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 Post subject: Mt. Adams Summit first weekend of October: viable? Or crazy?
 Post Posted: September 16th, 2017, 9:12 am 
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Joined: January 26th, 2016, 8:28 am
Posts: 60
Location: Eugene, Oregon
Hi All:

A friend is flying out from St. Louis and we're doing a long weekend backpack the first weekend of October (Oct 5-8). I'm wondering about summiting Mt. Adams via the South Spur route. I realize it's obviously weather dependent—but wondering (in a general sense) if doing it in early October is reasonable? Or is it pretty much always storming/snowing/socked-in with clouds by then?

Last year I climbed the South Sister in mid-October. (It was windy as hell at the top, and the final 1500' or so was all on snow, but it was totally doable.) We're both in good shape, and would almost certainly do it as a 2-day climb (heading for the Lunch Counter the first day and camp—unless there are gale force winds blowing there, in which case we probably shouldn't be trying it, LOL).

Any info based on previous years' experience in October is much appreciated!

I'm also wondering (in early October) if it's a mandatory crampons-and-ice-axe climb? Or a microspikes-and-trekking-poles climb?

Thanks!
Scott in Eugene


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 Post subject: Re: Mt. Adams Summit first weekend of October: viable? Or cr
 Post Posted: September 16th, 2017, 9:39 am 
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Joined: May 31st, 2011, 7:46 pm
Posts: 155
Location: Chehalem Mountain
I know you specifically asked for opinions from folks who have done this in October. I haven't but I've done similar in October so I'll offer mine anyway...

I think it's very viable - dependent, as you say, on weather conditions. Some years October is dry and mellow, other years it is raging in the alpine so you will just have to wait and see. In general, October can be a great time to travel in the alpine when the cold makes for solid conditions, but you usually don't have to contend with deep snow. I would absolutely take an ice axe because you are likely to be climbing on rock hard snow and a slip could send you sliding a long long way. Also, if you are in good shape, as you say you are, I would do this as a day trip unless you really want an overnighter and a more relaxed pace. Go prepared to travel and navigate in hostile weather, but I think you know that.


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 Post subject: Re: Mt. Adams Summit first weekend of October: viable? Or cr
 Post Posted: September 16th, 2017, 9:58 am 
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Joined: January 26th, 2016, 8:28 am
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Location: Eugene, Oregon
Thanks pcg. And don't worry that I'll interpret your comments as "It's all clear! Easy-peasy!" ;-) I realize "good shape" is entirely relative. I'm under no illusions and know that climbing Adams would kick my butt. But I'm confident with careful planning, awareness of weather, etc. we can do it.

I see that the trail to the summit is 5.7 miles and climbs 6,676'. A thousand feet per mile for 6 miles? No problem. ;-) A little more research shows me that this climb is basically the South Sister, but twice in a row! :o (From Moraine Lake to the summit, the South Sister is around a thousand feet per mile...but only for about 3 miles.)

I *think* we can do it. :D Weather permitting, it would be fun to try. I've never been the kind of idiot who pushes on into serious peril if I'm whipped below the summit. I don't believe there's any shame in quitting.

Scott


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 Post subject: Re: Mt. Adams Summit first weekend of October: viable? Or cr
 Post Posted: September 17th, 2017, 7:27 am 
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Joined: November 8th, 2014, 8:41 pm
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I love early October! Weather can be great, if you're lucky.
I'd be inclined to carry ice axe and crampons. Even if not necessary for safety, they can make travel so much faster and easier that the net benefit of the extra weight is in your favor. Or if you don't have summit lust you can try without, and then if you fail you'll have extra time for fun exploring.

I once decided to camp on the summit on a warm August weekend, just for fun. At pikers, I jettisoned the overnight gear because it was getting cool/breezy. On the summit, early afternoon I think, it was 28F and windy! :shock: Ended up camping at Crescent Glacier. Can't imagine the suffering I would have endured on the summit. Anyway, point is, even on a sunny day Adams can kick your butt from a weather perspective.

Looking forward to your trip report.


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 Post subject: Re: Mt. Adams Summit first weekend of October: viable? Or cr
 Post Posted: September 17th, 2017, 5:06 pm 
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Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm
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Location: The Dalles, OR
Are there any breaks in the snow slope? I've heard that being forced onto the volcanic junk if the snow is gone is more miserable than dangerous.

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 Post subject: Re: Mt. Adams Summit first weekend of October: viable? Or cr
 Post Posted: September 17th, 2017, 9:22 pm 
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Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm
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Location: Portland, OR
in 2010 a group of PCT'ers we knew from 2007 AT thru hiking finished the trail and came and stayed with us for a week in Portland, mid October.

Here's a link to an album of pics from that day (October 16th) since this forum is not so img friendly.

it's a luck of the cards. But.. there aren't any fires there and likely won't be. The ones in indian heaven/gorge/etc should be smoldering if not out (hopefully)..

If it's snowing now, that's okay, it's still early. A 74 degree day and sun for a few days will melt some. It is unlikely there will be any snow preventing access to the trailhead. Possible, yes, just not likely.

https://imgur.com/a/Nnp8x

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 Post subject: Re: Mt. Adams Summit first weekend of October: viable? Or cr
 Post Posted: September 19th, 2017, 7:22 am 
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Joined: August 1st, 2011, 7:51 am
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Location: SW Portland
Mid-October could be like August, could be like December, could be something in-between. The last time I did it, it was August, and I decided not to take ax and crampons, but was glad I took steel-tipped poles. It snowed, snow softened on sun exposed slopes, then refroze overnight. I ended up chipping ice from the Lunch Counter up Suksdorf Ridge. Passed a couple of 20-somethings banging the ice layer off with rocks, Paleolithic-style, one (the follower) roundly cursing the other (the leader). I got to the summit 45 minutes ahead of them. As the day warmed up, I could stomp footholds. Could have saved some effort if I had started from camp a bit later in the day and let the sun do its work (or brought crampons!).


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