5/13 to 5/14/2014 – After a couple weeks of day-in and day-out work on the trailer, Grete and I were hitting a breaking point… We were craving adventure, the fresh mountain air, and getting away from our monster project born in 1973. We had been shut down a week earlier on an attempt at the Hidden Lake Lookout in the North Cascades due to (for my second time) whiteout conditions above treeline, but the weather looked good for a shot at a volcano.
A couple days before the weather broke and we headed south, I received an unexpected phone call from a Solitude patrol buddy, Cam, who was heading north from Oregon and was looking for ski partners! Both Cam and Grete had never skied in the Cascades, let alone a classic volcano, so I was excited to get out with them in the alpine. We had quite the drive there (10 hours rather than the 5.5 expected) due to a snowed-out forest service road, but arrived at the trailhead/snowline around 2:30am and went right to sleep to prepare for the next day.
The next morning we munched some breakfast, packed, and headed out with the plan to climb to a high camp on the Lunch Counter, sleep there, then rally onwards for a morning summit. The climb was beautiful and the weather was spot on, allowing us to enjoy a warm, glorious evening in the alpine. The sunset views of Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens were astonishing and refreshing. The summit climb the next morning went well until ~11,800′ when a strong shot of Acute Mountain Sickness overcame Grete. Her and myself turned for lower altitude while Cam continued on to the 12,276′ summit. We rejoined atop the SW Chutes, waited a short bit for the corn cycle to set in, then shredded down the 4,000′ of the chutes as well as another 3,000′ back to the cars! What a trip… and here are some photos to sum it up… Also, check out Grete’s post about skiing Mt. Adams on 14erskiers’ blog here.