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Mt. Adams, Mazama Glacier Route, July 2003

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All images on this page Copyright© 2003 by Jim Fox. All Rights Reserved.





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We met Jim Fox, Climb Leader John Hawthorne and seven other participants in this scheduled Mazama club climb of the Mazama Glacier Route on Mt. Adams as they popped out at the False Summit. See my photos.  Jim was willing to share his great photos of their climb with readers of TraditionalMountaineering. The Mazamas is one of the oldest alpine mountaineering clubs in the United States. The club offers events for everyone who enjoys the outdoors, including Basic, Intermediate and Advanced Climbing Classes. Leaders and Assistants are trained and tested over a several year period. Click here to go to the Mazamas web. Many of us are members and support this club. Join this club and become a Mazama!
--Bob Speik

Following is a small part of the Mazama Prospectus for this climb:

General information: 
Mt. Adams was know as Pah-to or Klickitat to the Coast Salish and Taidnapam (collectively called the Cowlitz) Indians. A popular Indian legion is that Mt. Hood (Wy-east) and Mt. Adams fought over Loowit (Mt. St. Helens). In the resulting battles the Columbia Gorge was formed and Bridge of the Gods was destroyed. The first recorded sighting by white people was by Lewis and Clark on April 2, 1806. It is named after a President Adams with the name and actual mountain closely associated by 1843. The name was firmly established in 1853 when the Pacific Railroad Expedition charted the mountain as Mt. Adams. 

While David Douglas was rumored to have climbed Adams in 1825, the first accepted ascent was in 1854 via the North Ridge. The party probably consisted of three men, A. Aiken, E. Allen, and A. Burge; who were members of a military road work party. A lookout cabin was built on the summit in 1921 and manned for several years. In 1929 a sulfur claim was staked on the summit and a trail was built. At the height of activity in 1931, some 168 pack trains reached the summit. Traces of the trail still exist and climbers could expect hot coffee from the miners. The Glacier Mining Company had active workings until 1937. 

While not as high as Rainier, this massive volcanic peak has about the same volume with Adams covering about 270 square miles. The last mass building eruptions were in the Pleistocene about 500,000 years ago. The latest eruptions occurred possibly less than 2,000 years ago near South Butte.

The Mazama Glacier route involves some roped climbing and glacier travel. In 1999 we crossed the foot of the glacier about 6am and skirted a few small crevasses. By mid afternoon on our return the same crevasses had become considerably longer and wider. 

The vista from the huge summit plateau is superb – Rainier, St Helens, Goat Rocks, Hood, Jefferson, and even the Sisters on a clear day. See Becky’s Cascade Alpine Guide for a more detailed look at this area’s geologic and climbing history.