Adams – North Face Northwest Ridge July Ski Mission


Ever since first reading the Hummels tales of skiing and exploring the north slopes of Mt. Adams under warm summer skies, I’ve wanted to emulate their exploits by spending a long weekend camping and picking out a different line to ski each day, just as they did back in the late nineties.  It’s almost as if their stories of Adams are fairytales from a time when the sun was in its exhibitionistic phase and didn’t mind revealing itself without the cover of clouds. Lately in the PNW it’s as if the sun is an out-of-touch older generation adult, afraid of being a part of what it misconstrues as a world that’s lost in its own stench of indecency, scantily dressed females, bad clothes, and slutty self-obsessed stars that further the moral and social corruption of todays youth by serving as the only role models that these impressionable "youngsters" pay attention to. Perhaps the sun is more sensitive than we all thought and all this global warming propoganda has reached a soft spot left vulnerable by the recent absence of solar flares. Only if we could harness the roughly  6×10^25 joules of energy released by these solar flares, and channel it into the flux capacitor, we could end our reliance on volcanic eruptions as the only means to cool the atmosphere.

Skinning up the flat snowfields on Adam’s north side with Liz, Adam, and Russell, we had a perfect side profile view of Mt. St. Helens in the morning alpenglow. Its lack of brilliance provided a stark contrast to the other surrounding peaks of Rainier, Stewart, and Hood, which all have beautiful flowing glaciers and snowfields that don’t exhibit a dull gray color. As we neared the northeast ridge, which would eventually take us to the summit, we noticed a group of mountain goats making their way up a ridge with the large seracs of the Adam’s glacier in the background. If only I had a 20,000 mm telephoto lens and a horse to carry if for me I could have gotten some photos of them. We had been following their poop trail for a while and figured it was only a matter of time before we could spot them somewhere. Upon reaching the ridge, we finally felt like we had made some sort of progress. At least we were at the starting point now after a few hours of approach. Luckily, along with Adam and Russell’s endless psuedo-gay banter, Liz’s beautiful flowing hair provided a distractive visual element in our trudge up a loose rocky ridge. Wait, it was the rocks that were loose, not the ridge. Stoopid ridge, trying to enhance your street cred with a slutty image, you media hoar, that’s the last time you get mentioned. Finally reaching the summit dome, the annoyingly persistent stench of sulfur spurred as along quickly to the true summit where we mingled with a multitude of other climbers who had summitted from the south side. Many of them were carrying inflatable pink and yellow innertubes for sliding back down from where they had come. Definitely better than walking I say, it made me wish I had remembered my plan to bring snowcone flavoring to make snowcones on the top of this dome.

A short ski down and boot pack up the adjacent high point of the northwest ridge put us on top of our line. Over the blind rollover and some of the face became visible to us. The face couldn’t have been in better condition, the snow was perfect corn, not too warm, yet supple and firm.

Russell exercised the most caution of the group, perhaps becuase he was testing his new self-engineered splitboard binding development. I don’t really know how it works, you’ll have to track him down and ask him yourself. Eventually we spit ourselves out the bottom, onto the toe of the Adam’s glacier and we got to gawk in awe at this incredible face, definitely one of the best steep descents in Washington according to our limited knowledge.

Also according to our limited knowledge, we decided that LIz might be the first woman with beautiful flowing hair to have snowboarded this route. Untrue to the Hummel brothers’ previous trips, we only had time for  the one day of skiing and quickly headed out to go swimming in a lake before dusk. Unfortunately an encounter with a day hiker suffering from a compound fracture in his lower leg delayed us for a few hours and darkness fell before we made it to the lake.


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