MOUNT ADAMS-July 1, 2006 South Route
Story By CHRISTY KINNEY Photos By Jason Hummel

Pinacle Glacier Headwall and the Southwest Chutes.

The south side of Adams is perfect for beginners. Since Christy is one of those, she put together a fantastic Trip Report. This is her first summit ski descent, and 4th ski ever. Way to put forth the effort!

Thanks for the story too Christy. Congrats to my neice also. Eight years old, and pushed it to the summit from the car. Way to go!

Jason Hummel...

Hummel Brothers' Boot Camp started early on Saturday morning. I had set my handy-dandy cell phone alarm for 6:45 am. After pulling a near all-nighter driving to Trout Lake, we awake anticipating our climb of Mt Adams. Jason, Josh, and I fumble for our clothes and packs, while 8 year old Chelsea is bouncing around the campsite. She is wide awake and super excited. I wonder how to tap into that enthusiasm as we pile into the car. It's the usual set‑up; Christy driving and Jason navigating. We are hoping to reach the parking lot by 8am. A few wrong turns later and we find ourselves bouncing over some gnarly gravel road, traversing through the Yakima Indian reservation, and at the end of a closed off road. "Jason, where the hell are we???" After backtracking, we realize that we had missed a crucial turn. Somehow we failed to see a rather large sign that reads 'South Climb' this way. Oops! We reach the parking lot around 9ish and begin our adventure for the day.

What is it with the Hummel family? They are all kick-ass climbers! Hummel Boot Camp must start at age 8! It seems like I have some catching up to do. Eight year old Chelsea, sporting her brand new boots, begins the day in grand Hummel style. She scampers along, calling out names of plants and insects from memory, wondering, 'Is it time to ski yet?'

We pass numerous other climbers; some who have camped out along the lower mountain. We stop in the shade for a snack and pose for some photos. Looking out over the snow field, I notice strategically placed pyramids of rock. 'What's up with the Blair Witch Project?' I ask. They must be trail markers of some kind. (Stop laughing. I'm new at this). We continue further up the mountain, taking little naps in the sun every hour or so. Chelsea is not really enjoying the hike at this point. She'd much rather be skiing down than going up. I am sweating up a storm, periodically wiping sweat and sunscreen out of my eyes. I must note here that neither Josh nor Jason have even broken a sweat yet. This is a walk in the park for them! Surely, they must be amused though, as they continue to crack jokes and make the blistering, heat‑soaked hike incredibly fun. We continue up past Lunch Counter, chatting with other climbers. At some point (break # 15), I start to get a headache. Is it from altitude? From not sleeping much? From laughing too hard?? Jessy gives me some Tylenol and all is good again. ? We eventually reach the False Summit, Chelsea hanging onto the back of Josh's pack. We are making much better time now! At the top of the False Summit, we can see that there isn't much further to go. The wind is howling and we begin to put on warmer clothes. Jason and I decide to pull our skis out and put on our skins. There are three other climbers who have joined us, all amazed at how strong 8 year old Chelsea is! (In fact, later that evening, we pass people in the parking lot who incredulously ask us, "Is that the 8 year old girl who climbed the mountain?") Chelsea would much rather be skiing, though. It takes some encouragement (i.e. promises of huckleberry milkshakes and $5 bills) to get her up much further. But she does it! She tackles that summit and smiles wide for the camera! What a trooper! Now comes the best part! She eagerly puts on her skis and races off the summit.

We are all tired at this point and the ski is what we worked for. This is my fourth ski and I am always a little apprehensive at the beginning. I smile nervously for the camera and begin my long ski/tumble down the mountain.

Now this may look like uncontrolled flailing to the untrained eye, but I must tell you that this was actually a series of intricately planned acrobatic maneuvers. I could have taken the easy way out (by leaping onto the nearest glissade chute), but no.I decide to hold the whole party up for a good hour as I attempt to creep along/ somersault down from the False Summit. And I thought the climbing was hard work! At one point, I lay back against the slope utterly exhausted. Jason is still full of encouragement, teaching me how to keep my elbows in, knees bent, weight forward. All I can think about is how huckleberry milkshakes and $5 bills might not be enough incentive at this point. I look down the slope and Chelsea, Jessy, and Josh are long gone. Jason is still waiting for me, smiling and telling me how good I'm doing. I get back up on my feet and continue down. The sun is setting and the shadows are getting longer. The soft, slushy snow from the afternoon is getting harder and icier. This skiing business is harder than it looks! The snow begins to disappear the closer we get to the parking lot, and I discover that I really enjoy skiing between the trees. I almost took a long nose‑dive at one point when the snow gave way to dirt. I recovered from this fairly quickly and timidly laughed it off as intentional (who am I kidding anyway?). Finally we reach the car! I was careful about not backing the car into anyone or anything as I roll it down the embankment that I had precariously parked on top of. Someone took my keys away after that and I curled up in the backseat with Chelsea on my lap.

