Mount Adams, Elevation 12,276ft
North Face of the Northwest Ridge, 45 degrees
June 27, 2003
The north face of Adams from High Camp. Our ski descent is in red and part of our climb is in green.
A short approach, relaxing climb, few people, good snow, consistent steeps, exposure and variety combine to make this the best steep ski in the state. My opinion may be somewhat biased but I've been around the block a time or two and amongst all my ventures, the north side of Adams takes precedence. If I had to ski a route every spring for the rest of my life this would be it. With four of the last four the expectations continued to grow.
Despite the low snow year, this past fifth was no let down. Jason and I skied the most exposed line yet on the best snow of the season. Bill Frans and his friend Sam Avaiusini unleashed the oracle a few weeks prior and we saw evidence of more recent tracks. We also spoke with a solo skier who intended to climb and ski the route in a day but were later told he bowed out due to firm snow and overcast skies.
I won't bore you with more details on its goodness because there is only one way of knowing. Take what you can from the photos and don't let another year go by without discovering for yourself.
Jason in the meadow below High Camp. This was our first rest after a leisurely start. We camped at the trailhead the previous night.
Jason at our camp above High Camp. We hurried to get to the summit but strenuous weather and snow conditions took their toll.
The Lava Headwall was looking pretty lousy compared with the previous year.
Jason on our favorite part of the climb.
Jason nearing the summit plateau. The NFNWR begins from the West Peak seen in the background and follows the horizon towards Saint Helens.
We didn't leave the summit until 3 or 4pm which allowed just enough baking time for the north-facing corn.
Jason threading the gap between the upper and lower face.
Jason skiing the lower face.
Jason near the exit to the Adams Glacier.
More superb turns on the Adams Glacier.
A look back. Our tracks were clearly visible but the photo doesn't do them justice.
We got back to camp around 6pm and spent the next few hours deciding what to do the following day. Click here for our conclucion.