Summiting Mount Adams

Note: Mt. Adams is usually summited in two nights or one night. But we conquered this beast in one day!


I tell myself, "one step at a time". I count each footstep as I kick-step into the snow with my crampons, refusing to lift my head up until I hit the 100th step. "...Ninety, Ninety-one, Ninety-two...". 100th step, complete! Relieved, I stop. 

I lift my head up and all I see is a straight vertical incline of mountain that I am suppose to conquer. I look down and it feels like no progress is made. I talk to myself, I breath, I smile at Kevin, I continue to kick-step with my crampons into the side of the mountain. "One, Two, Three...Four...".

Every step I don't kick hard enough I stumble, sometimes fall due to the sheer vertical terrain. I mutter to myself, "kick harder Devin!" One kick-step at a time, I will make it. We will make it.


After a 4.5 hour drive we make it to the trailhead of Mt. Adams around 9:30 at night. We pack our gear and prepare for the early morning. We set up our sleeping bag in the bed of Kev's Dodge Tacoma and get some sleep. The alarm wakes up our motionless bodies at 4:00 a.m. We spring out of the sleeping bag eager to get in the car to warm up and dress for the summit. 

By 4:30 we are on the trail. Our headlamps guide us along as we slowly gain elevation. The path is well groomed for the first few hours of trekking and despite the darkness we are able to navigate the trail quite well.  

Kev is always the man with the map!
However, the well groomed trail soon ends and we face a cliff of rocks in the distance. Kev checks the map and confirms a route to get us over the top. We approach the cliff and use our hands to help us balance our way over the unsteady rocks. We finally start climbing the cliff and make it to the top. I keep telling myself within the next hour the sun will rise, we can do away with the headlamps and warm up. It is not freezing, but it is not warm, it is about 25 degrees Fahrenheit.  

Four hours go by and I have hope that we will make it to the top in the next couple hours or so. The sun starts to rise, our headlamps are packed away and our spirits are high. We are feeling on top of the world. 

Mount Hood in the distance as the sun rises to the East. 
As the sun rises we make headway into the snow and we lose sight of the rock and gravel terrain. We can finally see the mountain we are attempting to climb. It is so steep we can't even see the top of Mt. Adams, rather we can only see Pikers Peak, also referred to as "False Summit".

Lunch Counter was the destination I continued to tell myself I had to reach... As we approached Lunch Counter around the early morning the sun was finally starting to shine overtop the mountain. It felt like light years until we reached Lunch Counter. Once we did I sprawled out onto the snow, not a care of how wet or cold the ground felt, I let the sun mask over my cold and tired body.

After Lunch Counter, all there was to see was an unruly sheer vertical incline spanning for thousands of feet for us to conquer. We split a peanut butter sandwich and chips before continuing the summit. We strapped our crampons on, revived our energy, or that's what we told ourselves, and started the biggest most intense climb yet. 
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As we slowly step one foot at a time up the side of the mountain I begin to realize how huge and unforgiving this mountain is. It is impossible to understand how ginormous the mountain is until it is right in front of you and you have no choice but to approach it. I carry on inch by inch as Kev encourages me up the mountain. He is my backbone.

The wind continues to roar taking my breathe away as I stand in the middle of a mountain gasping for air. It is just us and the mountain. Not a human in sight. I catch my breathe as I look at the panorama view of Mount Hood, Mount Saint Helens, and the beautiful mountain ranges.

Panorama view of Mount St. Helens in the distance to the right and Mount Hood straight ahead. This was taken on the climb up. It's hard to tell but we started down below the snow terrain. We are about halfway to the summit!

No one came to summit the mountain today, except us. It is already October but what a beautiful day to summit, the sun is shinning, the sky is blue and the winds aren't that bad. An hour passes and we are still working our way to Pikers Peak. Kev starts to get unforgiving cramps in his legs and groin causing us to stop a few times for several minutes to regroup. I shove another sandwich down his mouth and he continues to hydrate. At snail pace we slowly continue until Kev has another ruthless cramp attack. I tell Kev we don't have to go all the way. "Let's just go to Pikers Peak. That's far enough. The views are just as beautiful here. Who cares if we make it up or not." Kev nods his head, although I know he won't just turn around. He is in pain, but we continue on.

Kev making his final few steps to reach Pikers Peak, also known as "False Summit" at 11,567'.

I finally made it to the top of the False Summit. I sat down on the mountain and turned to watch Kev make his final steps to the top. Tears started to wash up to my eyes. I sat there looking at this mountain, this incredible view that we had to ourselves, not a soul in sight. I watch Kevin, this unstoppable force of energy that never gives up, as he powers on, using his trekking poles to pull his legs up to give the cramped leg a break. I feel this rush of gratitude like no other, this euphoric energy that ignites my spirit. And then Kev makes it to the top, he has tears in his eyes too. It was a sense of energy that we were both feeling in this moment that was so special. There was no need for verbal communication, we were summiting to the top. Screw this False Summit!

We carry on. The wind picks up. I could almost be blown to the ground with the strong gusts. I laugh at the thought while I anchor down. This part of the summit was the finale, the end of the suffering.

Between the False Summit and Mt. Adams summit there is a bowl that we dip down into. I was enjoying these steps as I knew they would soon end and we would, once again, be climbing another 1,000 ft. of elevation. Kev's cramps "feel better" and he only spoke to encourage me, "Dev you are doing great." I'd chirp back, "We are doing great!" Yes, we are doing it.

We made it. Yes we did! Eight grueling hours later we conquered Mount Adams!

Mt. Adams is situated in the eastern Cascade range, east of Mount Saint Helens and north of Mount Hood, it is the second highest peak in Washington state and the third tallest volcano in the Cascade range.

We hung out at the top of Mt. Adams for an hour or so and enjoyed the beautiful views. The little shelter that was built protected us from the raging winds at the top. We couldn't go inside since it has not been maintained but we were able to use the side of the wall to shield us. It was a perfect day to summit Mt. Adams. Clear blue skies and the sun following me every step or kick-step of the way.

As we left the summit we glissaded part of the way down. Unfortunately, the trash bag I was using was not sturdy and I felt this pain on my butt, like a rug burn. And I started to get grumpy but Kev wasn't having any issues with his trash bag so I thought maybe I was just numb and being a little brat. So I quit my grumpy mood and continued to glissade down... long story short, I find out I have a baseball size rug burn on my butt.

Anyway, we continue the descent from the summit and five hours later we return to the trailhead around 5:30 in the evening. To say the least, it was a long way down and it was like we had almost forgotten everything we had just climbed up.

We were extremely happy to make it back to the car. We quickly placed everything in the car and were on our way! We made it back to our home town around 10:00 at night but that didn't stop us from eating The Hub happy hour and stuffing our faces. As soon as we got home we showered and passed out. It was amazing.

A couple things I have learned from this adventure:

  1.  Kev is my better half. He inspires and motivates me. I would have never summited Mt. Adams on my own. But with Kev, of course I can, of course we will. Together we challenge and inspire each other to be better, to do more. We are an unstoppable team and I am so damn lucky to have a team player like him. I am the happiest and luckiest woman on this Earth.

    And lastly,
  2. When I complain that something hurts, there is something not right. I do not complain to just complain. My rug burn is real and still recuperating.

Let the #KevDevAdventures and #JourneyofCuriosity continue...

Until next time,