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Author Topic: July 11-12, 2003, Mt Adams SW Chutes  (Read 9499 times)
Mad_Dog
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July 11-12, 2003, Mt Adams SW Chutes
« on: 07/14/03, 02:27 AM »

Mt Adams SW Chutes (Yet another version)

First, let's talk access: IMO there are three ways to access Mt Adams from Tacoma.  You can be the judge and chose your best option based on your appetite for ease, scenic beauty, and your car's shock absorber durability.  1. The traditional way is heading south on I-5-205-I-84 to Hood River, across the Toll Bridge to Trout Lake, takes about 4- 4 1/2; hours from Tacoma, depending on traffic etc.  2.  From Highway 12 at Randal, take road 25, to 90, to 88 to Trout Lake.  Nice paved (except for about 3 or 4 sections of gravel that don't add up to more than a half a mile), quiet, scenic, two lane road with no services.  Approx. 4 hours 20 minutes.    3.  From Highway 12 at Randal, take road 25 about a mile to the left Y to 23 and 23 on to Trout Lake.  Road 23 has about 30 miles of gravel; plenty of washboard, no services, scenic, mountain roads.  Road 23 is approx 1,000 feet higher in elevation than option 2 (and usually opens later in the spring).  It drops you in the back door to the South Climb road with a short back track to the Trout Lake Ranger Station (closes @ 4:30 PM), which is where you go if you intend to comply with climber self registration and permitting (available 24/7, $15 weekends, $10 weekdays the dashboard tab also qualifies as the parking permit).    Reaching Trout Lake after 6:00 p.m. finds the town buttoned up and the sidewalks rolled up and put away too.  Even the gas station closes up early. The nearest gas station is heading back down the road to White Salmon.  Road options 1 & 2 are closed in the winter.  The Randal Ranger station is able to provide road information on closures, snow coverage etc.
Now for the fun.  The weather was slated to be better on Saturday than this past Sunday, so Ron and I headed for Cold Springs on Friday afternoon.  The road to Cold Springs is the same as it's always been.  Pretty dust and one section of washboard that would put my grandmother's washboard to shame, lasts for about a mile.  After that, it is the typical gravel road again.  
Mark (as in "Markharf") was to catch up with us somewhere along the trail, ("maybe, if my cold doesn't get worse").  He said if he showed up not to wake him, he would catch us.  Around our steak BBQ Friday evening at Cold Springs, it was warm and pleasant,  with no breeze and no bugs , 72 degrees with a full moon rising.  Cheesy  We decided to cruise the parking lot looking for Mark just to make sure that he hadn't snuck in before we retired.  While on our journey we ran into Toby Tortorelli and friend as they were preparing to leave the campground and hike in to quieter camp.  Nice to be able to put names with faces.  Throughout the evening you would hear an occasional car come in and hunt for that perfect spot.  Not as crowded the next morning as I would have imagined.  We set out at Oh Dark Hundred with headlamps, packs loaded with skis and warm temps.  Didn't need anything warmer than a short sleeve shirt even at this hour.  We carried our skis to the top of the Crescent Glacier where we finally found continuous snow to start skinning.  Brent was right when he mentioned that the sun cups had appeared almost without warning.  They are still there and in spots large enough to swallow a small child.  At the base of the False Summit climb we once again loaded our skis, put on the boot crampons and headed up the summit pitch.  The wind had started blowing which now required jackets and hats.  The higher we climbed the stronger the winds.  Clouds were forming over the false summit and summit and being blow away almost as quickly.  Several times the wind would gust feeling like it wanted to push you over.  Every time this happened, all I could think was that old pirate song, "Yo Ho Blow the Man Down".  We were expecting even higher winds at the top so we decided to forgo the 1.5 hr round trip to the summit from the false summit (been there; done that), which in turn put us  way ahead of schedule for the SW Chute ski.  Wanting the sun to warm them for the corn to ripen and not wanting to wait in the high winds at the top, we decided to head for the rocks on climbers left and take a break.  About 20 minutes into our break, who should come racing up, but none other than Mark!  How the heck did he go so fast, must have been those super fast sneakers he was wearing!  Can't even imagine how the heck you can climb so fast in a pair of tennis shoes on slippery snow.  It was nice to finally put another face to a name and the three of us sat and had a great time planning our strategy for our chute ski. After our appropriate strategic break, Ron and I took off while Mark readied himself for the climb with "real" climbing ski boots with crampons.  He said, once again, he would catch up.  Catch up he did and passed us climbing like a homesick angel.  I'm sure if Mark would have had enough time he could have built himself a stone house on the false summit for shelter waiting for us, since he had already built a fine bench for us "oldies" to sit on when we finally got there.  Unfortunately, we wanted nothing to do with sitting; all we could think about was the ski down, since we were so close. Wink  Anyone needing a great place to sit at the false summit can thank Mark for that bench.  Enough time had passed and the SW Chutes were in fine shape once again.  Lots and lots of fresh ripe corn just waiting.  We entered from 11,500, turn after turn, after turn, we had our way with the slope, only stopping long enough to hand off the camera and get some shots.  We skied our hearts out even enjoying a long slough path that was like a fine groomed run.  Whooping and hollering Mark and I wondered why it is that skiers do these Neanderthal chants until we realized that this is the universal "ski language" for, "it just doesn't get much better than this".  Coverage in the chutes is still great.  The surface has corned up nicely over a very stable base, except for occasional surface sloughs.  We skied down to about 6,800 feet before we had to load up and hike out to the Round the Mountain Trail.  Thanks to Ron's never ending source of great GPS waypoints we found the trail with only a short bushwhack.  About 4,700 vertical feet of  skiing, great weather, and great friends, what a way to spend the day.  Cool
Here's to another great corn harvest on the SW Chutes.  Cool There's still time for you to nail this classic.  Should still be good for at least another couple of weekends.
With luck we'll see a follow up post with link to the pics from Ron's camera.  Grin
« Last Edit: 07/14/03, 04:33 AM by Mad_Dog » Logged

