MM Collection
Checking in from the Condor's Nest on Illimani, Bolivia. MM Collection
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September 17, 2013

Goals, First Summits and Blue Skies on Mt. Adams

During the last full week in July, Mountain Madness guides Viviane deBros and Andy Dahlen led a group of first time mountaineers up Mt. Adams, the second highest peak in Washington State. Standing at 12,281 feet, Mt. Adams is truly a mountain of high altitude adventure while at the same time, a great goal and accomplishment for people who are looking to gain mountaineering experience. 

View of the Klickitat Glacier and icefall from Sunrise Camp. Mary Barron photo

The logistics for climbing Mt. Adams are somewhat more involved due to its farther distance from Seattle compared to many of Mountain Madness’s other summit climbs, which is why our group had four days to summit the mountain. The upside to the long drive down the Mt. Adams was that we all got to spend some quality time together before the trip started and everyone got to hear each other’s reasons for wanting to climb. Amanda and Jamie, our proud mom and dad team from Wisconsin, wanted to climb Mt. Adams as their first mountain to get a taste of mountaineering and to see if it was something that these ice and rock climbers wanted to continue pursuing. Mary, our Yooper (look it up if you don’t know), came to the climb with an abundant and impressive amount of climbing history but now it was time for her to make some history of her own. Lastly, the dynamic mother-daughter duo of Colleen and Claire, the Washington home-growns from the Tri Cities, who were climbing together because it was Claire’s turn to have an adventure with her mom. Next up for Colleen was white water rafting with her son! Overall, our group was fairly new to the sport, but everyone was excited and anxious to start their first climb.

Our first camp with our impressive view. Mary Barron photo

No one could complain about the view from our first camp. We established camp at a clearing on top of a ridge looking directly at our route, the Mazama Glacier, and also at views of the neighboring Klickitat Glacier and its impressive ice fall. After a warm dinner of phad thai, we escaped to our tents to evade the mosquitoes and nestled into our sleeping bags to rest up for our approach to Sunrise camp, our high camp at about 8,300 ft. In the morning, we awoke with the same amazing view, only this time it was the sunrise version. We packed up and headed out for a day of hiking over scree, dirt, snow, and ice. When we arrived to Sunrise camp, we were greeted with yet more amazing views and a great position to see the route that we would be going up tomorrow morning. After Viviane taught a snow school and skills session, we ate another warm and delicious meal, and nestled into our sleeping bags to get some rest before our big day. 

The start of a beautiful sunrise on the morning of our summit bid. Mary Barron photo

One of the hardest things for me about mountaineering is getting out of my warm and cozy sleeping bag at painfully early times in the morning, but the morning of our summit, I was ready and roaring to go. The temperature was rather pleasant, the stars were beautiful, and we barely needed our headlamps; it was a good way to start a summit day. To the top! We made our way up the impressive Mt. Adams via the Mazama glacier with our goals giving us the extra energy we needed to get to the summit. Everyone dug deep and found the energy they needed to make it to the top, which was great for Viviane and I to see. Helping and working with people to accomplish goals is one of my favorite parts of guiding because my clients get to succeed in something that they have set their minds to and we, as guides, get to help make that happen. It is a very powerful and positive experience to be a part of someone achieving their goal. I am very proud to have been a part of this trip and I want to congratulate everyone again on their summit, whether its their last or first of many. 

Classic summit photo of everyone atop Mt. Adams! Mary Barron photo

~ MM Guide Andy Dahlen