Mount Adams [12,276-ft] July 4-6, 2007
West Ridge Variation and NW Ridge

Mount Saint Helens putting off its own fireworks on the 4th of July.

I saw eternity the other night
Like a great ring of pure and endless light.
All calm, as it was bright;
And round beneath it, Time in hours, days, years,
Driv'n by the spheres
Like a vast shadow mov'd; in which the world
And all her train were hurl'd~

~Henry Vaughan

Photos and story by Jason Hummel

Mount Adams is always on my mind. During this past winter I imagined breaks in the weather that didn't appear. My hopes of skiing it were saved until early May. Even then, Adams is very inaccessible in the winter! Guarded by miles of logging roads that make the approach most feasible with a snow machine. In the early Spring 2007 my brother and I attempted to circumnavigate the mountain and ski several routes. After miles and miles of road and dreadfully sticky snow, we reached the mountain, only to be pounded by wind and snow and sent home in despair. We spent the remainder of our week kayaking. Soon July had come and I was afraid my annual trip to Adams would be thwarted. Snows had melted early south of Rainier and the poor winter snowpack couldn't take the heat. Summer was in full force and 3-days of sun tempted me get out and ski! Not only this, my grandfathers funeral was just after and I would be driving there on my way home. It seemed like a good idea to clear my head and pay tribute to him by seeking the mountains.

Unlike previous trips to Adams which have a history of including BIG groups, I was left without any partners at all (now I know how Sky feels). So in the spirit of my first Solo Overnight trip the previous year on the Ptarmigan Traverse, I set out for Adams with plans to ski several routes, preferrably ones I hadn't done before. For the sake of change, I decided to keep journal entries that way I could put you in the moment.

Some Pictures from Josh and my April Ski trip first:





July 4th, 2007 Afternoon

I was thinking so clearly, my plan was so beautiful: camp on or near the summit of Adams and watch the Forth of July fireworks from my lofty vantage. But here I am at 7400-ft realizing I don't want to carry heavy gear all the way up, then down. Instead I will ski the NW Ridge or Pinnacle Glacier Headwall tomorrow and one other route Friday. This sounds enjoyable to me.


My camera is taking a long exposure. I'm sitting here w/music still going through my head. I borrowed Josh's [my twin brother's] IPOD. I LOVE it! Earlier I went out on the lake and walked out on the ice. I know, not smart. I'd agree whole-heartedly. It was a bad idea, but it was oddly fascinating there and worth it.

The wind from just a few minutes ago has suddenly died, so has my battery on my camera. Rainier is looking mighty fine framed in a deep blue everywhere but the horizon still awash with red and orange, but even that is being consumed by the blackness. Soon all will be black, but for the stars.

The fireworks I expected to see aren't anywhere to be found. In a way the peace is much more appealing even if it isn't as flashy as 'bombs bursting in air'. These stars above are more amazing than any fireworks I've seen. I feel very small under a sky like this.

[Later that night]

The mice set a siege against me. They are the biggest mice I have ever seen. Big and white with brown backs. I tried to kill one with my shoe, but then I saw others. I carried my bag and mat far away. I can hear there squeaky chirps ringing out their success. I hope they don't come to where I am now. I am tired.

The Mice were THIS big.

My alter-ego and Mount Rainier.

Mount Saint Helens and the 4th of July haze on fire.

Two different sunset shots both of Mount Rainier.

July 5, 2007 Morning

It is getting warm quick so I'm going to get going as soon as I can. Rainier again looks nice. I nearly detoured in that direction on my drive here. I'm glad I didn't. There's no one in sight here. You can't beat that!

Mount Adams with the North Ridge to the Left and the NFNWR to the Right.

Showy Polemonium, Short Jacob's Ladder tucked away near talus.


I found water in the midst of 3 goats and butterflies surging up the mountain in groups of 1-10 [there were thousands]. I was happy to find clean water flowing on top of the ice. Right now I am more than midway up the ridge near 10k. The goats appeared to have stopped just above me. They seem wary of my ski-endowed pack. One even [accidentally I'm sure] knocked a rock down. I don't blame him. This is their home and even having grown up here they still can't climb this choss pile of a route without something coming down. Nonetheless, it appears they have found the shade they were looking for.

