When To Climb or Backpack

The most popular times to make this climb are between May and October, during which time the roads will be plowed and cleared. Optimal times for skiing and glissading will start in late spring, during which time, some roads may not be completely cleared. By August, there have been known to be running streams as high as the summit plateau and at Piker's Peak. Winter storms in October and November can bring snow as low as 3000' closing off approach roads.

Location

MT. ADAMS RANGER STATION: Map location Lat. N45.9995 Long. W121.5420
COLD SPRINGS CAMPGROUND: Map location Lat. N46.1365 Long. W121.4965
BIRD CREEK CAMPGROUND: Map location Lat. N46.1402 Long. W121.4406
SNOWKING SNO-PARK: Map location Lat. N46.0541 Long. W121.4720
PINESIDE SNO-PARK: Map location Lat. N46.0487 Long. W121.5011
MT. ADAMS SUMMIT: Map location Lat. N46.2026 Long. W121.4906

Access

COLD SPRINGS CAMPGROUND: This is the most popular trailhead for the South Spur Route (South Climb Trail #183). The easiest road access is from the south using WA SR-14 or I-84 in the Columbia River Gorge.

From Portland, Oregon, drive about 60 miles east on I-84 to Hood River. Take exit 64 for White Salmon. Drive about .3 miles, turn left at the stop sign, and continue straight at the flashing red light. Proceed to the toll booth and pay the $.75 for cars. Drive about 1 mile across the steel grate bridge over the Columbia River.

Turn left at the traffic light onto Hwy 14, the Lewis and Clark Hwy. You are heading towards WA-141 alt.

Drive 1.5 miles and turn right onto SW Pucker Huddle Rd(Hwy 141 alt.). Drive 2.2 miles and turn left onto Hwy 141, towards Trout Lake.

Follow Hwy 141 for 19 miles to Trout Lake. At the Chevron gas station, turn right onto Forest Service Road 23 and drive 1.3 miles, turning right onto Mt. Adams Rd for .6 mile.

Turn left onto Forest Road 80, following the South Climb signs.

Drive 3.7 miles on Forest Road 80 and turn right onto Forest Road 8040. Follow Forest Road 8040 on the bumpy, rutted gravel road for 8 miles to Cold Springs Campground. The gravel road has washboard sections and ruts that could high-center low-clearance cars.

COLD SPRINGS WINTER APPROACH: The road to the Cold Springs Campground is not plowed which means that you may have to ski or snowshoe in. Since the road is not plowed and snow can reach down to 3000 feet, if you decide to drive past the sno-parks and get caught in a snow storm, your vehicle may be trapped all winter. The road is usually snowfree by July 1. It is suggested that climbers use the Pineside Sno-park (Current conditions) or the SnowKing Sno-park (Current conditions) for parking. Sno-Park Passes will be needed at the Sno-Parks from about November 1, through March 31. Snow machines share some of the winter trails. Check the road conditions section of the USFS Mount Adams Climbing Report. This website should also have the dates for when sno-park permits are needed.

In 2010 permits cost $20 per day or $40 for the season and there is a $1 administrative fee.

MOUNT ADAMS RANGER DISTRICT OFFICE
2455 Highway 141
Trout Lake, WA 98650
Tel: (509) 395-3400
Summer hours: Mon - Sat, 8:00am - 4:30pm.
Winter hours: Beginning December 19, 2010 the office will be open Monday through Friday only.
The office closes each workday between 12:00 to 1:00 PM for lunch.

Directions to the Ranger Stations: Driving north on SR-141, the Ranger station is about half a mile north of the junction with the Mount Adams Recreation Road. Look for the Chevron station at the junction. If you are heading to the South Spur trailhead or Sno-parks then you will return to this junction and turn left.

Permit Information

CLIMBING REGISTER: A climbing register is located at the Mt. Adams Ranger Station. For your safety, sign in at the Register before your climb. Forest Service personnel use this information to check on overdue climbers.

CLIMBING PASSES: Between April 1 and October 31, a Cascade Volcano Pass is required if you plan to climb above 7,000 feet. This is a per-person pass that costs $15 on weekend days or $10 on a weekday for a single climb or $30 for an annual pass. Weekend passes are required when above 7,000 feet on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. For example, a trip beginning on Wednesday and ending on Friday would require the purchase of a weekend pass.

The passes are available in person at the Mt. Adams Ranger Station in Trout Lake. or at the Killen Creek Trailhead #113. Only 1-time passes are available at Killen Creek.

The passes can also be ordered online at least 2 weeks in advance and received by mail. The order forms for a Cascades single trip and/or an annual pass are available at: PDF Format or RFT Format. Mail the completed form with your check to the Mt. Adams Ranger Station in Trout Lake.

