Forum Index > Trip Reports > Around Mnt Adams 9/5.6.7/22
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flatsqwerl
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PostWed Sep 07, 2022 9:46 pm 
This was a bucket list trip for me. I got skunked in 2020 late in September after smoke came in big on the 2nd day and I had some wicked leg cramps. Thanks go to Kenji's report noting that rd23 was closed. First day started out crappy. Despite Kenji's help, I still spent an extra HOUR driving gravel roads..good grief. I Marked up a VERY old green trails map with Kenji's new info and it still wasn't enough. Sometimes its amazing I get anywhere in the mountains. So I get to Killen trailhead, ready for the 3 day clockwise event when I chat up a bloke in the parking lot fresh off the hill. He proceeds to tell me about the waist deep water crossing the Big Muddy and also, crossing the Rusk was a challenge. What was I getting myself into here....of COURSE I didn't bring water crossing shoes...and of COURSE I forgot a sun hat and was low on sunblock...I pushed on and got to the incredible camp below Goat Butte in reasonable time. The day was mercifully un-hot. I was pessimistic about the trip now after stewing over what I heard from the guy in the parking lot in regard to river crossing dramas. The camping is gorgeous beneath Goat Butte amongst the spring fed tarns and meadows. I watched herds of goat graze 500 feet below me in green pastures. Looking across the valley at the next days questionable route, I halfway resigned myself to staying put here at this camp and just exploring for a couple days instead of the ' big loop' around Adams. The second day dawns clear and beautiful. I am rested, coffeed and recharged with a new attitude: " lets just give it a try anyway ". So my plan was to take the high route traversing across Avalanche valley and lower Battlement ridge topping out at Sunrise camp and dropping down through Bird creek meadows. Its almost a trail-less route. I traversed straight across the mountain keeping close to 6,500 ft. Before I knew it I was hopping across Rusk creek without even getting my feet wet..onto the 'Big Muddy' next. Again, no issues at all. I crossed at the only braided section I saw. This was about 6400 ft right as it was exiting a thick blue dirt covered glacial mantel ( terminus of the Klickitat Glacier ). It was straight forward from there heading up 1800 ft below the Klickitat glacier through moraine, a dirt/rock covered hard ice sheet ( low angle) and more rubble with precious few solid slabs. The micro spikes made quick work of the ice sheet. My home-made maple walking stick with a metal tip also was a boost. Sunrise camp was humanless with gear stashed in caveman like semicircle wind shelters typical of high camps under a climb.... so no doubt people were heading up to the summit as I was passing through. I spotted the glacial tarn a mile south and pondered which side of the tarn I would cross to pick my way down from. Soon a faint trail was spotted to the east of the tarn that looked like the common route. I took that route and was pleasantly surprised to find a gentle, but typically sandy and loose rocky slope down to Bird Creek Meadows. The meadows were a pleasure to traverse which I did at a leisurely pace soaking in the beauty and goats. I picked up the ' around the mountain trail ' and followed it about 2 miles after crossing the south climbing route trail. A nice stream was found and I camped in thick woods above it and out of the way. The shade and a stream bath were welcome. The night was very warm. In fact I decided that night to start before dawn the next day and beat the heat. The 3rd day started at 4:30am with coffee and reading. I was hiking before 6 just as I stopped needing a headlamp. Hiking at dawn is an awesome thing. The silver trees from a fire ( how many years ago? ) were beautiful in the morning light. All was quiet and no-one was hiking the trail yet. The flowers are fading and 3/4s gone. I did not realize how scenic this part of the trail would be. The mountain hid the sun from me for several hours that morning. Clouds definitely added interest to the morning sky. I met a guy ( Bradley and his cattle dog George ) on the trail and we chatted. They had just completed the route but going in the opposite direction. After hearing his brutal description of the off-trail section, it dawned on me that below my high route there was a lower option that Bradley just did. I was barely aware of a lower route. Now I understood the warnings from the parking lot regarding high water. Bradley described the laborious travels making it clear that I had picked the best route...even though I really never considered another way to do it. I was so much higher up that my river crossings were trivial by comparison. I was out before noon and ready for a long jarring dusty drive on the washboard road. No bugs the whole time. Not too hot...and very clear skies for late summer.

Kenji, brewermd, pjhorst, hikergirl1234, Bramble_Scramble, hikerbiker, Randito, contour5, reststep, IanB, awilsondc, RichP  kite
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Secret Agent Man
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PostWed Sep 07, 2022 10:17 pm 
Have the Yakama opened up tract D permits to overnights? Last summer it was only open during the day and certain months but I don't know how their policy has changed.