A self portrait somewhere on the North Ridge.


I just dropped off the West Summit along the NW Ridge in search of the Pinnacle Glacier HW. The snow feels really good but is very bad in places too.


I'm at the bottom of the Pinnacle Glacier [and West Ridge]. What a fun route! About 15 goats [whom I would later meet again] are just above me. I had to climb up and around a rock rib to get to a snow fin that avoids a massive break in skiable terrain. I can't have that. The amount of rockfall around me is insane. Time to get out of here.

[Even later]

That'd be 18 goats! Appears I may have taken the long way. After a nap I wake up to the entire herd coming down on me and let me tell you, what a sight to see them acting as if I wasn't there [wow]? It wasn't until they were right down on the water that the big male saw me. He established his dominance and I very quickly leapt across the iced over head of a tarn. It was a fright. I had nowhere to go. I wanted to run and I wanted to stay. My hope was that they wouldn't see me. Ha. That's not likely. Still a wonderful experience that I will never forget.

Getting from the end of the snows on the Pinnacle and back around is proving to be more work than I thought. I'm in a nice place now below the Adams Glacier. If I were above just below the NFNWR I'd be back at camp lickedy split but I'm not, so I enjoy my detour. Anyhow, I'm in no hurry to battle mice again.



Looking down my ski route on great snow!

My Route in Red and the Pinnacle HW in Blue. The West Ridge in on the Right.

My Descent route with the Pinnacle HW to the Left and the West Ridge to the Right.

Goats resting in a literal mine-field.

The NW Ridge on the Far Right and the Adams Glacier in the Middle.

Awakened from my nap to goats.

I think the guy in front was giving me the eye here. He offered a little more a short-time later.

This was so cool! The highlight of my trip watching 18 goat walk by.

Off they go.

The Adams Glacier.


The sunset was really nice tonight. A lot of pollution from the fireworks helped I'm sure. I have to head back to my car tomorrow, but first I have to get some skiing in. I'm hoping to ski the NW Ridge [in the morning].

A different shade of Polemonium?

The Red Alpenglow was amazing!

White Flowers that I'd love for someone to tell me the name of plus Sub-Alpine Lupine.

A Black and White shot of the same flowers as above. I really like this photo.

I couldn't find this flower's name either.

A Self Portrait and Rainier at Sunset.

The edge of the ice aglow.

Another view of Rainier.

It was quite a feeling watching this sunset from the ice.

Sunset shots from the ice on Lake 7400-ft.

July 6, 2007 Near Noon

I am near the West Summit. In 10 minutes I'll be skiing down. It is colder today and windier so I hope conditions are still favorable. The wind just stopped. Wow. This is great. I see no one up here and haven't seen anyone since the summit cap yesterday. Well I should get going.

My Route along the NW Ridge marked in Red.


I just got schooled. My fingers are bloody and my ego is bruised. Yesterday I lost my crampons. I know, I can't believe it either. I left them during a break, but that's no excuse, you should never ski a route like this without pons! I assumed that conditions would be good enough and up high they were, but soon they changed to ice which busted into loose granules of snow whenever I kicked into it. In places it was so hard it wouldn't even hold my whippets. I persistently worried my edges would slip out [since I was committed and NOT to an institution, I had to ski down since I couldn't climb up without pons. This one way journey was quite a mind game for a time]. Beyond the upper mountain there was better snow but ice rivulets continued to throw a wrench in my confidence. Still, good turns were had in places albeit slow turns. The schrund was passed by following climbers tracks. It was a lot easier to cross than it appeared at first glance.

There is no rocks were I am at. Nonetheless, I'm on the Adams beneath the NFNWR and you never know when the next big ones coming.

My hands after scary side-stepping and at the bottom of the route looking over the final schrund.

You can see my tracks in the first photo. I was able to thread a ski route all of the way down. The next shot is of Adams on my way out.

[In summation]

Well, no big one came down on me. I was able to return to camp and get home well before dark. This was an amazing trip for me, much more than I can put into words. Most trips are, aren't they? Words aren't always as visceral as photographs, so my hope is that at least, for this story, they tell some of it my words can't.

Thanks for reading!

~Jason Hummel

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