MOUNT ADAMS-June 24-25 NFNWR and Lava Ridge
Story and photos by Jason Hummel

Late afternoon alpenglow on the Northside of Adams. This reflection was taken at Lake 7500-ft just above Glacier Meadow.

This weekend was a mixture of beauty and joy for me on this mountain that I have climbed more than any other. It offers perspective. Shows me how much I have changed while this place hasn't? It is a constant in a world of chaos.
Josh and I left at 5:30pm Friday, and found ourselves at Killen Creek parking area just before 9pm. We were on the trail shortly after. The quiet. The sunset. It was a very beautiful hike at night. It was wonderful even. A quiet peace that was not so quiet. More like a quiet loudness that was calming in a un city-like motor roaring, TV blasting sort of way. Something I needed and something I got. 

The climbing went well through the dark. My flashlight decided to not work as usual, but the night lights offered light enough for most of the way. On the ridge below high camp and Glacier Meadow, we tried to go directly over the top, and ended up on rock pillars. The scramble down through shrubs and loose boulders were not a highlight. In fact I was in a pretty sore mood, and Josh was taking the brunt of it. "We should've gone over the shoulder. Why the hell are we up here?"

To which Josh retorts, "We should've gone over the ridge, you're the one who wanted to go back to the shoulder."

To which I retort, "I didn't want to go this way, I was following you."

Finally at 11:30 we were resting.

Oddly enough that morning our father, Kurt was less than a few hundred feet away (he had climbed up earlier that night). We laughed about that and packed gear for the climb, planning a rest at lake 7500-ft where Dave and Amar were camped. There we would wait for several others who were planning to climb up early that morning.

Elegant Sky Pilot's shielding themselves from sun and storm next to volcanic basalt boulders.

Pink Heather not quite blooming and White Heather.

Josh viewing the lava glacier.

My knee hasn't been treating me well, and I was worried this was going to be a short day for me. In fact I didn't want to be chasing others up the mountain. As a result my wait for the others was truncated. We set off early up the ridge. By the time we were climbing the spine, we could see several others making their way toward us. Perfect timing.

My old man and his twin, Atomic Teledaddy's.

For years I've been wanting to get my old man up the North Side of Adams. This hasn't worked out very well. So when I saw this forecast I couldn't help but try again. "Conditions couldn't be any better," was my thesis although I don't think I needed it. He was ready for anything.

Sky sidestepping to the West Summit of Adams. This is the top of the North Face Northwest Ridge.

Just below 11k most of the party coalesced into one. On the summit cap we rested and contemplated our best course of action. Phil, Vincent, Josh, Sky, Sam, Greg and myself would descend the NFNWR while my dad, Kurt would join Amar and Dave on the Adams Glacier.

Sky cranking turns off the top of the NFNWR.

Watch it rollover and crank it.

The ski was incredible on top. There was sluff in places midway that put Sky and I on guard (since we were first), and some ice under the soft corn that caught me by surprise. More concerned I remained conservative. The ski isn't bad, but a biff would be. Sam rocked it to the bottom with Sky while I hung back for a few photos.

At the bottom we met Amar and Dave who had watched us (Their ski had gone without a hitch). They were soon fired up when they saw Vincent rock the entire route solo (he had waited for Paul, who didn't finish since he was still overcoming a cold). I began wishing I could be that dude. "Who was the guy who skied the route solo?" Commented a climbing party the next day.

Way to rock the house, Vincent.

The stacked rocks are part of a late summer campsite.

We were back at camp in no time. Actually, everyone else was back to camp in no time. Josh and I went down to Glacier Meadow and picked up the Old Man's overnight gear and ours to bring back up to the lake. Light was dimming by the time we settled in. I wasn't too happy since my knee didn't do well, and had no plans to go up the next day. Josh was relagated to going back also since he was my ride. Fortunately morning would change these plans.

Alpine False candytuft.


That night the light was amazing as the sun slipped beneath its covers. Armed with my digital camera and plenty of time, I lumbered all around camp trying to capture the meaning of this place. Because it does mean something to me. I have a lot of memories here in the 30 odd times I've climbed it, not to mention summer hikes through the area as a kid.


Mount Rainier under a hazy sunset.

My first night shot. I woke-up in the middle of the night and took a 30 second exposure of the stars and climbers preparing to climb the Adams Glacier. Their tent aglow made this photo special.

>>>Read about DAY TWO about LAVA RIDGE

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