Mount Adams South Climb Trail

HARD 20 reviews

Mount Adams South Climb Trail is a 7.3 mile out and back trail located near Stevenson, WA that offers scenic views and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from July until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

7.4 miles 3260 feet Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

ice climbing

rock climbing

skiing

snowboarding

horseback riding

views

rocky

snow

Climb one of the Cascade giants in Washington State for a fantastic ski or board down over 6000 vertical feet. Mt. Adams is one of the favorite volcanoes in the Cascade Range for those want to summit one of the bigger mountains of in Washington and ski down from the top. Due to its moderately sloped south face, it offers an outstanding ski run from the summit at 12276 ft to the snow's end at 6-7000 ft depending on the timing of the tour. The film and guide for the climb is now available as a DVD - see the resources section below on this page for more details One caution: this is a real mountain. Despite its low terrain hazard risks of the south approach, there have been a number of injured and lost climbers on this route. The weather can turn quickly as on any major peak and climbers must be prepared to stay out overnight in some form of protection. Many skiers with a good deal of endurance will do this climb in a single long day, but often travel very light and consequently are gambling on good weather. I recommend a two day climb - to allow for more skiing and also to provide a cushion should the weather or snow conditions turn sour. The snow varies from frozen crust to perfect summer corn depending on your timing and fortune. Via Cold Springs and South Spur This is a challenging climb up a 12,000 foot volcano in southern Washington. You'll climb close to 7,000 feet for this ski descent. When you get up to the base of the glacier it will look like a highway of climbers in spring and summer months. Hope for good snow as the descent is fantastic. Beware - there is a false summit so be prepared to be disappointed as you crest what you think is the top, only to have to hike another half mile or so. When you ski down get some speed from the true top and you might be able to make it partly up the false summit.

hiking
1 month ago

I did this hike on September 10th. The drive up to the trailhead was sketchy but not horrible. I made it up in a Honda Civic. The weather was perfect and there wasn't too many people on the trail. The hike up to Lunch Counter took about 4 hours and wasn't too difficult. It was actually easier and more pleasant than I thought it would be.

We camped up at LC and watched the sunset, which was breathtaking. It got very cold and windy at night but the whiskey helped warm us up. I have never seen so many stars in my life. It was so surreal. I definitely want to go back and camp again- I highly recommend it!

We left our tent and some of our stuff and headed up for the summit the next morning. From there on, we were hiking on snow with our crampons. It was long and grueling. I forgot to pack my sunblock which was a huge mistake. I ended up with bad sunburn on my face. While hiking up the steep snowfields, there was a lot of steam coming out of the mountain. So much, that it blocked the sun a few times. It was such an amazing thing to see.

Once we got to the false summit, I saw how much further up we had to go, and I actually wanted to turn back. Luckily, my friend convinced me to keep going. It actually looks a lot worse than it really is. That last hill didn't take long at all and I made it to the summit. The view from the summit was pretty cool, but I've seen better ;) Actually it didn't all sink in until the next day, and it get like such a great accomplishment.

When we made our descent down the snowfields, we used the glissade chutes, which were SUPER icy. I lost my ice axe and had to use my trekking poles. It was super scary, but we saved so much time coming down. We broke down the tent and made our way back down.

I think all together it took us 14 or 15 hours. I highly recommend this climb. It was the most memorable mountain adventure I've ever had!

2 months ago

Bucket list item... check. Summited with dear friend on a Tuesday.

3 months ago

geocaching
3 months ago

great experience for our first mountaineering mountain. had equipment problems at the lunch counter and had to call it the next morning. overall great place to practice basic techniques. will definitely make another trip to go.

3 months ago

Love the snow fields.

hiking
4 months ago

Incredible! The sunrise from lunch counter is worth the entire trip! Challenging and probably a good idea to go with someone who is experienced your first time.

4 months ago

4 months ago

geocaching
5 months ago

Great climb with great views. The Shute from the false summit will take you almost all the way back down to lunch counter in one slide. Epic sliding for close to 1000 feet!

Bring your crampons, poles, and an axe!

hiking
9 months ago

What a great climb! We hiked up to Lunch Counter and went to bed around 3pm. We left at 3am for the summit. Got there around 9:30. It was much more fun glacading down than it was hiking up.

hiking
1 year ago

hiking
1 year ago

I made it up to just below Piker's Peak, but the rest of my group made the summit Sunday morning. We brought our dog, and on the approach she tore up her front pads so we took shifts dog-sitting at our camp at Lunch Counter. I went up solo to take sunset photos, and the rest of the group summited the next morning.

