Mt Adams Killen Creek - High Camp 8/8-10

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Mt Adams Killen Creek - High Camp 8/8-10

Post by ras_pdx » August 11th, 2019, 11:58 am

On the way to the glacial tarn
Did a 2 night backpack earlier this weekend up on the northwest corner of Mt Adams. We arrived at Killen Creek trailhead around noon, and hiked up to High Camp at 6900'. We saw two packers on the way down, and nobody at High Camp until around 8:30 when one other person arrived. The flowers at about PCT elevation were peaking, as were the upper meadows - quite a color show. The weather was great, so after setting up camp in a lovely campsite with views of the Adams Glacier, Rainier, Goat Rocks and St Helens, we headed up the snowfield to the tarn at 7500'. Back at camp we were treated to a gorgeous sunset. The mosquitoes were present, but not bad at any elevation, and there were hardly any black flies, much to our surprise.
Climbing up to High Camp
Climbing up to High Camp
Glacial Tarn
Sunset on Adams
Sunset and St Helens
On Friday, we explored the meadows around High Camp, and then descended (somewhat treacherously) down the Adams Creek drainage to the crossing at the PCT. We considered crossing sooner, but the creek was raging and it didn't seem safe. After crossing on logs we hiked south on the PCT for a couple of miles, then turned around to get across the creek before it rose too much more. There were some great flower meadows on the headwaters to the Lewis River. We hiked up a different drainage back to High Camp.
Adams Creek
Flower meadow at Lewis River headwaters
Mushroom Butt!
We could see (and hear) thunderstorms to the north, with one squall parked about 5 miles north of the mountain for what seemed like hours. We were feeling pretty lucky, with thunder all around us but clear skies above, until about 8:30, when our luck ran out. For the next 3+ hours, it rained buckets, with lightning in the general area and at times directly overhead (flash - boom! no counting of seconds, just like in the movies!). It was one of the most dramatic nights I've ever spent in a tent. Fortunately, my new REI quarter dome was up to the task.
Headed our way
We woke to mixed clouds and sun on Saturday, and decided to climb one of the ridges above High Camp. We finally saw a small herd of about 10 goats on a ridge across the way, after encountering hair, tracks and poop the past 2 days. At about 7700' we could see the clouds ascending out of the valleys below, and before long we were in whiteout. So we descended quickly, and decided that with more rain likely and views unlikely we would pack up camp and head out. On the way out, we dropped our packs at the junction and hiked north on the PCT, and had lunch at a falls on the creek that drains the snowfield just below where we had camped. With drizzle on and off during the afternoon we were happy to have ended a day early. Still a great trip.
Clouds ascending
Leaving camp
More beautiful meadows
Lunch spot

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Re: Mt Adams Killen Creek - High Camp 8/8-10

Post by keithcomess » August 11th, 2019, 1:11 pm

Very nice! Thanks for the report.

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Re: Mt Adams Killen Creek - High Camp 8/8-10

Post by drm » August 12th, 2019, 9:18 pm

So you were there for that downpour! It was absolutely torrential here in The Dalles and the radar showed it strong up there as well. Good that your tent held out for it.

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Re: Mt Adams Killen Creek - High Camp 8/8-10

Post by leiavoia » August 14th, 2019, 1:43 pm

i got caught in that same storm not far from there, in the Green River area over by St Helens. It was lightning every 5 seconds for about 2 hours. I've never seen so much lightning in one storm before. My flash-to-bang counting put the distance at about 1 mile away. Pretty intense! I had planned to get out to see meteor showers this weekend, but ended up settling for lightning show and cold fog. What a weird weekend.

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