Mount Adams South Climb Trail

HARD 215 reviews
#1 of 6 trails in

Mount Adams South Climb Trail is a 11.2 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Trout Lake, Washington that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 11.2 miles Elevation Gain: 6,732 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dog friendly

backpacking

hiking

skiing

snowshoeing

forest

views

wild flowers

rocky

snow

no shade

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. 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. This hike is suggested as 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. Dogs are allowed on this trail but probably wont be able to summit, so keep in mind your dogs hiking ability before choosing to being them.

hiking
scramble
snow
1 day ago

hiking
rocky
snow
1 day ago

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
snow
4 days ago

The hike up to lunch counter was beautiful. Stayed the night, and summited the next morning. I didn't have crampons, so I hiked up the rocks along the snow route everyone takes. It honestly seemed less strenuous. BRING SUNGLASSES AND SUNSCREEN. I forgot and fried my eyes since I was staring at snow the last 2 hours to the peak.

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
snow
4 days ago

I did this hike from Friday, August 16th and summited August 17th. The trailhead was very busy with few places to park but luckily you can make your own spot. I hiked up to Lunch Counter where I camped and started the climb at 11AM. I made it to camp by 3:30 PM. It was my first hike with a pack on and it definitely made me a lot slower. Be sure to bring lots of water because the trail is quite sunny and warm. Sun screen is a good idea of course. Bugs were not a problem for me at all. There is a little hill before lunch counter that has a lot of snow. It’s about a 1000 foot climb and crampons were very helpful here. It was very windy at camp at night so I recommend a sturdy tent. I started my way up to Pikers Peak at 3AM on Saturday and used crampons most of the way. There are some gaps where you have to scramble but mostly you are climbing on ice. I highly recommend crampons here. After watching the sunset from Pikers Peak I finished the climb and summited by 7AM. Coming down it was super busy so I recommend an early summit and I personally prefer to climb on a frozen glacier rather than slush. I also recommend an ice axe for that added stability when climbing on snow/ice. It’s makes a world of difference. Very beautiful and rewarding hike! Be prepared to push hard and focus on one foot in front of the other.

hiking
no shade
rocky
snow
7 days ago

Great experience but a very strenuous hike. We did it in two days (8/2 and 8/3), camping at Lunch Counter, summiting and returning home the following day. We chose to hike in on a Friday afternoon and summit on Saturday morning and this was perfect; it’s much busier hiking in on a Saturday. We got up at about 5:15 and were starting the climb by 6:00. I believe we summited around 9:30. The conditions on the way up were perfect for crampons and trekking poles but it definitely got slushier on the way down since the sun was out. Our descent was longer than desired because It was icy on the initial climb down from the summit and the first part of the descent from Pikers so we didn’t glissade for about an hour to hour and a half. The bugs weren’t bad at all and we barely saw any animals other than a few birds. There is very little shade most of the hike so make sure to prepare for the sun exposure. It’s also very rocky and the trail isn’t always obvious so be sure to record way points so that you can find your way back in case of unexpected weather. We made a mistake not bringing a backup water filter and ended up drinking directly from the glacier melt and were lucky not to get sick. It got down into the high 30s the night we camped and we ended up wearing our thermals and caps to bed...definitely bring multiple layers and no cotton. Also, as others have said, get your water while the streams are flowing because they do slow down many nights and may not run again for a while into the next day.

hiking
no shade
rocky
snow
9 days ago

Amazing hike, crowded at the start, below the glacier but it seemed like most folks were just doing a day hike. We started on Thursday the 15th and hit the summit on Friday. We camped just below lunch at a private little spot and got to leave our text and stuff there while we did the snow part of the hike the next morning. Great hike.

hiking
rocky
scramble
snow
11 days ago

We departed Lunch Counter at 1:30 AM and reached the summit at 5:30 AM so we could see the sunrise. It was spectacular but clouds rolled in just as we reached Piker's Peak so we didn't see much of anything else at the summit. The wind and low temps at the summit made it impossible to stick around and wait to see if it was going to clear and we planned on being home (Olympia) before dinner so we didn't wait. We found out later that it cleared out around 6 AM. The rest of the day was clear and hot. The route from Pikers Peak to the summit was a mixture of snow, ice, rocks and pumice. The glissade chutes were all iced up and hard as concrete so we had to keep our crampons on and walk down the snow field which was also frozen hard. WATCH FOR FALLING ROCKS. About half way down the snow field I heard a whizzing noise and turned around just in time to see a cantaloupe-sized rock hurling right at me. It actually bounced off my backpack which deflected it away from my partner below me. There was flowing water near the very beginning of Lunch Counter. That's the first water you will find on your way up so plan accordingly. Biggest take away: Next time we will leave Lunch Counter later and hopefully be able to get in some glissading.

