Adams: Glacier Lake via Adams Glacier

Discussions and Trip Reports for off-trail adventures and rediscovering lost trails
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Chip Down
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Adams: Glacier Lake via Adams Glacier

Post by Chip Down » October 16th, 2020, 10:02 pm

I spotted a neat looking lobe of Adams Glacier, with a pair of striking morains and a nice snout (although I later learned the snout was ordinary, it just looked special on the google image because of a dirty patch that looked like a nice big portal). I intended to ascend the canyon, or its left moraine, and then go visit Glacier Lake.

Hiked Divide Camp trail, which follows Adams Creek, to the PCT, and then continued up Adams Creek. I could see the creek, which had been winding through a broad outwash plain, was going to pass through a narrow pinch point. Beyond that, I entered a huge flat basin below Adams Glacier. Followed the creek until it went under ice.

With Adams Creek behind me, I turned my attention to the moraine to my left. I didn't even realize it was the southern moraine of my goal canyon. I wasn't even looking for it any more. Was having too much fun following the creek. But I should have known; the high end of this moraine had a little fish-hook spur, just like on my map/photos. I only noticed that later. I could see that little spur was the best way up, as it would give me great views of Adams Glacier. But once I got to the high end of the moraine, would I be able to safely descend it, or drop off the other side? If I started down, but failed at a knife-edge crest or a gendarme, I would have to ascend again and come down on my ascent route. I decided it was worth the risk.

The top did not disappoint. It was like Barrett Spur: ridge at my back, mountain face in front of me, a glacier below, wrapping around both sides. I dropped down to the glacier and headed over towards Glacier Lake. I wasn't able to see it from my high point, but memory and map gave me a pretty good idea where to look.

After visiting the lake, I considered revisiting the north ridge, but it looked like such a boring slog, I couldn't bring myself to do it.
Poked around a bit, exploring high points around the lake, and then headed over to my original-goal canyon, to descend the other (north) moraine.

Weather: My first cold-weather hike of the season. I wasn't expecting that. Last week it was still camping weather. But once I was in the sun, it was really nice. That took a while though, since I was on the NW side of the mountain.

Other parties: I saw some old footprints on the PCT. And when I was at the trailhead, I heard a car drive past. That's all. Not even any goats.
Attachments
0.jpg
The blue arrow is where I should have entered my goal canyon, but I forgot.
1.jpg
At my high point, trying to guess where Glacier Lake might be.
2.jpg
Ah, there it is.
3.jpg
4.jpg
Water level dropped, submerged rocks pushed through lowering ice.
5.jpg
I've crossed that huge open expanse of ice a few times. There are a few crevasses, but it's about as safe as glaciers come.
6.jpg
That's my descent moraine, so I'll get up on top and follow the crest down.
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Ugh, that's a long crumbly crest. Mostly it wasn't awful, just tricky in a few spots.
8.jpg
Basking in a meadow as I worked my way down to PCT.
9.jpg
A lake I spotted from above. Put it on my to-do list. Glad I did, charming spot.

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Don Nelsen
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Re: Adams: Glacier Lake via Adams Glacier

Post by Don Nelsen » October 17th, 2020, 5:50 pm

Chip, Looks like we had the same general idea on Thursday. I hiked the Riley Trail and then went north on the PCT. Here's where I turned around about 6/10 of a mile before the Divide Camp Trail jct. with the PCT. I was planning to do the Divide Camp Trail on Sunday but the weather doesn't look too good. I'll probably try later this coming week.

Here's where I turned around: Is that you I see on the ridge? :)
Image

Close up:
Image

Thursday was perfect for hiking on Adams. Here's hoping the rest of the fall has more weather like that!

dn
"Everything works in the planning stage".

