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Mt Adams Wilderness,  Gifford Pinchot National Forest,  Aug 18, 2003 - Aug 19, 2003     page 1 / 9

My son, Tom, and I headed south recently to climb Mt. Adams. This is Washington State's second highest mountain, resting east of Mt. St. Helens, and topping out at 12,276 feet above sea level. After viewing it carefully from the comfort of the cockpit one day last year, I thought it looked like a relatively straightforward climb. Later study of the maps and climbing books found this to be true. A simple route up the south side of the mountain required no more than trail and snow travel, no glaciers to contend with. So we decided to give it a whirl.

We headed out at 9:00 AM Monday morning, stopping at the ranger station in Randle to purchase the required Volcano climbing pass. We arrived at the trailhead around 1:30PM. The temperature was warm, about 85F. The trail was dusty and dry. We plodded along for a few hours in the heat of the day, stopping often for a drink or to sit a few minutes. I found it increasingly difficult to maintain much forward progress, so we opted to stop at the 7500 foot level. We had hoped to make it to the Lunch Counter, a broad, more or less level area at 9000 feet of elevation. This would have split our 6000-foot climb more evenly over the two days, making roughly 3000 feet each day. As it was, we stopped having only completed 2000 feet.