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Author Topic: Mount Adams West Ridge Variation+NW Ridge 7/4-7/6  (Read 5163 times)
Jason_H.
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Mount Adams West Ridge Variation+NW Ridge 7/4-7/6
« on: 07/11/07, 10:01 PM »

Here's the TR with LOTS of photos:

http://cascadecrusades.org/SkiMountaineering/adams/northside/northside2007/northside.htm

Here are the words with a few photos.

Mount Adams [12,276-ft] – July 4-6, 2007
West Ridge Variation and NW Ridge




    I saw eternity the other night
    Like a great ring of pure and endless light.
    All calm, as it was bright;
    And round beneath it, Time in hours, days, years,
    Driv'n by the spheres
    Like a vast shadow mov'd; in which the world
    And all her train were hurl'd~


    Henry Vaughan

In the ‘early’ morning hours I get a ‘late’ start? While this doesn’t make much sense, it does to me because an early start is well before the sun rises. Long drives often become the scourge of any trip, never looked forward to and often the death of many a classic, especially when weather is questionable - the trip doesn’t happen or you decide on something closer. That wasn’t to be the case this time. The weather was absolutely incorruptible by evil forces. It was Independence DAY! And to celebrate I sought my independence on the slopes of the familiar, Mount Adams . My plan was to ski all that I could in 3 days. Preferably routes I hadn’t done before.
 
On this trip I made several journal entries. I’m going to allow for them to tell this story. This was my first multi-day solo ski trip and I will never forget it. Not only did I learn more about myself, but also how much I enjoy nature and photography.
 
July 4th, 2007 Afternoon

    I was thinking so clearly, my plan was so beautiful: camp on or near the summit of Adams and watch the Forth of July fireworks from my lofty vantage. But here I am at 7400-ft realizing I don't want to carry heavy gear all the way up, then down. Instead I will ski the NW Ridge or Pinnacle Glacier Headwall tomorrow and one other route Friday. This sounds enjoyable to me.

    [night]

    My camera is taking a long exposure. I'm sitting here w/music still going through my head. I borrowed Josh's [my twin brother's] IPOD. I LOVE it! Earlier I went out on the lake and walked out on the ice. I know, not smart. I'd agree whole-heartedly. It was a bad idea, but it was oddly fascinating there and worth it.

    The wind from just a few minutes ago has suddenly died, so has my battery on my camera. Rainier is looking mighty fine framed in a deep blue everywhere but the horizon still awash with red and orange, but even that is being consumed by the blackness. Soon all will be black, but for the stars.

    The fireworks I expected to see aren't anywhere to be found. In a way the peace is much more appealing even if it isn't as flashy as 'bombs bursting in air'. These stars above are more amazing than any fireworks I've seen. I feel very small under a sky like this.

    [Later that night]

    The mice set a siege against me. They are the biggest mice I have ever seen. Big and white with brown backs. I tried to kill one with my shoe, but then I saw others. I carried my bag and mat far away. I can hear there squeaky chirps ringing out their success. I hope they don't come to where I am now. I am tired.

July 5, 2007 Morning



    It is getting warm quick so I'm going to get going as soon as I can. Rainier again looks nice. I nearly detoured in that direction on my drive here. I'm glad I didn't. There's no one in sight here. You can't beat that!

    [Mid-morning]

    I found water in the midst of 3 goats and butterflies surging up the mountain in groups of 1-10 [there were thousands]. I was happy to find clean water flowing on top of the ice. Right now I am more than midway up the ridge near 10k. The goats appeared to have stopped just above me. They seem wary of my ski-endowed pack. One even [accidentally I'm sure] knocked a rock down. I don't blame him. This is their home and even having grown up here they still can't climb this choss pile of a route without something coming down. Nonetheless, it appears they have found the shade they were looking for.

    [Afternoon]

    I just dropped off the West Summit along the NW Ridge in search of the Pinnacle Glacier HW. The snow feels really good but is very bad in places too.

    [Later]

    I'm at the bottom of the Pinnacle Glacier [and West Ridge]. What a fun route! About 15 goats [whom I would later meet again] are just above me. I had to climb up and around a rock rib to get to a snow fin that avoids a massive break in skiable terrain. I can't have that. The amount of rockfall around me is insane. Time to get out of here.

    [Even later]

    That'd be 18 goats! Appears I may have taken the long way. After a nap I wake up to the entire herd coming down on me and let me tell you, what a sight to see them acting as if I wasn't there [wow]? It wasn't until they were right down on the water that the big male saw me. He established his dominance and I very quickly leap across the iced over head of a tarn. It was a fright. I had nowhere to go. I wanted to run and I wanted to stay. My hope was that they wouldn't see me. Ha. That's not likely. Still a wonderful experience that I will never forget.

    Getting from the end of the snows on the Pinnacle and back around is proving to be more work than I thought. I'm in a nice place now below the Adams Glacier. If I were above just below the NFNWR I'd be back at camp lickedy split but I'm not, so I enjoy my detour. Anyhow, I'm in no hurry to battle mice again.

    [Night]

    The sunset was really nice tonight. A lot of pollution from the fireworks helped I'm sure. I have to head back to my car tomorrow, but first I have to get some skiing in. I'm hoping to ski the NW Ridge [in the morning].

July 6, 2007 Near Noon



    I am near the West Summit. In 10 minutes I'll be skiing down. It is colder today and windier so I hope conditions are still favorable. The wind just stopped. Wow. This is great. I see no one up here and haven't seen anyone since the summit cap yesterday. Well I should get going.

