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
||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.
||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.
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.
||Looking down to the Klickitat Glacier
The beginning of the next day's climb
||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
|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.
||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
||and St. Helens
||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
||The long walk home...