There is nothing worse than refusing to learn: this is where old age begins.

Jeanette
Jeff Huber
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Re: July 11-12, 2003, Mt Adams SW Chutes
« Reply #1 on: 07/14/03, 04:05 AM »

Hey I was on Adams this past Saturday also! Did my skis touch the same snow as maddog's and ronj's? If so, I shall never wax my skis again. What time did you start your descent? I think I left the false summit about 11am.

Gaper Jeffy
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Mad_Dog
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Re: July 11-12, 2003, Mt Adams SW Chutes
« Reply #2 on: 07/14/03, 04:24 AM »

If you skied the SW Chutes around 1:00 p.m. then you skied the same snow as us.  Saw some pretty great turns down there too, maybe we touched your snow   Cool    To bad we didn't run into you, literally that is, not physically.
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There is nothing worse than refusing to learn: this is where old age begins.

Jeanette
Jeff Huber
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Re: July 11-12, 2003, Mt Adams SW Chutes
« Reply #3 on: 07/14/03, 04:46 AM »

Being the gaper I am, I actually unwisely descended the southside rather then the SW Chutes. I had pretty bad altitude sickness (or maybe it was gaper sickness?  Huh) at the false summit (and everywhere above the lnch cntr). Othen than that good times and fun skiing.

Gaper Jeffy

"I have to Gape and save the world?" - Me
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ron j
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Re: July 11-12, 2003, Mt Adams SW Chutes
« Reply #4 on: 07/14/03, 07:45 AM »

Jeffey - Too bad we missed you.  I should have been looking closer for the gapermobile when we were looking around the campground.  We proly saw you skiing down.  I think about 11:00 the 3 of us were hanging out in the rocks climber's left at about 10,000 on Suksdorf Ridge 'cause we wanted to wait a while for the sun to do its magic on the snow on the SW Chutes.  We didn't want to go to the top and wait 'cause it looked uncomfortably windy up there (turned out it wasn't as bad as the lenticular made it look).  I saw a couple of pretty hot looking skiers coming down about that time; one of them must have been you.  Were you solo?  Tele or rando?
Here's one of MadDog Morrison having here way with the upper section of the Chutes:
oHqBO!aqldLelDd0Nc3tIxwPq7y9Z!zutO!1Rj3Gzk9VQ/P1006108.jpg?dc=4675430271913879172" alt="" border="0" />

Additional photos of the trip can be found at: http://groups.msn.com/WildHeartsSkiing/mtadamsswchutes31203.msnw
« Last Edit: 07/14/03, 07:51 AM by ron_j » Logged

"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
JW
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Re: July 11-12, 2003, Mt Adams SW Chutes
« Reply #5 on: 07/14/03, 04:47 PM »

Great Report Jeanette! Cool , Great Photog Ron! Cool
« Last Edit: 07/14/03, 04:53 PM by JW » Logged

"You keep skiing, I'll keep filming"
zenom
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Re: July 11-12, 2003, Mt Adams SW Chutes
« Reply #6 on: 07/14/03, 05:45 PM »

Great report.

