Mt Adams, Training Required?

11:14 a.m. on April 20, 2010 (EDT)
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A lifelong backpacker, I'd like to get up on a mountain. I read a lot about Mt. Adams being little more than a snowy trail hike. This, comming from experienced mountaineers might be an understatement but I don't know. Besides an ice axe and crampons, would an experienced backpacker need any specialized training and equipment to summit Adams?

12:20 p.m. on April 20, 2010 (EDT)
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Well, if you are going to carry "sharpies", you really ought to get a little training in how to use them and keep from impaling yourself in case of a slip or fall. If you choose the right route, Adams and Shasta are easy enough snow slogs. But if you are going to carry an ice ax, you should learn how to self arrest. And if you wear crampons, you should get some instruction on how to put them on properly and how to walk without tripping over them and stabbing your leg with the crampon on the other foot.

I am only partially joking here. People die or are seriously injured on these mountains every year. Go to the USFS pages for each and read the accident reports.

4:13 p.m. on April 20, 2010 (EDT)
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Much appreciated, as always.

6:23 p.m. on April 20, 2010 (EDT)
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Here's some lite reading. Mt. Adams

1:55 a.m. on April 22, 2010 (EDT)
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That link is a bizarre story.

The South Shoulder is a cruise, but if it's your first volcano, wait for the more stable weather of mid-late July. By then, most of the snow (this year) will be gone except for that above the bench and GENERALLY speaking, you'll find it just a rather long slog, if not an enjoyable one, to a high summit (and a brutal false summit!). Bill's got some good advice on self-arrest and getting used to crampons (and take it seriously - they are easy skills for most to learn) but in general, it's a straightforward "climb" over two days for someone in respectable shape. Just be mindful of the altitude if you've not been up that high before. Everyone's metabolism is different and, in my experience, I watch first-timers above 8-10,000 for any signs of HAPE or HACE. Rare at those levels for sure, but worth keeping in mind should it not agree with your body. If you're in shape and well-hydrated, it will likely not be an issue.


For a good test, take the hike up to Camp Muir on Rainier and see how that treats you. If you can do that in a day from Paradise (with a well-stocked day pack) and not feel like the world ended, I bet you'll be fine on Adams.


Just don't spend four weeks up there and you'll be fine. :-)

July 25, 2014
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