    [Afternoon]

    I just got schooled. My fingers are bloody and my ego is bruised. Yesterday I lost my crampons. I know, I can't believe it either. I left them during a break, but that's no excuse, you should never ski a route like this without pons! I assumed that conditions would be good enough and up high they were, but soon they changed to ice which busted into loose granules of snow whenever I kicked into it. In places it was so hard it wouldn't even hold my whippets. I persistently worried my edges would slip out [since I was committed and NOT to an institution, I had to ski down since I couldn't climb up without pons. This one way journey was quite a mind game for a time]. Beyond the upper mountain there was better snow but ice rivulets continued to throw a wrench in my confidence. Still, good turns were had in places albeit slow turns. The schrund was passed by following climbers tracks. It was a lot easier to cross than it appeared at first glance.

    There is no rocks were I am at. Nonetheless, I'm on the Adams beneath the NFNWR and you never know when the next big ones coming.

        [in summation]

Well, no big one came down on me. I was able to return to camp and get home well before dark. This was an amazing trip for me, much more than I can put into words. Most trips are, aren't they? Words aren't always as visceral as photographs, so my hope is that at least, for this story, they tell some of the it my words can't.

Thanks for reading!

~Jason Hummel
« Last Edit: 07/27/07, 02:03 PM by Jason_H. » Logged

ron j
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Re: Mount Adams West Ridge Variation+NW Ridge 7/4-7/6
« Reply #1 on: 07/12/07, 06:09 AM »

Breathtaking words and photos, Jason.
Impressive trip.

As you so aptly communicate, I find solo forays on mountains are completely and totally different that climbing with partners; not necessarily better or worse, just immensely different, with a completely different risk reward package to constantly reevaluate.  To me they are overwhelmingly rewarding, and at times terrifying when considering the consequences of a mishap or even lack of attention.
I've never been able to put it into words quite like you did.
Nicely done.

That said, I think for the uninitiated that stumble across this site, it is only prudent to point out that you (and many others that post here for that matter) have been climbing with these mountains virtually your entire life.  So the risk/reward package is not near as dangerous to you as it would be for one to venture out on such a trip as, say, a decent skier with a year or two of mountain hiking under their belt.
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"When I stop having fun I'm turnin' around"
"Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future." - Niels Bohr
"If a given person makes it a priority not to die in an avalanche, he or she stands a very good chance of living a long, happy life in the mountains." - Jill Fredston
ovrthhills
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Re: Mount Adams West Ridge Variation+NW Ridge 7/4-7/6
« Reply #2 on: 07/12/07, 09:30 AM »

Great trip Jason and good point Ron.  My first trip to Elk Mountain in the Olympics was solo. I had to bail on a line which I felt comfortable later doing  with partners. But the solo experience was intensely rewarding even with the reduced agenda.
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OldHouseMan
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Re: Mount Adams West Ridge Variation+NW Ridge 7/4-7/6
« Reply #3 on: 07/12/07, 09:54 AM »

Another nice trip.

I remember my first solo trip, 9 days on the Wonderland trail, not quite as solo as your trip though.
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Jason_H.
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Re: Mount Adams West Ridge Variation+NW Ridge 7/4-7/6
« Reply #4 on: 07/12/07, 10:20 AM »

My first solo was on the Ptarmigan Traverse last year. This was my first solo ski trip. It felt different for sure than hiking, but there were a lot of similarities, too. In both I thought about decisions a lot, much more than when in a group. Mostly I enjoyed spending time and resting where I wanted and pushing myself rather than others pushing me. That difference is nice.
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ryanl
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Re: Mount Adams West Ridge Variation+NW Ridge 7/4-7/6
« Reply #5 on: 07/12/07, 09:56 PM »

What a great trip jason! Your experience with the mice made me chuckle. Funny how the little things can seem so big when you're by yourself. 

I'm with you about the resting/pushing freedom of soloing. It really allows you to get into rythym with your surroundings.

Also, that opening shot you have of Adams and the water is world class.

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Jason_H.
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Re: Mount Adams West Ridge Variation+NW Ridge 7/4-7/6
« Reply #6 on: 07/13/07, 01:12 PM »

Thanks Ryan. Those mice really were insane and I've had them pretty bad before (on my first solo trip one chomped into my fingers!).

Ron, I think the mountains have their own way of teaching people. Ignorance and bravado will only get most so far. I have been worrying more these days, as increasing amounts of people get out and ski this sort of stuff. There is a lot of risk and it can be difficult to manage. I would hope my TR's teach people as well as inspire.
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skykilo
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Re: Mount Adams West Ridge Variation+NW Ridge 7/4-
« Reply #7 on: 07/13/07, 02:04 PM »

Hey Jason

Could you post this one without the lines drawn so we can better admire your ski tracks?  I can clearly see them, despite the red obstruction.

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Jason_H.
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Re: Mount Adams West Ridge Variation+NW Ridge 7/4-7/6
« Reply #8 on: 07/13/07, 02:41 PM »



My first thumb here. Yay!

This is a different photo closer up. I don't have the other w/o lines on the net.
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Lisa
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Re: Mount Adams West Ridge Variation+NW Ridge 7/4-
« Reply #9 on: 07/18/07, 04:53 PM »

Jason, I always enjoy reading your trip reports and admiring the photos.
Thanks for sharing.
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