Needless to say, there were no huckleberry milkshakes that evening. We make it back to our camp, greeted by a smooshed cherry pie (it was a beautiful creation when I packed it the day before), and a yummy lasagna, which seemed like heaven on a plate. Josh, Jason, and I crawl into the tent, nestled deep into our lofty down sleeping bags and drift off to a well-earned sleep.

I awake to Jason poking and prodding me awake. "Time to get up!!" he chirps. I absentmindedly swat at him, pulling the sleeping bag further over my head. "What time is it??" It's 6:20am. I tell Jason to go back to sleep. But he is wide awake. He tumbles out of the tent. It is hot in the tent. I am sweating. I throw one leg out of my sleeping bag and pretend I don't hear Jason whistling (I am kidding here. He wasn't really whistling, but he could've been). This is going to be a fun day! We are going white water rafting with Dad Hummel. We load all our gear into the back of the Excursion, pile into the ginormous back seat and chat about our climb the day before. I survey my injuries; a few big bruises and that's about it. Not too bad!! We pull into the parking lot and begin to sort our gear. Dad Hummel is working on filling the raft and the rest of us go through wet suits and life jackets. I was given the job of using the foot pump to finish off inflating the raft at each valve. It is another hot day, and that foot pump is more work than I initially realized. A rafting party near‑by offers us the use of their kick-ass, fancy hand pump. Jason takes over and begins topping off each valve. We are all impressed with the efficiency of this fancy pump! Dad Hummel has barely enough time to agree that he should get one of his own, when POP!!...we all jump about a foot in the air. That fancy pump worked a bit too well¼we blew up the middle seat and it flattened out almost immediately. No one spoke for a full minute; we were all too stunned to say anything. I bit my lip hard, desperately trying not to laugh. Quietly, we returned the fancy pump to the astonished party near-by.

We haul the raft down to the river's edge and climb inside. The river was beautiful! I squealed most of the way through the rapids (oops, Should I be paddling here?), thoroughly enjoying every minute of it. Half way down the river, we pull over for some bridge jumping. Jessy does a couple of back flips, and I debate on whether or not to do a dive. It's been years since I've been diving and I don't really trust myself at that height anymore. So I jump in feet first. Jason decides to do a front flip, and overdoes it a little. Ouch! His ribs are a bit sore the rest of the weekend. At the end of our float, we take breaks lounging on the raft. All is quiet, relaxing, and serene until I am pushed over the side. Then everyone begins pushing each other off the raft. No sooner are we each pulled back in, we are then thrown right back out. This is all fun and games until I am dragged over a submerged log. Ouch. Why not add another bruise to the collection??

The rafting trip is over and we pull the raft ashore. Bayhoe and Chelsea are there waiting for us. Chelsea has some very important bugs to show me. It is the end of another perfect day.

Later that evening, after a dinner of hot dogs and chips with cheese dip, we decide to go cave exploring. There are a dozen of us, or so, and we eagerly don our headlamps as we venture into the cool blackness. It is surprisingly chilly in the cave and eerily quiet. We carefully inch our way further until the ceiling begins to drop. At this point, we must crawl on our stomachs to go any further. All the kids have already gone through. There is some discussion about who is going to go any further. Jason and I decide to follow Josh through. We can hear him up ahead, but I am not too excited about crawling on my stomach over sharp rocks, but what the hell, its fun, right?? Eventually, the cave opens back up and we can walk upright again. I am sure that there are blood-sucking bats with beady little eyes watching our every move. As it turns out, the only thing we find is a dead rat. Still equally nasty.

The shadows from our headlamps cast long shadows down the cave walls. Our voices echo and our footsteps crunch on hard rock. Josh and Jason have a great idea! Let's turn OFF our headlamps and see how far we can get without running into anything. Sure! This sounds fun! We're walking along, and I'm chatting about god-knows-what when I am suddenly grabbed. I scream long and loud, certain that those bats have found me after all. To my ultimate relief, I discover that it was just another Hummel antic. I must be an easy target or something. So NOT funny to be grabbed in a dark, rancid cave.

Caving is over and we head back to camp. Jason’s grand plan is to climb Mt. Rainier the next day. Fairly ambitious, no?? Somehow, I talk them into going windsurfing in Hood River instead. I 'pinky promise' them it will be fun! Later that night, we join the caving party around the campfire and play a memory game. It goes like this - one person starts the game by saying, "I'm going camping and I am going to bring a." You have to remember what everyone has said previously and in the correct order before being kicked out of the game. This lasts for hours, and Josh and I continue to play it by ourselves long after everyone else has gone to bed. Jason wants the game to end so he can continue planning the rest of the weekend. He is the Master Planner after all!

