2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Also on

Enter Zip Code

Backpacker Magazine – October 2008

Mt. Adams: Solitude On Ice

Test your self-arrest skills on Mt. Adams's 12,276-foot fractured glacier.

by: Charlie Wood & Casey Lyons

(Dave Schiefelbein)
(Dave Schiefelbein)

The Hike
The slopes of hulking 12,276-foot Mt. Adams boast enough snow and ice routes to satisfy every level of mountaineer. Most climbers hit the easy one- to two-day stroll up the South Spur route, but to put budding mountaineering skills to a true test, summit via the Mazama Glacier route. You'll spend a night at Sunrise Camp, 3.5 miles from Bird Creek Meadows trailhead, then on summit day work west through talus fields to the Mazama Glacier. Rope up to climb a 35-degree snow slope with crevasse hazards to a false summit at 11,657 feet. From here, it's a nearly level stroll to the true summit. Block out three to four days for this 12-mile roundtrip with 6,000 feet of elevation gain.

The Crux
Navigating crevasse-laden terrain.

The Key
On summit day, budget eight hours to reach the top, leaving camp by 2 a.m. in order to cross snowbridges before they weaken in the heat of the day. Stay to the right on the Mazama Glacier to avoid the most crevasse-perforated areas. Use wands to mark your route. Retrace it on the way down, but be prepared to descend the easier (and crevasse-free) South Spur if the weather becomes questionable.

The Way
From Trout Lake, head 4.5 miles north on Mt. Adams Rd. to NFD-82. Turn right and go six miles to the Yakima Indian Reservation boundary. Turn left here onto NFD-8290 and Bird Creek Meadows.

Plan It
(509) 395-3400; USGS quads: Mt. Adams East, Mt. Adams West

Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Address 1:
Address 2:
Email (req):

Reader Rating: -


Nov 19, 2009

The "Most climbers hit the easy one- to two-day stroll up the South Spur route" remark, while not technical it is 6800 feet of Elevation Gain, divde by two and it is still a pretty good hike.

Jan 30, 2009

No way is it a nearly level stroll from the false summit (Pikers' Peak) to the true summit of Mt. Adams. It's flat for a quarter mile, then goes up steeply.


Your rating:
Your Name:


My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

The Political Arena
What's the Point of Wash, DC?
Posted On: Jul 23, 2014
Submitted By: big_load
Trailhead Register
Find our missing Son
Posted On: Jul 22, 2014
Submitted By: wwwest
View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site

Follow BackpackerMag on Twitter Follow Backpacker on Facebook
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions