The North Ridge of Mt. Adams

July 1996

Once again, Way Too High Climber Bruce Kolpack teamed up with The Vulgarians, Terry Mataya, Mitch Hungate, Ron Husa. We met at 5 AM Saturday morning July 20th. The drive to Adams was not very inspiring due to the occasional rainfall, but the farther south we got, the better the weather got.

The hike in was fairly long (6.5 miles I think) but with only 2200' elevation gain. We got to high camp (6900') in 2 hours 15 min. There we met up with two other Vulgarians, Brian and Chuck, who came in the night before. The mountain was socked in until about 6 PM when everything cleared, and remained clear for the rest of the weekend.

We got up at 1:30 AM and started climbing at 3. The hike up to the ridge was quite long. It took us about 1 1/2 hours to reach the actual ridge crest at about 8500'. By the time we reached the 9000' gendarmes (the only tricky section) we had plenty of light. We got to the top of ridge in good time, then had a gentle walk of a mile (literally) to the summit. Summited at 10 AM. 5300 feet in 7 hours.

With the exception of a solo climber, we were the only party on the route. There was a 3 man team on the Adams Glacier. It looked really steep and broken up. They were about half way up when we were descending the ridge. That was it. Only us, the Adams Glacier team, and the solo climber on the entire North side of the mountain.

The thing about the North Ridge is the distance that must be covered in addition to the massive altitude gain. Technically no big deal. A lot of rock scrambling. Some exposure. Back to camp at 2 PM. Car at 5. Home at 9.

There are places to camp higher up that would cut down on some the distance and altitude gain on summit day. In terms of difficulty, I would rate it on par with the Muir and Shurman routes on Rainier. All in all, a very satisfying climb and a lot of work.