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Chip Down
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Re: Adams: Glacier Lake via Adams Glacier

Post by Chip Down » October 17th, 2020, 8:04 pm

Don, small world!
I was considering Riley, but never saw it. As you know, it's a stealth trail with no sign or even a parking lot. Since I was undecided anyway, I continued to Divide. I was also thinking about going up Riley on Friday, but wasn't confident I'd find it.
Regarding weather: It was great, but damn cold on the PCT at dawn. By the time you got up there it must have been, what, about 3pm? ;)

pcg
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Re: Adams: Glacier Lake via Adams Glacier

Post by pcg » October 18th, 2020, 6:30 am

Chip Down wrote:
October 17th, 2020, 8:04 pm
it's a stealth trail with no sign or even a parking lot
No parking lot, but the trailhead is well-signed.

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Chip Down
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Re: Adams: Glacier Lake via Adams Glacier

Post by Chip Down » October 18th, 2020, 7:41 am

pcg wrote:
October 18th, 2020, 6:30 am
Chip Down wrote:
October 17th, 2020, 8:04 pm
it's a stealth trail with no sign or even a parking lot
No parking lot, but the trailhead is well-signed.
Once you're on the trail, yeah. But I only found it because of GPS. I actually wondered if the trail was a myth. My old FS map shows the trail descends from PCT to a dead end, never meets road.

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Don Nelsen
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Re: Adams: Glacier Lake via Adams Glacier

Post by Don Nelsen » October 18th, 2020, 9:21 am

I hiked the Riley trail in June of '05 and only found it because the guy I met to hike it with had arrived before me.

The turnout has recently been graveled and there is now room for three cars, maybe four. I blew right by it this time and had to turn around. Also, the maps are slightly off as to where it is, about 350' - not too bad, really.

I noted a couple of other trails leading off and explored a little last Thursday. One was signed as "Riley South TR # 64A", branching off to the south 1.2 miles up from the TH. The other trail was about 650' farther up and went to an ancient outhouse about 100' to the north of the main trail. The continuation of that trail wasn't obvious and it might have ended there, I didn't explore further. I can't find either on any of my maps. More to explore!

Image

Image
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Chip Down
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Re: Adams: Glacier Lake via Adams Glacier

Post by Chip Down » October 18th, 2020, 1:04 pm

Don, I like how you managed to turn my TR into a discussion of trails. Very sneaky. ;)
Payback for the off-topic headlamp thread? :lol:

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Don Nelsen
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Re: Adams: Glacier Lake via Adams Glacier

Post by Don Nelsen » October 18th, 2020, 2:18 pm

Chip Down wrote:
October 18th, 2020, 1:04 pm
Don, I like how you managed to turn my TR into a discussion of trails. Very sneaky. ;)
Payback for the off-topic headlamp thread? :lol:
We're even :D
"Everything works in the planning stage".

AlpenGlowHiker
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Re: Adams: Glacier Lake via Adams Glacier

Post by AlpenGlowHiker » October 19th, 2020, 9:52 am

#64A is a connector trail to the PCT.

https://caltopo.com/map.html#ll=46.2016 ... z=15&b=mbt

Don Nelsen wrote:
October 18th, 2020, 9:21 am
I hiked the Riley trail in June of '05 and only found it because the guy I met to hike it with had arrived before me.

The turnout has recently been graveled and there is now room for three cars, maybe four. I blew right by it this time and had to turn around. Also, the maps are slightly off as to where it is, about 350' - not too bad, really.

I noted a couple of other trails leading off and explored a little last Thursday. One was signed as "Riley South TR # 64A", branching off to the south 1.2 miles up from the TH. The other trail was about 650' farther up and went to an ancient outhouse about 100' to the north of the main trail. The continuation of that trail wasn't obvious and it might have ended there, I didn't explore further. I can't find either on any of my maps. More to explore!

Image

Image
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Don Nelsen
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Re: Adams: Glacier Lake via Adams Glacier

Post by Don Nelsen » October 20th, 2020, 12:38 pm

AlpenGlowHiker wrote:
October 19th, 2020, 9:52 am
#64A is a connector trail to the PCT.

https://caltopo.com/map.html#ll=46.2016 ... z=15&b=mbt

Thanks for the link! I see now what I've been doing wrong with Caltopo - I had the wrong map layer loaded.

-dn
"Everything works in the planning stage".

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