. It is fed by avalanches from the upper cliffs around Victory Ridge, I think. One thing that's not obvious from the picture is that the ice is flowing toward the camera as much as it's flowing to the right. So the fracturing of the ice reflects that.


Thanks Lowell that's interesting to think of that section of glacier as a conglomeraton of cast off and recylced snow from above the cliffs combined with fallen snow. This route and tranformation is part of that H20's hydrologic cycle. I can imagine water molecules in the ocean swapping stories about their experiences, then wondering what they may experience next.

Jackal's observation is interesting too:
Quote from: jackal on 06/18/12, 06:49 PM
It looks like a metamorphic rock outcrop. Which essentially it is.


Ice as a rock formation, just more temporary than what we think of as standard rock, if I am interpreting correctly.

Obviously your photo has inspired existential thoughts with this jibber.


Title: Re: 6/15-16/2012, Mt Adams, "Promenade des Glaciers"
Post by: lolob on 06/19/12, 01:25 PM
Do you have any sense of how long the season will last for skiing Adams given the current snowpack?  Is it still worthwhile/feasible at the end of July to do a trip up to the summit on skis or is it too melted out at that point?

Great pictures! Thanks for sharing!


Title: Re: 6/15-16/2012, Mt Adams, "Promenade des Glaciers"
Post by: vogtski on 06/19/12, 06:27 PM
Thanks for the very enjoyable trip report, Lowell!
Quote from: peteyboy on 06/17/12, 02:33 PM
Any idea what the Northwest access is driveable to?

Most of the limited road info on the USFS site is several weeks old, as usual.  The Packwood Highway Shopper (updates on Wednesdays) reports both of the two main N-S paved FS roads (#23 & #25) are still closed.  http://www.highwayshopper.com/recrpt.html 

Here's the most pertinent info I could find regarding the NW side of Adams:
"#23 Cispus/ Randle-Trout Lake- 6/8 MP 29, five miles past East Canyon Bridge. It was still blocked three miles below the Rd. #2329 junction. It received some fresh snow last week.  #2329 High Lakes- 5/6 Blocked by about six feet of snow. On 6/4 we guestimate still three feet of snow."


Title: Re: 6/15-16/2012, Mt Adams, "Promenade des Glaciers"
Post by: Lowell_Skoog on 06/19/12, 08:31 PM
Quote from: lolob on 06/19/12, 01:25 PM
Do you have any sense of how long the season will last for skiing Adams given the current snowpack?  Is it still worthwhile/feasible at the end of July to do a trip up to the summit on skis or is it too melted out at that point?


I'm not turns-all-year guy. I typically hang up my skis in early July. So others would know better what late July conditions are like on Mt Adams. I think the snowpack is probably as good as it gets down there. Try searching for late July reports from past years on TAY.


Title: Re: 6/15-16/2012, Mt Adams, "Promenade des Glaciers"
Post by: danpeck on 06/20/12, 09:17 AM
Quote from: alpine-earth on 06/18/12, 12:56 PM
Your style of mountain travel on ski has always motivated and inspired me since seeing the Cascade Crest slideshow at Marmot a few years back; using the ski as an alpine tool, and sometimes touring for the tour and not just the turn has made my life much richer.



I completely agree here.  Thinking of skis as a mountaineering tool and a way to experience a lot of mountains quickly, efficiently, and sometimes with amazing turns has changed the way I approach the mountains and has allowed me to enjoy more terrain than ever.  I'm all for this style and for choosing the best tool for the job--like 3 pin bindings!

Very inspiring and motivating.  Thank you for sharing.


Title: Re: 6/15-16/2012, Mt Adams, "Promenade des Glaciers"
Post by: Patarero on 06/20/12, 11:36 AM
Quote from: lolob on 06/19/12, 01:25 PM
Do you have any sense of how long the season will last for skiing Adams given the current snowpack?  Is it still worthwhile/feasible at the end of July to do a trip up to the summit on skis or is it too melted out at that point?


Southwest shoots were in all of 2011, but last year was deep.  Guessing you should be fine at the end of july unless we see a serious persistent warm up, you'll have to cover more rocky terrain via foot though.  Shoot me pm in a month, I drive by it every day on my way to and from work.


Title: Re: 6/15-16/2012, Mt Adams, "Promenade des Glaciers"
Post by: Nick-BC on 06/21/12, 06:48 PM
Thanks for that trip report Lowell I enjoyed it so much.  I was actually directed to it from an interminable, but very enjoyable thread on Ttips, on XCD technique.  Some of the views you showed reminded me of my two visits to Mount Adams with telemon.  Bob is sorely missed.....


Title: Re: 6/15-16/2012, Mt Adams, "Promenade des Glaciers"
Post by: jtack on 06/23/12, 04:15 PM
Lowell, thanks for a great trip report, a reminder that wonderful trips are all around us, and this is a perfect example.


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