Looks like I'll try it this weekend, and thinking of camping out below the snow.  Were bugs at the lower elevations an issue? Is mosquito netting advised?

Thanks in advance.
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ron j
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Re: July 11-12, 2003, Mt Adams SW Chutes
« Reply #7 on: 07/15/03, 01:04 AM »

Quote

Looks like I'll try it this weekend, and thinking of camping out below the snow.  Were bugs at the lower elevations an issue? Is mosquito netting advised?

Mosquitoes were not a problem.
Assuming you would do the SW Chutes (highly advisable), I would not camp any higher than the Round the Mountain Trail (AKA part of the PCT in that area).  If you prefer to camp on the mountain rather than car camp at Cold Springs you might consider doing it like Toby did, i.e. camp a bit west of the intersection of the RTM/PCT trail and the South Climb trail.  That way you can pick up your overnight gear on the most natural route back from the chutes.  Almost any other place you camp on the mtn would likely require that you either A) ski back down the way you ckimbed up, B) terminate your SW Chutes ski down, early to traverse back to camp (which could very well involve some rock scrambling),  C) climb back up to get your overnight gear, or  D) carry you overnight gear up and over the top of the false summit pitch  Angry
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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
Mad_Dog
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Re: July 11-12, 2003, Mt Adams SW Chutes
« Reply #8 on: 07/15/03, 02:02 AM »

The SW chutes is all about timing, getting there to early can leave you with very hard conditions at the top portion. It takes a while for the sun to move around and start warming and softening the snow.  If it is overcast and there is some wind , it may take a little longer.  If the skies are clear and the sun is out you will have a good chance if you hit the chutes between noonish and 1:00 p.m. It's just all about timing and weather conditions.  If you get there early and want to wait a while, you can always take advantage of that nice bench that Mark built.  Grin
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Jeanette
Skinut
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Re: July 11-12, 2003, Mt Adams SW Chutes
« Reply #9 on: 07/15/03, 02:16 AM »

Great report, and very informative. I'm envious! Have skied Adams only once, and not the  chutes, just down the face of false summit. Maybe next year, if I'm not too senile.
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Jeff Huber
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Re: July 11-12, 2003, Mt Adams SW Chutes
« Reply #10 on: 07/15/03, 06:16 AM »

I was alone and rando.

Ron & Maddog, would you mind if I used one of your suncup photos in my TR? I don't have any photos which show them as well as yours.

Thanks,

Jeff
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ron j
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Re: July 11-12, 2003, Mt Adams SW Chutes
« Reply #11 on: 07/15/03, 06:32 AM »

Yep.  Saw you.  Nice skiing.  That south face was pretty brutal, and you made it look easy.

Feel free on the photo use.
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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
kam
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Re: July 11-12, 2003, Mt Adams SW Chutes
« Reply #12 on: 07/15/03, 05:18 PM »

Ron and MadDog:

You two know how to party!  Great report and pics.  I like the steak on the grill shot.  MadDog, did you bring hotdogs this time?  Thanks for sharing the TR and while you guys were enjoying yourself on Adams, I spent the weekend at your favorite G-spot, Glacier peak (this was the third time).  It rained all night Saturday of course. We went up to the top in a complete whiteout, with the wind blowing in every direction, and the rain soaked us good.  Anyway, I'm jealous of your ski on Adams.

kam
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Mad_Dog
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Re: July 11-12, 2003, Mt Adams SW Chutes
« Reply #13 on: 07/16/03, 02:05 AM »

No hotdogs this time, Mt Adams is steak worthy.  This weekend is "dog" worthy.  Grin
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There is nothing worse than refusing to learn: this is where old age begins.

