Mazama Glacier Lake (Iceberg Lake)

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drm
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Mazama Glacier Lake (Iceberg Lake)

Post by drm » September 22nd, 2021, 9:34 am

The Mazama Glacier is on the SE side of Mt Adams. The dayhike to this lake up high at the base of the glacier has been on my list for a long time. It's not that long, only about 3 miles one way, but a lot of uphill and an informal and indistinct route. The upper Bird Creek Meadow trailhead is at 5650', so you get a pretty high start. There is a $20 fee per car this season, and it is only open for the rest of September.

First snow of the season on Mt Adams, from the road. Snow started at about 7000 feet.
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The trail has mostly been closed to hikers in recent years due to the Cougar Creek Fire, but the Washington Trail Assoc has been scheduling visits anyway, like building this new bridge
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Still some green meadows in this very hot and dry year
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The view from Hellroaring Viewpoint
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From there, the route varied from decent trail to pretty indistinct, but there was an off-and-on tread all the way
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First snowprints for me this season
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The route goes up the right side of this valley, attains the ridge, and then I went up to the high point. There was an existing tread here and there
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You can sort of see the tread, and a small cairn, on the left side of the photo
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On the ridge - hey - where's my lake?
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I guess I'm going to have to go up there to see it
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Victory! The lake is at 7650', I am at 7825'. That notch above the right side of the lake is Sunrise Camp
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The summit doesn't look that far away, but it is 4500 feet highter than me
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Close viewing of the upper side of the lake shows that the Mazama Glacier really does still reach to the lake's edge, it is just covered by rubble
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Looking at my ridge from below - the valley is hidden, but the arrow shows where I attained the ridge, and then walked to the high point
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Down at Bird Creek Picnic Area - it has been 50 years since BCM was transferred to the Yakama Nation - how long before this is buried?
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This is the view from that picnic bench - a very nice spot for a picnic
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Down next to mirror Lake next to the road to relax a bit before heading home, and noticing that old water spigot now in the lake. Maybe the lake shifted after the fire?
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Last edited by drm on September 26th, 2021, 6:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Chip Down
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Re: Mazama Glacier Lake

Post by Chip Down » September 22nd, 2021, 7:28 pm

Close viewing of the upper side of the lake shows that the Mazama Glacier really does still reach to the lake's edge, it is just covered by rubble
On a warm sunny day, if you're patient, you'll see boulders melt out and drop into the lake. Why isn't the lake filled up with till? Glacier retreat could explain it, but we can see it couldn't have retreated far.

Incidentally, it's commonly referred to as Iceberg Lake, but I don't know if that's an official recognized name.

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bobcat
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Re: Mazama Glacier Lake

Post by bobcat » September 23rd, 2021, 7:56 am

Nice trip. Beautiful with the clear skies and dusting of snow.

They didn't open the campgrounds this year. If I go back there, for $20 I'd like to camp and spend a couple of days on all the trails.

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Chip Down
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Re: Mazama Glacier Lake

Post by Chip Down » September 23rd, 2021, 8:02 am

bobcat wrote:
September 23rd, 2021, 7:56 am
Nice trip. Beautiful with the clear skies and dusting of snow.

They didn't open the campgrounds this year. If I go back there, for $20 I'd like to camp and spend a couple of days on all the trails.
The frustration for me last year was having to limit the length of my day hikes, since they wanted visitors out by 5pm (?) each day. I remember hustling down a sketchy section of "trail" below that lake, and a hiker ahead of me was literally on hands and knees trying to safely descend, so I was forced to run past them a couple feet over :lol:

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drm
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Re: Mazama Glacier Lake

Post by drm » September 23rd, 2021, 9:27 am

I think that the camping prohibition was fire-related - they did not think that they could prevent people from having campfires, and day hikers don't have campfires. They said 7am - 7pm this year, but I would be nervous getting too close to the closing time.

I heard plenty of stuff falling into the lake when I was sitting there, but it just raises the lake level, it doesn't fill it. I suppose some day it could fill it to the point where it would just be a flat field, but the lower edge of the lake is presumably a moraine, and glacial debris doesn't usually build that much.

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Re: Mazama Glacier Lake (Iceberg Lake)

Post by Splintercat » October 8th, 2021, 5:19 pm

Nice report and really great photos, Dean! Thanks for posting!

-Tom :)

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