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Author Topic: June 13/14, 2015, Mt Adams, Northwest ridge  (Read 2778 times)
heinzsd
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June 13/14, 2015, Mt Adams, Northwest ridge
« on: 06/18/15, 09:24 AM »

Thanks to Charlie's TR and beta from a week ago, three of us headed up to the north side of Mt Adams this past weekend.  We have been eying the NFNWR for years now and slowing knocking off some lines to prepare us for the steep, potentially variable and extremely exposed alpine style of skiing. I've done the NFNWR as an alpine climb 5 years ago, but it was hard to translate into what it would feel like skiing an exposed line like that.

The hike to camp took under 2 hours and we only saw a handful of other hikers all weekend - no other climbers or skiers went up the mountain which is in stark contrast to the week before. I'd be curious to hear from those of you that went up last weekend to understand what you look for in the forecast to know when skiing the line looks good.

Two of us wanted to climb the adams glacier and the other was content meeting at the top after ascending the north ridge:

Adams Glacier: We left camp at 5:30 to try and get through the icefall before it warmed, but also to time the ski. We reached the crevasses separating us from the icefall at around 10 or so and the icefall was already getting some sun and looked hungry for human flesh, so we also skirted out to the NFNWR and returned to the glacier. I actually felt like the crevasse crossings at the top were on the sketchier side. With more wandering you could probably find other passings that were more solid. Several were a few inches thick and starting to calve inward with cracks on both sides. It may have been a result of us doing it later in the day, but they didn't instill confidence. But nothing collapsed and it did generally go pretty easy aside from that objective danger.  The snow was still firm for perfect cramponing as we reached the top.

The ski: - we met up with our buddy and waited about 2 hours on the pinnacle saddle.  low clouds were rolling in and out so we started skiing down at 3. We headed down the first couple turns of the NFWNR as it steepens, but the snow wasn't as soft as we hoped so we kept heading left to find better snow and ended up skiing more of the NWR. As Charlie noted, I would say its similarly steep and exposed but not as committing as you do have some relief in the slope angle from time to time. The steepest section may likely have been the bergschrund to get back to the adams glacier. Generally it skied great but did have some variability.  Overall it was soft enough to have good turns, but I would have liked it to corn up a bit more in order to ski the NFNWR as it would have been skiable, but not worth the risk to us, especially since the NWR was really enjoyable and I'm all about having fun and not just scaring the Sh*t out of myself.




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MushBuster
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Posts: 12


Re: June 13/14, 2015, Mt Adams, Northwest ridge
« Reply #1 on: 06/19/15, 09:05 AM »

That last pic looks like a framer. Sounds like a great trip!
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kamtron
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Posts: 559


Re: June 13/14, 2015, Mt Adams, Northwest ridge
« Reply #2 on: 06/19/15, 09:53 AM »

I'd be curious to hear from those of you that went up last weekend to understand what you look for in the forecast to know when skiing the line looks good.

I wasn't there last week, but when I skied that line I was looking for:
1. Freezing levels at or above the summit ~13k
2. No wind forecast
3. Enough warm days since previous snow for fully consolidation. I'm still not good at judging this, but last week I'd have thought it could be a little early. (Rainier had some mank over the weekend that needed to bake out more, maybe Adams didn't get that precip.)
4. Good refreeze conditions

That's what I've been looking for in my (limited) experience skiing north faces. I had an amazing run down the NFNWR last July. Perfect corn down the steeps. However, friends who skied it the next day, which had a similar forecast but may have been slightly more overcast, found scary icy conditions. So it's hard to tell what you'll find.
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Charlie Hagedorn
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Re: June 13/14, 2015, Mt Adams, Northwest ridge
« Reply #3 on: 06/19/15, 05:52 PM »

We avoided that last schrund with a ten-foot rock walk to continue the NWR proper. Easy-peasy on the west side.

Glad to hear that all went well!

It's my general impression that when the newspaper and weather forecasters use the words "hottest days of the year so far", people have reasonable experiences on north-facing things up high.  I'm no north-side expert, but the 14-15k FL we had made me feel pretty good going into planning.
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David_Coleman
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Posts: 379


Re: June 13/14, 2015, Mt Adams, Northwest ridge
« Reply #4 on: 06/19/15, 10:09 PM »

Historically, high freezing levels and hottest days of the year scenarios haven't made a difference from what actually occurred.  I skied that line in early July 2004 (hot day temp wise, and it had been hot multiple days prior).  Dropping in right off of the pinnacle, it was frozen, knee-high penitentes.  Made for a fairly nerve-racking entrance onto the face.
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ErikT
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Re: June 13/14, 2015, Mt Adams, Northwest ridge
« Reply #5 on: 06/22/15, 09:32 AM »

Climbed NFNWR on 6/21, and pretty floored at how much smaller the bridge is. There was a good rail for feet and place to stick tools above you, but it's much smaller than the original picture in this thread, and probably not skiiable. The tracks actually curretnly look like someone aired the top gap before turning on the bridge, which I can tell from the original picture isn't the case.

(shot below isn't the best angle, but my buddy is above the shrund already... the bridge below is much narrower..)


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30knotwind
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Posts: 6


Re: June 13/14, 2015, Mt Adams, Northwest ridge
« Reply #6 on: 06/24/15, 09:55 AM »

What are snow conditions like just above the treeline?  I'll be camping at lake Takhlakh next weekend with the family and hope for some easy low angle yo-yoing on snow fields above the treeline while family picnics out of the heat.
Thanks!
Chris
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