Jeanette
ron j
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Re: July 11-12, 2003, Mt Adams SW Chutes
« Reply #14 on: 07/16/03, 02:21 AM »

Wow, Kam, I thought we had the record for the most torture points at the "other G-Spot that you just don't talk about"... but it sounds like you've unseated us as the record holder!!!
All was not lost though, we dedicated some turns to you on Adams.
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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
Jonathan_S.
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Re: July 11-12, 2003, Mt Adams SW Chutes
« Reply #15 on: 07/16/03, 03:46 AM »

Gaper Jeffrey's vow of no waxing would be more impressive if he actually tuned his skis on a regular basis.  (Then again, if he maintained his ski gear properly, he wouldn't be much of a gaper, would he?)
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Jeff Huber
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Re: July 11-12, 2003, Mt Adams SW Chutes
« Reply #16 on: 07/16/03, 06:14 AM »

Huh? You mean waxing my skis once every 5 years isn't a "regular basis"?

Gaper Jeffy
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markharf
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Re: July 11-12, 2003, Mt Adams SW Chutes
« Reply #17 on: 07/16/03, 07:17 AM »

Great reporting by Mad Dog, and outstanding action photography by Ron. The pair of you really have this thing figured out: from the extensively-researched forest road approaches through the perfectly- timed descents, the vast stashes of waypoints appropriate to any route or occasion and the elaborate tailgate parties. I was honored to join you, and I'm glad I made the trip despite my admitted initial reluctance to ski with anyone named "Mad Dog."

I missed the previous night's five star cookout, arriving at the trailhead only slightly before Ron and Mad Dog departed on foot. By really focusing my energies, I was able to out-sleep virtually everyone, and the parking lot was almost entirely deserted by the time I set off around 7:30 the next morning.  I seemed to be making pretty good time at the moment when a very relaxed-looking gentleman (prone, in fact, as if fast asleep in the talus at trail's edge) managed to rouse himself long enough to call out my name. This proved to be Ron, admiring the gorgeous, swirling cloudcap above us, forming and dissipating in howling winds, while he and Mad Dog took a strategic break.

I am working on the running shoe thing for fast approaches. Anytime there is already an established boot track, I make surprisingly good time wearing the lightest possible footgear while carrying my skis and boots. There do not seem to be any serious drawbacks: maybe my toes get cold, or my ankles get wet, but this is no problem at all during the warm Cascadian summer. Past 30 degrees steepness or so, or in the absence of steps kicked by multiple others, I start thinking about putting on my boots.  

I found the SW chutes great fun, and very much as advertised: endless thousands of feet of 35-40 degree fall-line skiing. It is true that surface conditions were not quite perfectly ideal: a bit firm at first, somewhat over-soft later on, with rutted patches and blown grit here and there. It is true also that the cold and breeze had me wearing absolutely every bit of clothing I had carried in my pack as we began our descent (Ron's photo above shows Mad Dog looking rather more bulbous than her actual slim, trim self). But who's to be picky about such matters in mid-July?

Jeffey: I spoke to a woman who described getting altitude sick right there at the false summit on her previous visit, meticulously vomiting onto the provided target in order to blue-bag and pack it out. I thought this very admirable indeed. Lots of folks do get ill up there.  I'd pay close attention to the various combinations of dehydration, sun exposure, sleep deprivation, and inadequate or inappropriate fueling (i.e., food) since these can have similar nauseating effects. Everyone responds differently to altitude, and many respond very differently on different occasions.  

Enjoy,

Mark
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Mad_Dog
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Re: July 11-12, 2003, Mt Adams SW Chutes
« Reply #18 on: 07/16/03, 02:53 PM »

Mark, I still think you had some kind of skin set up on those "tennie" runners of yours cause you were almost to the point of making a rooster tail behind you as you came smokin up that false summit pitch  Grin   Grin
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Jeanette
markharf
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Re: July 11-12, 2003, Mt Adams SW Chutes
« Reply #19 on: 07/16/03, 04:40 PM »

Uh, nooooo.....but for some reason I just thought of those 8 inch long chunks I always cut off the end of new climbing skins when fitting them to my skis (I don't fasten them at the tail: just trim 'em short and round the edges).  Now, if I were to take those scraps and trim them to fit my running shoes....
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beaversmackdown
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Re: July 11-12, 2003, Mt Adams SW Chutes
« Reply #20 on: 07/24/03, 08:49 AM »

CAN SOMEBODY TELL ME WHERE SOME GOOD SNOW IS?  I've read a lot of reports and I live over in Spokane and I really want to go snowboarding again.  I just got back from Skyline Divide and I want to try and avoid ice picks and all that.  MadDog, can you help me?
« Last Edit: 07/24/03, 08:51 AM by beaversmackdown » Logged
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