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| | |-+  June 12-13, 2017, Mt Adams SW Chutes
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Author Topic: June 12-13, 2017, Mt Adams SW Chutes  (Read 2512 times)
Onward.
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June 12-13, 2017, Mt Adams SW Chutes
« on: 06/14/17, 07:34 PM »

First time up Mt. Adams for me and one of my two partners this Monday/Tuesday. It was also my first time camping high on the WA volcanoes and man, what an experience!

We Scamp'd at Morrison Creek on Tuesday night, enjoying fire and beverages before parking at the Cold Spring Campground Monday morning. The road is now driveable all the way to the Cold Springs Campground, which is still not fully melted out. We hiked just 15 minutes from the TH before putting the skis on, great timing!

Took the route described in the orange Mountaineer's book as the 'early season route,' climbing east of the Crescent Glacier/west of South Butte. This approach has some life left but not eternally as the ribbon of snow just as you gain Suksdorf Ridge is thinning out. We took our time on Monday, with nowhere to be but camp, leaving the car at 930am and setting up camp in an absolutely spectacular spot at 9300' just east of the Lunch Counter around 3pm. After setting up camp, we took an evening ski carving about 700' in spectacular evening light.

Weather was much better than expected. Despite potential clouds and high winds, the mountain stayed clear most of Monday and all of Tuesday. The high winds forecasted for Monday night and Tuesday morning turned out to be short lived, though for about an hour on Monday around dusk winds were absolutely whipping. Luckily, they died off before the sun fully set and the evening was mostly calm and clear with stars galore.

Tuesday we departed camp not terribly early as we wanted to let the snow soften a bit before climbing the South Spur headwall. We hoped to summit between noon and 2 but a leisurely pace, my newly developed cold, plus the fact the fact that the logistics of doing this as a loop meant that we were carrying overnight packs basically to the summit had us at the summit just before 3pm. Both my partners, one on skis and the other on a split, were able to skin with ski crampons both the South Spur headwall and the final approach to the summit (impressive IMO). I stashed my skis on my pack about 2/3's of the way up both slopes opting for snowboard boots and ice axe since skinning was challenging. Next time I'm bringing boot crampons.

After hanging on the summit and snapping the obligatory photos we rode chattery sastrugi and scratchy snow back to the false summit. We were a tad concerned about firm conditions in the SW chutes due to the fact that consistent winds (that's my guess anyway) hadn't really allowed the snow to soften up high. We went for it anyway and wow! No wonder the SW chutes are considered one of the best descents in North America. The top 1000-1500' or so were pretty challenging as the snow was still firm but there was enough for edge hold and we enjoyed some careful turns before opening it up lower down as the snow began to soften. It really didn't corn up entirely until the final 1000' or so, but man what an amazing experience! Incredible.

The exit was a suffer-fest with a splitboard and overnight pack and a cold after 2 days of climbing and skiing. Lots of walking and traversing through soft mank. In retrospect, I would have put my skins on earlier as once out of the valley below the chutes there was very little consistent downhill to be had whilst getting out of there and skinning would have saved a lot of energy.

All in all, this was an epic trip for us with spectacular camping, climbing, and riding/skiing. Pretty stoked to have done it with an overnight pack. It's gonna be good for a while, go get it!

Pics: https://goo.gl/photos/zNViYxDni7X9auB16
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Zap
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Re: June 12-13, 2017, Mt Adams SW Chutes
« Reply #1 on: 06/14/17, 08:33 PM »

Nice TR and photos.  Wink
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caverpilot
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WWW
Re: June 12-13, 2017, Mt Adams SW Chutes
« Reply #2 on: 06/15/17, 10:13 AM »

Congrats!! Adams is one of my favorite tours and usually holds up to early August.

One suggestion, if you do it again, just camp near the Crescent Glacier (once you gain the sometimes-corniced ridge to the west it's a cakewalk) and you can do your loop without carrying your gear to the top! You may have to re-ascend to your camp slightly depending on how early you start your traverse, but I'm sure after your trip you believe it is worth it!! The snow from the lunch counter down to the bottom of Crescent is the last to go so it makes for a continuous descent even into August. (Of course by then you'll have to walk from the glacier to the TH) Smiley

Thanks for the info on the approach to Cold Springs; we're gonna hit it next weekend!

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Here's to it, and here's from it, and here's to it again! If you get to it, and don't do it, you may never get to it to do it again! -Joe Cocker
Chamois
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Re: June 12-13, 2017, Mt Adams SW Chutes
« Reply #3 on: 06/15/17, 11:24 AM »

Just curious - up 'till August for the chutes or the normal route?  Will be out of the country for a bit and would like to do this late summer.

.....and thanks for the report and pics - nice to be able to camp on the shoulder - looks like a fun couple days.
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caverpilot
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Re: June 12-13, 2017, Mt Adams SW Chutes
« Reply #4 on: 06/15/17, 12:54 PM »

Just curious - up 'till August for the chutes or the normal route? 

Sorry, yes, good question - the Suksdorf Ridge/South climb is usually skiable until Aug, the SW chutes not so much (the upper part, sure, but then you are facing a nasty traverse).

Don't get me wrong, the last time I skied it in August, the face below Piker's Peak was suncups scratch that sunBATHTUBS, but from the lunch counter down to the bottom of Crescent (where the snow ended) it was sweet sweet corn!
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Here's to it, and here's from it, and here's to it again! If you get to it, and don't do it, you may never get to it to do it again! -Joe Cocker
Onward.
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Re: June 12-13, 2017, Mt Adams SW Chutes
« Reply #5 on: 06/15/17, 01:26 PM »

Congrats!! Adams is one of my favorite tours and usually holds up to early August.

One suggestion, if you do it again, just camp near the Crescent Glacier (once you gain the sometimes-corniced ridge to the west it's a cakewalk) and you can do your loop without carrying your gear to the top! You may have to re-ascend to your camp slightly depending on how early you start your traverse, but I'm sure after your trip you believe it is worth it!! The snow from the lunch counter down to the bottom of Crescent is the last to go so it makes for a continuous descent even into August. (Of course by then you'll have to walk from the glacier to the TH) Smiley

Thanks for the info on the approach to Cold Springs; we're gonna hit it next weekend!



Thanks for the tip! We looked at different options but yeah we didn't want to ascend to camp and we did want to camp way up high for the experience.
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Patarero
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Re: June 12-13, 2017, Mt Adams SW Chutes
« Reply #6 on: 06/18/17, 02:38 PM »

So the campground is not accessible yet.  There is a snow drift that was passable with a lifted rig or Isuzu  trooper. Take a chain saw with extra fuel to clear a few trees blocking the actual campground. Parking was a cluster f this weekend.
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