Mt. Adams, Washington


Day 1

  • Start 8:30am July 15
  • Elevation gain ~7,000' for this climb, ~13,000 feet for this 24 hours
  • Summit 3:15pm, 12,276'
  • Team: Brian and John

After Brian drove down to Hood River (and I got a short nap), we switched from the big motor home to a pick-up truck. The road to Cold Springs camp and the Mt. Adams trailhead is a lot better than it used to be, but it's still quite narrow and winding, and we didn't want to trash the rental rig. After the miserable, icy skiing we had on Hood earlier this morning, we decided to leave the ski gear and go light. We parked right behind a familiar car; Richard (my 72 year old father) and his wife Shelley were to meet us near the summit, so had wisely gotten a head start. We weren't sure when they had left, but we would be looking for them as we headed up. Our goal was to meet them on the summit at 1:30. After the normal morning fussing about, we were on the trail at about 8am.

It was another a clear, sunny day. As the heat of the day came upon us, we were on the headwall below Piker's Peak. The snow was getting soft, and we had climbed close to 12,000 vertical feet in less than 18 hours. The fatigue of preparation, driving, and perhaps a lack of food caught up with Brian, and he bonked. Bonking is probably a dive in blood sugar, or something similar. In any event, it makes one feel limp and listless, like swimming uphill through wet cement. On the other hand, I was feeling great and was excited to meet my Dad on top. Off I went.


There were quite a few people on the mountain for a week day. I found Shelley, and then caught Dad a little further ahead and just below Piker's. As Brian overtook Shelley, his fatigue was in evidence as he failed to respond to Shelley's comment, "I guess we'll be bringing up the rear."

We all congregated on Piker's, and gathered our energy for the final push to the summit. Brian was stuffing food like mad, and we conversed with other groups who were both going up and down. Dad and Shelley need a little more time, so we left them.

Even with Brian bonked, we made it about 1:30pm. Dad and Shelley made the summit a little afterwards. I really wanted to be on the summit with my father, but we were scheduled to have a picnic with Big Jeff's family in Trout Lake, so we started down. With food on his mind, Brian came back alive on the descent.

We tore down the mountain, and drove to Trout Lake where the family, and assorted other friends, were waiting at a campground. My wife Julie was there. Some time later Dad and Shelley made it back. It was a happy, but very tired, group of climbers.

We hit the sack early so we would have energy for Mt. St. Helens tomorrow. Two down, six to go.

Mr. Natural Home | 2002 | Back to top of page | Questions :: e-mail to splattski