This was my first time to climb Mount Adams, so I decided to climb it in one day. I drove down Saturday night, after watching the weather forecast for the last few weeks, with the idea to climb on Sunday and take Monday off to recover.
Drove the 260 miles Saturday night, and arrived in the parking lot at 10:30pm. Got my gear setup and went to sleep in the car. Woke up around 3:30am, and got going around 4:30am. Temp was around 28 degrees, and I noticed on the way up the stars were not out any more.
Climbed at a steady pace up to Lunch Counter, and hit huge amounts of snow just below Lunch Counter. I continued up, until I had to put my crampon’s on. Hit Lunch Counter around 7:00am. Walked by some tents, and was asked by those inside, if it was worth coming out, since they had been snowed on all night. Now it was snowing.
I continued up the mountain. Visibility was around 500 feet, with day light just breaking. Now that I could see past my headlamp, I could not see more than key ribs of the mountain. It was going through my mind, it would be very easy to get lost when up high, and miss the Lunch Counter trail.
I headed South East to find the route up to the ridge, to then turn North. The snow that had fallen in the last few weeks, has become a sheet of Ice. The snow started to fall harder as I progressed upwards.
When I hit the 9,000 foot level, the wind picked up to around 15-20mph. I switched over to my ski hat and put on my rain jacket. The steepness of the slope, deemed it time to pull out the ice axe and get rid of the trekking poles. I continued up, using GPS and moving toward the ridge.
At the time I hit the 11,000 foot mark, the winds had picked up even more, and the snow was sideways. The time was 10:20am. I decided to continue forward, although my right foot was really starting to get numb. The catch was, I had not expected this type of weather, so I was just wearing leather boots.
At 10:55am, I had reached 11,423, and the wind was now really pushing hard, with gusts of up to 30-50mph. Temp was now showing 9 degrees. I was knocked down 3 times, and had to arrest once, to stop from sliding down the slope. I looked ahead, and visibility had gone down to 10 feet. Now I was getting worried about how long it would take to get down, since the slope was just a sheet of ice, and my feet were getting numb.
I turned around and headed down. Since I’d already dropped my ice axe once, I hooked my leash to my belt, and carried my GPS unit in the other hand. It was very slow going, since my glasses would not stop fogging up.
It took 1.5 hours to hit Lunch Counter. The catch is, I had turned my GPS unit on late, and frankly could not tell where the trail was. I continued North West against the mountain, to try to find something that looked familiar. I headed to far North, and my gut forced me to go back South and double back. My gut was right, I almost went way to far to the North and would have missed the trail out.
Around 12:30, I hit the trail, and jumped out of my shells. The sun started to come out, and the temp jumped up to around 40 degrees. Interesting day.
Hit the parking lot at 2:00pm, took about 1.5 hours from Lunch Counter.