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Mount Adams north side beat down-July 11th 2012
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Mount Adams north side beat down-July 11th 2012

Mount Adams north side beat down-July 11th 2012

We left the snowbank covering the road to Killen Creek trailhead at 11:00 pm. That is either a late start, or an extremely early one depending on how you look at it. We hiked the road for a few miles and reached the trailhead just after midnight. To our suprise there was cars at the trailhead...apparently there is a back way in with no snow on the road. Dang. 3 extra miles walking for no good reason.
Even though I was "going light" my pack was in the 50 lbs. range with a snowboard, boots, 30m rope, ice screws and pickets. Big plans require big packs. And my plan was big, to climb the Adams Glacier and the north face of the northwest ridge and snowboard down the same route, all in a one day push.

We reached the base of the climb early in the morning. My climbing partner, Elias, Next Adventure's most talented boulderer, called it a day at the base of the glacier. I ditched the rope and pickets since I would be traveling the glacier solo. While it is not advisable to climb crevassed terrain unroped, I trusted my detective skills and continued up.
   The snow was frozen solid, and I worked my way up through runnels and ice falls with two ice axes and just the tips of the front points on my crampons. I made it about halfway up the face when I came to an unpassable problem. Large seracs blocked me from upwards progress. With ice screws and a partner to belay me it would have been no problem, but solo it was a terrifying thought. I hid out of the way from rock and ice fall under one of the seracs for a while. I was nodding off, so I took my emergency ice screw and anchored myself to a serac with webbing girth hitched to my seat harness.

I was growing tired of waiting on the face for the snow to soften enough to snowboard down, and was weary of the objects that tumble down the mountain when the sun hits them. So I decided to downclimb. I faced in, downclimbing with the two axes in high dagger position. At one point I put my snowboard on and carved 2 turns. I decided living was more important than descending with speed and style. I went back to downclimbing, crossing in and out of the runnel trying to find the softest, most mellow slope. It was just about the least amount of fun you can have while mountaineering.

I finally made it down to rideable snow and less aggressive slopes, and strapped in and snowboarded down a couple thousand feet of crevassed glacial terrain. I regrouped with Elias and ate alot of food. There were still many miles to go.

I skied the splitboard with no skins for as far as I could down the mountain. It is realy hard to find those trails when they are snowed over.

We missed the trail and alot of bushwacking ensued. I had so much stuff on the outside of my pack it got caught on just about every snag in the forest. We followed a north-northwest direction, knowing we would hit the road eventually. We reached the road, hot, tired and footsore, and out of water. Luckily a 4 wheeler came just after that and gave us a ride in the back of his truck.

While it was a failed attempt, it was still a great workout and some nice views of the mountain. You cant keep me a way from these peaks and thier glaciers. I have always had an infatuation with these slow moving chunks of ice, and all I want is more experience and time with them.

 

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