I celebrated my 23rd birthday by climbing Mt. Adams. I knew from friends that this was an obtainable goal for someone like me who is an avid hiker/backpacker but has no rope or technical skills. I am familiar with an ice ax and crampons and that is about the extent of what you need for this trip. My friend Cara and I asked my friend Henry to come with us because he was a bit more advanced than us. Plus his stories helped the time pass a little quicker.
The trail starts for about a mile through a snowless, moderately level, trail. Then you hit the snowfields and the rest of the climb is a relentless trudge uphill until you reach victory. The views of the surrounding mountains help distract you. There are different routes which take you up to the Lunch Counter. The one we chose had the option at one point to take on another long snow field or go up and over a vertical snow wall, probably about 15-18 ft tall. Henry made the call that we should go that way, and as frightening as it was to climb, I was happy to not have to take the hour or so it would take to get through yet another snow patch.
Once you hit the lunch counter, you will know it. There are hundreds of camping spots with stacked rocks to block wind. The view from up there is one of the best I have ever experienced. The sunset boasts views of Mt. St Helens, Mt. Hood, the Sisters, Mt. Jefferson, and what is left of Mt. Adams which you will conquer early the following day.
The next day is just a steep uphill with your crampons and ice ax until you hit the peak. You will reach the false summit with patience and determination. Once you hit the false summit, the worst is over, in my opinion. The next climb isn’t nearly as steep or as demanding, although it looks just as bad.
Once you take your final steps to the summit, you will get just a knock-out view of Mt. Rainier and you will remember how sweet it feels to be on top of a mountain! Soak up your summit, crack a beer, and celebrate with those who finished with you! Then you get to hit the long-ass glissade all the way back down to lunch counter! What took us hours to climb up, took only about 20-30 minutes of sliding on the way down!