I did it!! I summitted Mt. Adams! All 12,277 feet of it. 🙂 We did it in 7 hours 23 minutes. It was amazing, breathtaking, challenging, fun…I can’t begin to describe it. It was by far the hardest thing I have done, but I did it!
The whole experience was incredible, from the drive there to the drive home. The weather was perfect; we really lucked out. I had concern about dehydration, overheating, sunburn, not bringing enough water, food, clothes, but everything was perfect.
We left camp (Cold Springs Campground), elevation 5600 feet, at 6:30 AM, a little behind schedule, considering we got up at 5AM. I slept HARD! I jumped out of my sleeping bag, excited about the upcoming challenge. We started the upward, long trek. The air was cool and comfortable, and we soon reached snow, which would be our footing for the remainder of the day. We took frequent breaks to shed clothes, drink water, and eat. We reached lunch counter, elevation 9000 feet, and took in the amazing views: Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Hood. This was the spot most climbers set up camp to break up the climb. We, however, did it one day. After lunch counter, the climb became much more challenging: it was very steep, and I began to feel the altitude in the form of a mild headache that lingered until I went to bed at 1:30AM. I pressure breathed, which helped. I never was out of breath, and I stayed right at the front of the pack. I was in better shape than the majority of the group, who were all experienced hikers, at least.
A lot of climbers had brought their skis, snowboards and dogs, and it was amazing to see them ski/board down and the dogs frolicking in the snow, in heaven. We also watched people glissading down the mountain with huge smiles on their faces. I was a bit nervous about glissading…they were going fast!
When we reached false summit (elevation 11,500 feet), the wind was blowing, and it was chilly. We put on all of our clothes and took a food/water break before we made the last push to the summit. I had some mild confusion as we got going. For a couple seconds, I forgot what I was doing. I wondered where my skis were. It was strange for me to be at the top of a mountain without skis. I quickly “came to” and remembered what I was doing. I learned later than confusion is a symptom of the altitude.
Once we got going, it began to warm up again, and the wind had died down. We asked passersby who were coming down if it was windy up top, and they said, no. The last 45 minutes or so to the top was the most challenging, but we all made it! I cannot even begin to describe the feeling once I got there. Looking down the mountain, I was amazed we made it the whole way. The view was spectacular. The sky was crystal clear: Mt. Hood to the South, Mt St. Helens to the West and Mt. Rainier to the North. WOW!!! We took a long breather, and it felt SOOO good to lie down. I was spent. I was really proud of myself, too. 🙂 What an accomplishment. BUT, it wasn’t close to being over, yet. We had to make it DOWN the mountain now. It made me tired just thinking about it.
We all got our glissading props ready. We girls had garbage bags, and the boys and blow up inner tubes. I was shown how to use my ice axe as a rudder/break, and down I went. It was fun! It was like being on a bobsled. But, the novelty soon wore off as my butt began to sting. The garbage bag wasn’t keeping out the snow, and the bumps in the snow were wreaking havoc on my cushion-less butt. I couldn’t do it anymore, and ended up walking/running the rest of the way down while the rest of our group glissaded. My body was quickly wearing down, and I had no energy left. The sun was HOT and the snow was pure slush. I had stripped down to my sports bra, but I still felt like I was overheating. I gritted my teeth, however, and made the last push to the campground, 12 hours after we started our ascent.
It was surreal. I couldn’t really make sense out of what I had just done. We did in one day, what most people do in two days. I am not much of a hiker, yet I accomplished an amazing feat. I am amazed, proud, and impressed with myself, and I will remember this day forever.
I met some amazing people, and learned how far my body can go. I can’t wait to do it again!
So, in the past two weeks, I have: completed a half marathon and summitted Mt. Adams. What’s next? There is talk about either Mt. Hood or Mt. Shasta…or both! We shall see…