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flatsqwerl
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PostThu Sep 08, 2022 6:57 am 
I saw no such postings at the trailhead but other than that I am not even aware of any restrictions. This is something I did not look into so I may have been in violation!

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puzzlr
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PostThu Sep 08, 2022 1:25 pm 
It must feel good to finish this off. I've never heard of this being a "thing", but I guess every big volcano has a route around it. Does this one have a name?

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flatsqwerl
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PostThu Sep 08, 2022 1:52 pm 
Its not really a 'thing' except to me I guess. I did the same type trip around Saint Helens a few years back and enjoyed it quite a lot. One thing I like about circling these 2 volcanoes is that you see the mountain most all of the time and of course your vantage is slowly changing as you go. Although it is more parched than many lush cascade mountain trips, it is a unique experience to see the mixture of dry climate plants and frozen lava, etc. I really liked the sage brush on the east side of Adams and the different scents that come with arid-loving plants like that. I occasionally like the severity of the very dry and open terrain. It also has a similar feel of being a goal I guess, not unlike being focused of summiting a peak. I have climbed Adams by 2 routes in the past so I was not tempted on this trip to add that :>) I am not aware of an official name for this although there are 2 trails on the mountain with names like: ' the highland trail " and the " round the mountain trail" ( neither goes all the way around.)

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Jordan
y



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PostThu Sep 08, 2022 4:09 pm 
Nice trip. Looks like there are some trail sections, how difficult is the off trail? Easy enough to follow a route without glacier travel or serious rock climbing? I'm looking for a good loop hike. I climbed Adams last year and glacier peak the year before. How long is the loop? I'd did the LGP-Napeequa-HP-Buck Creek loop this year in one day because the bugs were so bad. I'm originally from Yakima and would like to see the terrain change. Thanks for the info.

none
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flatsqwerl
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PostThu Sep 08, 2022 4:49 pm 
Hi Jordan. So I am almost 64 and this was a full trip of 3 days for my level of fitness. 6 hours per day average of travel for me. Decent route finding skills, being fit and being comfortable traveling on a lot of untrailed terrain is really all this trip requires. Nothing approaching climbing or challenging scrambling even. No ice ax was needed. Micropsikes/walking stick helped me. September is best for this ( or good October weather ) as the river crossings are manageable ( there are many ).

RichP, Jordan, hikerbiker
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BeardoMcGrath
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PostSat Sep 10, 2022 1:21 pm 
Great to see another Adams Circumnavigation trip! We looped the mountain on Labor Day weekend 2 years ago taking a very similar route; I agree that climbing to Sunrise Camp is better than the lower route on the east side over the Ridge of Wonders (we also crossed Big Muddy just below the terminus). This was a little tricky but it was also very hot that day. We strayed too low below the lake on the south side of Sunrise Camp so you seemed to have found a better route higher up on the way to Bird Creek Meadows. Everything I have read indicates that folks are allowed to camp at the established site in Avalanche Valley but not elsewhere w/in the reservation on the east side. But it is pretty lonely in that area and I have never run into anyone.

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flatsqwerl
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PostSat Sep 10, 2022 1:57 pm 
Hi Beardo. It was your report in Sept 2020 that inspired me to do it in late Sept 2020. I did the same thing as your first day and it cost me in energy output. That diversion to the high tarn is awesome and more interesting but for me it was a lot. I was cramping a ton that night.! Then the smoke came in next day and I bailed. I have another plan to go back and spend an extra day exploring around Goat Butte and the other nearby cinder cone. Found a complete goat skull with horns.

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williswall
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PostSat Sep 10, 2022 2:14 pm 
Congrats. Since you mentioned orbiting I thought you might enjoy this article I did about the 6 volcanos…. https://www.williswall.com/willis-wall-blog/2017/8/31/the-willis-wall-orbits-6-pnw-volcanoes?rq=Volcano

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flatsqwerl
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PostSat Sep 10, 2022 2:56 pm 
Nice write-ups as usual Willis. 2 days for adams is pretty good! You're always crushing it:>)

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BeardoMcGrath
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PostMon Sep 12, 2022 10:10 am 
flatsqwerl wrote:
Hi Beardo. It was your report in Sept 2020 that inspired me to do it in late Sept 2020. I did the same thing as your first day and it cost me in energy output. That diversion to the high tarn is awesome and more interesting but for me it was a lot. I was cramping a ton that night.! Then the smoke came in next day and I bailed. I have another plan to go back and spend an extra day exploring around Goat Butte and the other nearby cinder cone. Found a complete goat skull with horns.
Yeah we went high to cut distance but not sure it was worth it with the ups and downs. Glad this second attempt worked out!

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