Each person needs to have a volcano pass stub attached to their backpack. During other times, a free wilderness permit is required and can also be obtained from the Mount Adams Ranger District office. The maximum number of climbers per group is 12. See the USDA FS Mt. Adams Climbing Information page for more information. Mt. Adams is consistently patrolled by rangers looking for people without a volcano pass. Both dogs and pack animals are allowed on this part of the mountain however, be aware of the abrasive nature of the rocks on dog paws in summer.

HIKING OR CLIMBING ON THE YAKIMA INDIAN RESERVATION: If you wish to climb the any of the routes that start in the Yakima Indian Reservation like the Mazama Glacier, Klickitat Glacier, The Castle, or Rusk Glacier Headwall, etc. and want to start from Bird Creek Meadows then you will need a Yakima Indian Reservation Tract-D tribal-use permit. This permit is also needed to hiket the entire Round-the-Mountain trail. This permit is also available from the Mount Adams Ranger District office. Also, if you are not a member of the Yakima Indian Nation, your climbing season is restricted from July 1 to October 1.

The Cascade Volcano Pass stub, Northwest Forest Permit, Sno-park permit, or tribal-use permit needs to be dislayed on your windshield when parked at the trailhead.

HUMAN WASTE BAGS (This should not be considered optional): All solid human wastes should be packed off the mountain and pack-out bags are available at the Mount Adams Ranger District Office. Disposal cans are available at the Cold Springs Campground.

Parking

A Northwest Forest Permit is needed to park at Cold Springs Campground. A daily or yearly permit can be purchased at the Mount Adams Ranger District office in Trout Lake or many outdoor equipment stores.

An annual permit can be purchased online from the USGS Store website.

In the winter climbers should use the Pineside or Sno-King Snow Parks for parking with the Sno-park permit displayed in your windshield.
Daily Sno-park permits can be purchased online from the State of Washington.
In 2011-2012 Oregon Sno-park permits will probably not be valid in Washington.

Camping

There are no permits needed for camping at Cold Springs Campground other than the parking permit.

COLD SPRINGS CAMPGROUND: Many people climb the South Spur Route in one day and return the same day. To do this they camp at Cold Springs Campground and start hiking before sunrise. If you plan on staying at the Cold Springs Campground, be sure to bring earplugs or camp far away from the gravelled areas. There is a shelter along the Cold Springs Trail #72. Climbers routinely arrive past midnight and make no effort to remain quiet, waking all but the soundest sleepers several times during the night.

Water is an issue at this campground. The only water in the summer is at Cold Springs. Later in the summer you have to find the spring because the stream dries up. To find the spring go to the east end of the parking lot and take trail down past the shelter to the streambed about .2 mile from the parking lot. Follow upstream and you will find the spring coming out of a pipe at about N46.13537 latitude, W121.49271 longitude. In ths summer, water is not easy to find until Crescent Glacier and Lunch Counter.

BIRD CREEK CAMPGROUND: $5.00, good for 5 days parking. Camping Fee is $10.00 per night purchased from the Yakima Indian Nation at the campground.

There is plenty of water around this campground at Bird Lake.

LUNCH COUNTER: There are numerous camping locations that have been built up on the talus slopes below or above Cresent Glacier. The area above Cresent Glacier is known as "Lunch Counter" and immediately below the Suksdorf Ridge. These camping areas have crescent shaped rock walls of varying heights facing the west to block the wind and wind-blown grit.
On weekdays many of these spots are available, however, they may be hard to find during the summer weekends. If you are looking for a way to avoid crowds during heavy-use times of the year, there are a few locations below and to the north of Lunch Counter though the sites are hard to find without prior knowledge. Other people hike up towards Pikers Peak for tiny, rocky sites. Don't forget your "blue bag" as you need to pack out your solid waste above timberline.

Water is usually available in the late spring and summer. In the late summer, the small streams can freeze up at night.

Mountain Conditions

The Mount Adams Ranger District Office is a good resource to call because the rangers hike the area and climb the mountain often and will be able to report conditions in the field. Be prepared for snow storms and bad weather any month of the year on Mt. Adams. A good example of how quickly the weather can change on the mountain comes from a mining-era report showing temperatures above 100°F+ in the afternoon with an incoming storm that dropped the temperature to -48°F only 12 hours later. Additional resources you can check include:

USFS Mount Adams Climbing Conditions Report
Mount Adams Ranger District Office Phone: (509) 395-3400

Washington State Snow Survey
Daily Snow Conditions: (509) 395-3420
Mount Adams Hotline: (360) 891-5015
Search & Rescue (Yakima County Sheriff): (800) 572-0490
Emergencies: 911 or 1 (800) 572-0490

Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center
Avalanche Advisory (WA): (206) 526-6677
Avalanche Advisory (OR): (503) 808-2400

Mt. Adams National Weather Service Forecast

Weather history 28 miles southwest of Mt. Adams for the last 7 days

Weather history 33 miles northwest of Mt. Adams for the last 7 days

Webcam for Trout Lake looking at Mt. Adams