From below the lunch counter looking up the South Spur, ascending from the right, to Pikers Peak, also known as the False Summit, Piker's Peak. This is the main Climber's Route on Mount Adams.  

Mt Adams 12,276' July 04 Telemark Ski Weekend!
July 03/05, 2004



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The most often asked question around the Tele-community the last few weeks was, "When should I hang up my skis and do something else?"  Well, definitely not on the 4th of July weekend!

Doerte an I arrived at the Cold Springs Trailhead, 5,600' in the late afternoon, and were surprised to find we were camped next door to Becky Bradshaw and Pete Alderson, from the Washington Alpine Club, who were up skiing the Southwest Chutes. They reported that the snow was very good except for the first 200' below the false summit, which was icy.

The Southwest Chutes drop SW from the false summit at a 35-40 degree slope for over 4000 vertical feet. Skiers can climb either the South Rib or the chutes directly. The return to camp is via the Round the Mountain Trail.

Amar Andalkar calls this non-technical summit route one of the true Cascade classics. The slope below the 11,657' False Summit (Pikers Peak) holds a consistent 25-30 degree pitch for over 2500 vertical ft, often with superb corn snow in late spring and early summer.

It seemed almost everyone in the camp was a tele-skier. We met folks from Boise and a 68 year old tele-skier from Reno. Of course, most were from Seattle and Portland areas.

The standard climbing route goes up the South Spur, and is also called the South Climb. The mountain was first climbed by the North Ridge in 1854. For a time there was Fire Lookout on the summit, supplied by mules. It is hard to imagine what it must of been like to spend some time there. Now, it is just a ruin, and just barely visible.

Meanwhile, back at Cold Springs Camp, Mike Beck and Dave Schuldt arrived to round out our party of 4. We had a calm, clear, moonlit night, and then left for the mountain at 4 am.  At 5 we met up with our friends, Bill Zachmann, Pooh Olson, Heather Erickson, to round out our party at 7. With the clear night, the snow was frozen quite hard. We separated into two parties, one with skins, and one with crampons. We had a great view of the sun rising on Mount Hood, and Mt. Saint Helens, and of the shadow of Adams to the west. We reunited at the Lunch Counter.

Mike Beck and Dave skinned up, the rest of us followed the climbers straight path up the 2,600' up to the False Summit (Pikers Peak). It was slow going and took us about 2.5 hours. Descending Climbers would wiz by in a three foot deep glissade chute.

At the False Summit everyone hunkered down to get out of the wind and wait for the snow to soften a bit. There were about 30 skiers, most telemark. From here we had to decide to ski the SW Chutes or the South Spur Route.

The middle and highest summit of Mount Adams, 12,276'. Barely visible are climbers in the middle of the photo going up to the summit.

It was very windy on Pikers Peak. We all put on fluffy jackets and wind breakers. Three of us made a quick trip over to the true summit. The summit was not as windy as Pikers Peak.

Mike Mahanay, Mike Beck, and Bill Zachmann on the summit, with Mount Hood to the right.  We had great views of Mount Rainier, and the Goat Rocks to the North and Hood, Jefferson and the Sisters to the South.

Beck and Bill skied down from the summit.

Returning from the summit, we found the decision had been made to ski down the South Spur.  The 68 year old took off first, doing perfect turns in the fall line. Of course, he was the best tele-skier on the Mountain! One by one we started down. The first two turns were the trickiest, and then the snow got a little softer. The skiing got better and better with every turn.

Mike Beck showing his excellent form heading down from the False Summit, 11,657'. Mount Hood and the curvature of the earth can be seen on the horizon. 


From the Pikers Peak Summit to the Lunch Counter the run was over 2,600'! We still had 2,400' of skiing left to do, back down to the Round the Mountain Trail where we would pick up the South Climb Trail back to Camp.

Again at the Lunch Counter, 9,000' everyone regrouped, adjusted equipment, shed some layers, hydrated, and ignored the camera. There was still lots of skiing left to do.

L to R. Heather, Pooh, Bill, Doerte, Dave, and  Beck.

We skied until there was no more snow left to ski. On the way out we ran into Charlie Cornish, with Kristin, Shannon, and Dane heading up for some fine holiday skiing!

Total elevation gain, 6,700', 12 miles round trip, 5,000' skied from the False Summit, 5,600' for Beck and Bill. A great weekend with great friends and lots of great turns!

Now, is it time to hang up the skis?

There is $15 climbing fee ($10 Mon-Thurs) required above 7000 ft
from June 1 to September 30.  A Northwest Forest Pass required
for parking at the Trailheads. The permit can be picked up in Trout Lake.

For more info go to:
Skiing the Cascade Volcanos

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