I awake the next morning to Jason poking and prodding me awake. I swat at him and try to pretend I am invisible. "Time to get up!" he chirps "Let's go get breakfast!" Josh and I continue to sleep and Jason begins to re-pack the car. I forget to mention that the exquisite cherry pie I had made (sadly, smooshed) had exploded in the back of my car, leaving a cherry residue over much of everything.

We enjoy a heavenly breakfast, complete with huckleberry pancakes and real maple syrup. YUMMY!! The car is packed and we begin our drive to Hood River. It is already a gorgeous day; our windows are rolled down; the sunroof is open and good music is streaming through the speakers. Jason is pouring over the map as I continue to speed, squealing with delight, around sharp corners and steep gradients. It wouldn't be Hummel style to not backtrack a bit, right? We take a wrong turn in the small town of White Salmon, searching for the elusive draw bridge connecting us to Hood River. Wrong turn remedied, we find ourselves gazing at a windy stretch of the Columbia River, dotted with the insect‑like wings of a sea of windsurfers. They glide along the surface, weaving in between each other and racing across the surface. Their traverse is broken only by the occasional kite surfer, whose sail stretches high into the clear sky. Josh is the first to speak, "We're going to kill ourselves out there!"

We find ourselves at a small, run-down surf shop on the edge of town. The woman behind the counter chuckles as she confides to us that she has no idea what she is doing. She doesn't windsurf herself and is really just there because she needs the job. I can sympathize with that and begin ask her about rentals. "Oh, Ernest would be the one to talk to about that. He should be back in -.oh, I don't know. 5 minutes? Can you wait?"

And this is how we met Ernest1. Ernest enters the makeshift surf shop with floppy, sun-bleached blond hair. His futile attempts at directing his staff are somewhat comedic. I can almost imagine Ernest as the commander of a small army, one that doesn't pay much attention to him, but is nonetheless bemused by his efforts.

"You need boards, right? I might have something for you down on the beach somewhere..." His voice trails off as he shuffles around the store, commenting on the craziness of the day, acknowledging the growing group of people waiting to be helped, but failing to really help anyone. We step outside, lie down in the grass and gaze up at the clouds. Five minutes turns into an hour before I venture back into the store and ask Ernest if those rental boards are ready. "Oh, yeah! The boards are down at the beach. I'll be ready to go here in about 5 minutes! You can just follow me in the van - Oh, hello? You still there?" he asks into the phone. "You need a rental for tomorrow? I might have something for you.." Sighing, I turn around and rejoin the Hummel brothers napping on the grass.

Thirty minutes later, Ernest steps out into the sunshine, motioning us over. "OK, dudes! Follow me to the beach and we'll get you all set up!" Josh, Jason, and I pile into the car where we proceed to follow Ernest in the van about a mile to the beach. A mile!! Ernest jumps out of the van, helps us assemble three boards with sails and waves good-bye as he peels away. Jeezus! We could have done this ourselves! I quickly go over some of the parts of the windsurfer with Josh and Jason, but in true Hummel fashion, they just want to haul the boards down to the water and learn it for themselves.

The wind is good today! Too bad we're stuck in these damn buoys. Our boards get tangled in the fixed buoy line and Jason repeatedly has to swim the board back to shore. I have never heard him swear so much!

I am sick of the buoys, so I escape them. The open water is much more fun and exciting! I beg Josh and Jason to join me beyond the buoy line, but they express some concern about not being able to get back. Ernest charges a $25 rescue fee via Jet Ski if we are to get ourselves stranded. "Who would rescue Ernest," I wonder? So we spend the rest of the day within the fixed buoy line. By the end of the day, both Josh and Jason are turning! How impressive! It took me a long time to figure out how to turn and they got it down in one day. But they are Hummel's, after all!

After our windsurfing adventure, we head toward the Lewis River before nightfall. We set up camp, change clothes and decide to go explore the river. Josh and Jason want to show me a waterfall. It is incredible! Water is pouring over the rock in huge quantities, splitting into smaller falls that tumble down into roaring rapids below. (Well, maybe it's not that big but it was big to me.) Jason gives me a sober talk on careful footing. "You will DIE here if you're not careful." He says. I immediately grip Josh's outreached hand as we cross the river above the water fall. I take one tentative step and fall. I am falling!!! I cannot even believe it! All I think about is Jason telling me, mere moments before, that I will face certain death if I lose my footing. I am still hanging onto Josh, who is pulling me back out of the hole that I had slipped into. Thank God. My heart is pounding, and I slowly release the death grip I have on Josh's hand. Wow. I could have been much more intimate with that waterfall than I wanted to be.

We lie down on the river's edge and gaze up at the stars. Somewhere out in the distance, we see the faint flicker of fireworks. "Oh, isn't that pretty?" I exclaim dreamily. The fireworks are gaining momentum as the night gets darker.

