| Mount Adam‘s Group
Mt. Adams 13,931
Point 13,580 A
Total: ~12.9 Miles, ~7,500 Gain
June 24-25, 2009
After some foul weather at the beginning of the month, it was finally nice to get some higher peaks done. My wife and I left Denver at 8 AM and made the 3.5 hour drive to the South Crestone trailhead. When we arrived at the trailhead, the mosquitos were out of control so we were hiking almost immediately. The mosquitos remained ravenous even with large amounts of Deet applied until we climbed above 10,200 on the Willow Creek trail. We found a nice camping spot about 10 minutes short of Willow Lake.
While my wife slept in, I woke up at 4:00 AM and started my hike up towards Willow Lake. There were a lot more downed trees from what I remembered hiking the trial a few years ago. I arrived at Willow Lake and followed the trail ˝ way across the lake where I found a break in the Willows. I started heading north up the grassy slopes toward the basin at ~12,400 below Mt. Adams. There was a high overcast layer engulfing all of the peaks. I thought that perhaps the sun would help burn off some of those clouds.
From the southwest basin at 12,400 below Adams, I climbed grassy slopes, avoiding scree where I could, to the 13,546-Adams Saddle. I took a short break at the saddle and then climbed up the class 2 east ridge to 13,546. Great white views of clouds from the summit. As I started down, the clouds seemed to get thicker and when I arrived at the saddle, I was totally surrounded by clouds. Maybe the sun wasn't going to burn them off. I waited for about 20 minutes, almost turning back, when it appeared that the clouds were just a passing squall. I started my descent from the 13,546-Adams saddle heading northeast where I only descended about 200-300 feet, traversed a snow field, and made the short climb back up toward the 13,153-Adams saddle.
The clouds at this point looked like they were starting to clear up; however Adams was still completely surrounded. From the 13,153-Adams saddle, I hiked the class 2 southeast ridge to the summit where another break was at hand. After returning to the saddle I started my climb up the northwest ridge of Adams. I was quickly lost in the sauce once again. Roach rates the ridge at 2+, but I would consider it class 2. I climbed the summit block where the clouds were starting to burn off, not by the sun, but by rain. Finally I could see the Crestones and Kit Carson. I started my descent off the south ridge of Adams in the rain. I stayed on the ridge proper to avoid elevation loss, where a small cliff required a quick class 4 move to descend it. If I had descended further, the cliff could be bypassed by a class 2 or 3 move. From the Point 13,580-Adams saddle I hiked the class 2 talus ridge to the summit. It was still raining.
My plan was to climb point 13,541 as well, but when I started the traverse I encountered a very exposed notch at the 13,580-13,517 saddle. There didn't seem to be an easy way to bypass it. Since it was still raining and the rock was slick as snail snot, I decided to bail before I augured into the valley floor. The descent from that point wasn't easy and was continuous class 3 down climbing on slick rock towards Willow Lake. I took my time. When I arrived at Willow Lake the rain finally eased, but was still overcast. I arrived at my tent at 10:30 where I took a short break, broke camp and hiked out. Looks like I will enjoy another Willow Lake hike approach to catch 13,541, but it's worth it. Perhaps the sun will shine.
Sunrise over Little Horn before the clouds really came in.
Sunrise over 13541.
Adams for a brief moment. From the Adams-13,546 saddle.
Looking toward South Crestone Lake.
Point 13,153 from the Adams-13,546 saddle.
Summit of 13,153.
13,546 from 13,153.
13,153 from Adams as it clears.
13,546 from Adams.
13,580 and 13,541 from Adams.
Summit of 13,580.
Crestones from 13,580.
Class 3 down-climb.
Class 3 down-climb.
13541 from on the descent.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):