Mount Adams - Avalanche Glacier Headwall
June 13-15th, 2008

Photos and story by Jason

Sunday Morning (previous day: Mount Adams Circumnavigation)

The next morning we continued our quest on Adams . This time to ski a route, something the previous days marathon traverse couldn't reward. I needed my turns! After melting water again, Josh and I set off up the mountain ahead of Amar and Dave. We had slept in past 8am and were set to make up for lost time. The way ahead was very familiar and we set a good pace. There were several parties climbing and camping along the way. How they managed to carry their massive packs so high, I can't imagine. Views from their lofty vantage and the light winds made their homes a fine, restful venue for predawn views of painted horizon. I was jealous for that reason alone. How I would love to sit and watch the night's sky turn to purple, yellow, orange and red. But at the moment, the heat was absolutely ridiculous!!! I could think of nothing else but the sunscreen in my eyes and the fact that I forgot my hat and, damn, I should've brought more kool-aid to mask the bad tasting water. It was a wonder I didn't melt away like snow.

At Lunch Counter Amar and Dave passed us by. They took a variation to the climber's right which is probably a bit longer, but avoided the steeper slopes that had slide the day before. We rested with them before skinning up the first 3rd of the face and finally booting. The climb up the South Route is a long gently sustained slope all the way to Piker's Peak, the false Summit of Adams. You'd think the heat would've lessened but it hadn't by much. It felt like walking through a desert wasteland. How you can feel so hot, when the temperature is in the 60's is lost on me?

At Piker's Peak, we stopped to break before traversing over to the top of the Headwall, further north of the SW Chutes. It was cold enough to put on a coat there, a welcomed relief that was short-lived. Down lower it would be hot and skis tend to bring you down a slope quick, and the thrill of it doesn't leave much time for gear changes. There's skiing to be done! The entrance was easy to find and could be done by a few variations. We hit the best spot and after Josh went through; the rest of us followed and were welcomed by a snow face confined by rock ribs. The sustained face below was so awfully amazing, mouths dropped open and screams escaped. Amar plain let it rip and skied all the way to the bottom after the first few hundred feet. The slopes were about 40 degrees. We all agreed this ski was a better and steeper version of the SW Chutes. You couldn't help but be thrilled to have such perfect conditions. So many people stick to well worn paths. It is guaranteed if you look elsewhere you'll find rewards eventually. This was a cherry on top for a trip that had gone beautifully.

Between skiing around the mountain and skiing off of it, between new sights and old ones, from beginning to end a remarkable weekend. So much more to fill my memories with, to dominate my car-encumbered drives to work and back when the mountains shine brightly in alpenglow, when the windows are cracked, when I know I'll be up on them when opportunity arises. This is what rocks my boat and I'll never escape it.

Until next time I'm in the mountains.

Thanks for the trip Dave, Amar, and Josh.

How does a remarkable trip begin? According to the dictionary it is by definition "worthy of being or likely to be noticed especially as being uncommon or extraordinary."

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