The weather was warm, and all-in-all it was a beautiful day and we had an absolute blast. I tracked 4.3 miles from Cold Springs to Lunch Counter, and we estimate another 2 miles to the summit from there so the 13.6 miles listed in the trail description seems accurate. The hike gets harder and harder until the false summit at 11,657.

We all had YakTrax Ice-Trekkers, and those did fine but in colder weather / harder snow and ice, full crampons would be necessary. Ice-axes were the same idea--we could have got by without them but in other conditions they would be vital.

There's effectively zero shade, so a spare tarp or rain-fly might be worth the weight. Bring lots of sunscreen, extra batteries for headlamps and cameras, and know how to pace yourself.

It's a great climb!!

hiking
1 year ago

hiking
1 year ago

This was a great climb! I went with a group of 5 and we stayed at lunch counter on a Friday night and then all of us made the summit Saturday morning. It was a strenuous climb and the weather was very cold and windy, but we were blessed with clear skies and great views! We left lunch counter at 7:00am and made summit around 9:30am. Winds were about 20-30mph most of the way up, and I'd guess 40+ on the summit. We didn't stay at the summit for very long because it was very cold up on top. Crampons and ice axe definitely required as we faced steep icy slopes on the way up, and part way down. The snow had softened up enough that we were able to glissade part way down which was great! All in all a great hike/climb, and I would definitely recommend!

hiking
3 years ago

A group from our church, I-90 Community Church, met weekly during the spring and early summer for training hikes in the local area with weighted packs. For many of us it was our first mountain climbing experience but several of the leaders had summited Rainier, Baker etc multiple times, so we were in good hands.

We hiked to Lunch Counter on Friday 7/12/2013 and set up camp to spend the night. It was cold but we were warm enough in our sleep cell sleeping bags.

Everyone in the group made it to the summit the next day. The weather couldn't have been better (no wind) and the views were incredible. Crampons and Ice Axes are a must and so is training. It was a hard hike but doable with preparation. After making it to the summit we rested, snacked took photos and then began glissading back to LC to break camp and hike back to the cars parked at the trailhead. We topped the trip off with burgers and beer at the Full Sail Brewery in Hood River.

It was an incredible experience over all and I'm glad I did it.

The group is talking about climbing Baker next summer.

hiking
3 years ago

Summited on 08/25/2013 we camped the night before 1000 feet below the lunch counter. We started our accent around 3:30 AM and summited at 9 AM. The weather was decent at 9000 feet but started to get bad around 10000 feet. On the summit the wind chill was 5 degrees Fahrenheit and the wind was 40-50 MPH. We could not see more then 20 feet on the summit. But the real mountain experience was amazing! We had the gear to battle severe winter weather and had to use ALL of it. 4 layers on. You'll be sore and tired the next day but it is sooo worth it. You should have an Ice axe, cramp ons, and gear to deal with temperatures from 0-70 the weather changes very fast!

hiking
4 years ago

This was my first alpine climb back in 2008. I have completed the South Climb 3 times and had a very different experience each time. Back in 08 there was virtually no snow except at the summit. This year and last year there was a lot more snow. Each year I went in mid-August. This year we had some crazy lightning storms roll through the night before our summit attempt. It was a spectacular show! I would recommend this climb for anyone who is considering Alpine climbs. It is a great climb to start with nothing technical and great area for learning basic mountaineering skills.

hiking
4 years ago

Climbed Adams in August and it was my first alpine adventure over 9000 feet. We arrived at the parking lot at 1000 am and the summer trail was open at this time with occasional snow on the trail. As we made our way up to lunch counter we stopped 200 feet short due to the amount of hikers setting up camp. I was suffering from minute altitude sickness but as we got rest the symptoms stabilized. We stepped off at 4 am and we made our way to pikes peak. As we reached the false summit we took a 10 minute break to get some food an water. We summited at 11 am, the sky was clear and you could see Rainer, saint Helen's, and hood. After we took our photos we glissaded the entire way down arriving at 1200 at our camp site. Made it back to the car at 4 pm. Great hike would love to do it again

hiking
4 years ago

Attempted to summit Adams in one day starting from the Morrison Creek campground. The road was impassible above Morrison Creek due to snow so we just pitched a tent beside the road and started from there. Left at 3:30 am with a goal of reaching the summit by 1:00. The winter route takes a slightly different course than the summer, farther east over the shoulder of South Butte. Switched into crampons right at the base of South Butte as it was quite icy. Weather was extremely clear and very windy most of the day but changed in the early afternoon to near whiteout conditions. Did not reach summit, turned around about halfway up the accent to false summit.

hiking
5 years ago

Hiked up to the LC in October, a storm came in brought 6-8" snow, 20 degree temps, and 45 mph winds. Make sure you're prepared for weather if going in shoulder season. Crampons required, ice above 9k.