Summit of Mt. Adams

Atop the summit of Washington's Mt. Adams on July 9, 1996 are three of the four Muir brothers. From left to right are Mack (me), Robert, and John Muir (who else?). We climbed via the Mazama Glacier after spending a night at Sunrise Camp. The route is very straight-forward and uncrowded with few real hazards. We did have a fun time dodging a boulder that came flying down the slope toward us -- but hey, that just helped keep our heart rate up!! Visible in the left of the frame is Mt. Hood, the site of our previous week's play, but more about that later, right now I'd like to tell you a little more of our Mt. Adams climb.

Mt. Adams via Sunrise Camp and the Mazama Glacier
sun-burned John We arrived at Cold Springs campground on July 7 around 7 pm , quickly laid out our gear for the the next day's hike-in and hit the sack. John is a true redhead and burned severely on Mt Hood. I jokingly offered my handkerchief but he took it -- he wasn't going to trust his face to just sunscreen.
At 8am on July 8 we left expecting to arrive at camp in the early afternoon but the past winter's heavy snowfall soon killed that hope. After an hour delay looking for the Round-the-Mountain trail we decided to use map and compass and head straight for Sunrise Camp. The direct route had one drawback; we had to cross several ridges with the resulting "demoralizing" loss of altitude. There was not even a hint of breeze and the sun was relentless. What should have been a 4-5 hour hike became a 10 hour trudge. John on dirty snow
aproaching Sunrise camp We arrived at Sunrise camp totally exhausted at around 6 pm. The weather was a dream thoughout and the views were worth the trip. The ground was level and dry and the glacier provided us with fresh, great-tasting water. We set up the tent, ate dinner, and had no trouble falling asleep. Sunrise camp
Klickitat Glacier Looking down to the Klickitat Glacier 
The beginning of the next day's climb
Mazama glacier
We realized that to hike out the way we had come in was impractical so it was decided to make the climb with full packs, cache them somewhere before the final summit climb, and come down via the main South side route. That was the plan but we each felt that when we reached the South side route we would be too exhausted, give up and go directly down. None of us voiced our feelings but we all felt ready to give up on the summit.
Bob on Mazama Glacier The next day (July 9) we over-slept and didn't get started until 5:59 am. Just as we left camp we were visited by a wonderful sight -- a lone mountain goat (you'll have to take my word for it; he was too fast for my camera). Again the weather was beautiful and the sky was perfectly clear.
The route was a nice one with only a few moderate slopes (45-50 degrees), few crevasses, and minimal rockfall danger. Minimal IF you start out on time, which we hadn't. Not far beyond where this picture was taken we were surprised by a rock coming straight toward us down the slope. It was probably half a meter in diameter and was moving incredibly fast. Several times it changed course and finally veered off about 30 meters above us. John and Bob
Bob and John We arrived at a suitable cache site below Pikers Peak (the false summit) at around 10 am and renewed our strength with a rest and leisurely lunch of bagels and sardines. After lightening our packs (boy that felt good) we joined the South Route crowd and headed on up.
At 2 pm we reached the summit.  

The weather was still unbelievably clear providing great views of Hood, Rainier,

John and Bob on summit
Mack and John on summit and St. Helens
glissading The long, easy, "glissadable" slopes, turned the descent into the most FUN part of the climb. Several other climbers had summited much earlier and the tracks from their sitting glissades provided for some NIFTY thousand-foot slides!!!
hike out The long walk home...

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Proud to be an American!
Mack Muir