We decide to head back to camp. It has been a long day! We ditch our tennis shoes and jackets and crawl inside the tent. Nestled down inside our down sleeping bags, we watch as the firework display begins to brighten the entire sky. It is Jason who first realizes that these aren't fireworks. "I think a storm is coming." He says. At that moment, the sky flickers and cracking thunder rips across the sky. "Holy shit! That was AWESOME!" I yell. The sky brightens again and thunder cracks around us. Jason calmly mentions that we may need to find the rain fly soon. Yet, wouldn't a dry lightening storm be cool??? I am mesmerized by the glowing sky and the deafening crack of thunder. "I think we need the rain fly, like NOW!!!" Jason says as large raindrops begin to fall. We bail out of the tent, scampering blindly around camp looking for our headlamps. Where is the rain fly??? Is it in the tent? In the car? Shit! I can't remember! One of the twins finds it, and we quickly pull it over the tent. We crawl back inside; laughing at how dumb we are, when all of a sudden¼CRACK...the loudest thunder I have ever heard shakes the ground beneath us. Strobing lightening fills the sky and all else is ominously quiet. All three of us scream, and I jump about a foot in the air. No one slept much that night.

That next morning, with baggy eyes, we pack up camp and begin our journey home. I cannot believe the weekend we've had! It has been perfect, like a dream that you never want to end. But it isn’t over yet!

Chris and Sherry have invited us to join them on their sailboat to watch the fireworks on Commencement Bay in Tacoma. This sounds like a fabulous idea! Sadly, Chris calls us later to tell us that the sailboat is out of commission (something about a dead propeller?). But, he'll pick us up on shore in the Zodiak and we can watch the fireworks from the docked sailboat. I silently wonder, "What the hell is a Zodiak??" But Josh and Jason seem to have it all under control, so I don't ask and I heartily agree to the plan.

Josh and Jason and I park the car and walk a short way to the edge of the bay. We call Chris and tell him where to pick us up. To pass the time, Jason and I throw rocks, trying to hit various targets in the water. I had mentioned to Jason previously that my hand‑eye coordination SUCKED, but I don't think he believed me. He does now.

Chris comes barreling through the channel, his red Navy-seal-like boat almost flying towards us. The nose of the Zodiak is almost perpendicular to the water. He pulls up close to us and we crawl in. "You better hang onto something! This baby can really fly." Terrified, I take the seat in front of Chris and grip the roped handle to my left. Josh and Jason are sitting on the floor in front of me. Chris chuckles once more as he punches the gas. "With two people, you'd be amazed at how fast this thing can go!!!" He yells over the wind and the deafening motor. I nod my head in near-paralyzed agreement. I can only begin to imagine. My white‑knuckled grip gets a little tighter. The Zodiak is small, and Josh and Jason are tightly wedged together on the floor. Chris laughs out loud at every crashing wake and Josh winces as he slams into the floor each time. Who cares about bruises while skiing and windsurfing? Boat rides with Chris are much more exhilarating!

We pull into the slip, and limp out of the Zodiak to join Sherry on the sailboat. We play games, eat soup, and drink sodas before deciding to ALL climb into the Zodiak (what's one more person?) and venture out into the bay. Sure! This sounds like fun! We find a nice, clear spot on the water to watch the fireworks. Josh, Jason, and I are all snuggled together on the floor. All you could see of us were out feet poking over the nose of the Zodiak. But, oddly, it was comfortable. (Maybe because I couldn't feel my right arm anymore? Numbness does wonders for comfort) The fireworks were incredible. Jason got some great, artistic photos. (Jason on drugs, perhaps?)

After the fireworks, Chris drove us back to the car. Unbelievably, someone had an eye open and was able to drive home. I fell asleep before the car door even closed.

As I drifted off to sleep that night, I smiled, reliving the highlights of our weekend. In no other time could we be as content to drive so carefree, wherever the wind might take us. We harnessed that wind (or attempted to!), we ventured over waterfalls, through caves, rafted over rapids, and skied off the summit of a volcano. We survived thunderstorms, a speeding Zodiak, and eventually found ourselves back where we started; ready to share our adventure and build real, long-lasting friendships. What will we do next weekend? Oh, I don't know. Maybe we’ll take it easy, relax and enjoy the sunshine.

Hey, wanna go skydiving???


1 This is not his real name. I would hate for Ernest to find this someday, track me down and then run me over.

An old tree.

Chelsea climbing on a weathered tree.

Resting at the top of Piker's Peak.

From left to right, Jessy and his daughter (my brother and niece), Josh and Christy.

My friend, Christy and I on the summit of Mount Adams.

Father and daughter on the summit.

Christy on the summit of Adams.

Ski extreme.

See, you didn't wreck on every turn. You made this one.

Mountain Shadow.


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