hiking
19 days ago

The weather forecast for August 3,4 was great, so I decided last minute to head to climb Mt Adams Saturday morning. Left Yakima around 5pm Saturday. Got to the trailhead around 8 pm. The last 12 miles are rough and narrow , but a car can make it. I took my Corolla up there. Nice trailhead with lots of parking and camping spots. I slept in my car. The temperature was warm with little wind. People were leaving starting at 1 am for the summit. I left at 4 am. It was amazing to see the stars and the distant lights of others climbing. About a mile in I caught up with another solo climber and we decided to join up father climb. Besides the views, my favorite part was meeting others , even if for a minute and sharing in their experience. I liked that you could see people a lot of the time. We hit snow below lunch counter and used crampons. I used poles, my new friend Herb used an Ice axe. Snow was still firm in the morning. Met more people as we started to steeper climb to Pikers peak and summit. We found it good to climb for a minute and rest for a minute. Some ‘steps’ in the snow, but not a lot. Got to summit at 9 am. Needed jacket and hat as temp after Pikers Peak was lower and wind picked up. Smoke haze at lower elevations was a bummer, but clear up higher. Clear skies until 9:30 when clouds quickly came in to above 9000 ft. It was easy to see how without gps or a compass you could get lost in low visibility. About an hour later clouds broke and was clear. Some people were glissading down, rocks at ends of chutes. By 10ish, snow is getting soft making for a harder climb for those who got a late start. Met some people with skis on our way down, we weren’t sure how good the conditions were this time of year, but they thought it ‘may’ work. We made it back to the trailhead at 1pm. This was a pretty fast pace as we passed people, but weren’t really passed by others. I can see it taking others 12 hours. On my way out I only met a few vehicles on the way down. Hiking boots fine, gators would have helped keep snow out of boots. Helmet not really needed. Sunglasses and sunscreen recommend. Layers good. There is some water around lunch counter. Poles or ice axe recommended. Check weather prior, in my opinion not worth it if cloudy, very windy , or raining. Lots of tents before and at lunch counter, still some open spots. Overall great views, weather, and people!

hiking
26 days ago

as I'm reading through these other reviews, I've come to the conclusion that I'm a fat ass! LOL when with friends, made it to day climb. June 27-28. left the trail ad mid morning and made it to lunch counter bye roughly 1:30 p.m. had a bit of a slow down when a storm rolled in part of the way up providing a complete and total white out providing a bit of consternation given that our team was pretty well spread at that point and we couldn't see anybody or anything for about half an hour. definitely in the teens at that point felt like it was below zero. as we made it to lunch counter, or rather the lowest set of camps right below lunch counter, the storm lifted and began to abate creating a nice rest of the day. woke up at 3 a.m. the next morning to find it totally cloud it in and snowy, so we waited an hour and a half and try it again and it had cleared up enough to hit the slopes. I was one of the slower ones falling back pretty significantly from the rest of the team that went up quickly. I made pikers Peak by around 11 a.m. think they were probably summiting about that time. I hung out at pikers for a while and watched another storm roll into lunch counter. that was a pretty significantly cool thing to watch from above. but also made my decision not to try and summit probably a smart one as by that time met up with the rest of the team and we all descended. got to lunch counter packed up camp and to send it back to the trailhead by 4 p.m. the views from the top or beautiful the storming was all basically below us but had very clear views of Rainier Mount Saint Helens and Mount Hood. really enjoyed the climb, wished I'd been better shape. that last push ups the false summit is seriously no joke! if you are a photographer who likes doing astrophotography, Lunch counter is a fantastic place to do that. 1 a.m. that first night, the milky way was just soaring up and over the top of us!

hiking
no shade
rocky
snow
27 days ago

hiking
28 days ago

Summited morning of 7/25. Left Lunch counter at 4:30 am and made the summit at about 7. Crampons, ice axe, mountaineering boots, helmet are all a good call. I was blessed with perfect conditions. The glissade down was brutal...wouldn’t recommend doing it early in the morning when the snow is so hard. My rear end took a beating and I had to self arrest several times when I got going to fast. All in all great hike!

hiking
28 days ago

Awesome non-technical Cascade climb. Climbed in one day starting at 5:30 AM and returning 5:30 PM. Can definitely be done more quickly but I spent a good bit of time taking layers on and off depending on wind level. Piker's Peak was surprisingly windy in the morning, 30-40 mph wins I would estimate. Fortunately it died down on way up to summit. Lots of people on trail, no one else was in my party but never was I more than a few hundred feet from others. Snow this time of year is really nasty. Not good for skiiing or snowboarding, that's for sure. This might be the last time I do a one-day climb of Adams. Even after having trained for two months, the portion above lunch counter was a grueling slugfest. Looking forward to doing a two-day next year, but hopefully it won't be as windy as today because if you fail to find a man-made rock shelter it seems like you could get blown away. I also think the one-day would have been less brutal if I had crampons instead of microspikes. The latter just wasn't getting the job done in that nasty snow.

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
snow
29 days ago

Load More

Featured Trails