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Mount Adams South Climb (Lunch Counter Approach)

Difficult
 4.7 (16) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

The South Climb (Lunch Counter Approach) is the least technical route up Mount Adams.


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Map Key

11.8

Miles

18.9

KM

53%

Runnable

12,237' 3,730 m

High

5,563' 1,695 m

Low

6,687' 2,038 m

Up

6,686' 2,038 m

Down

22%

Avg Grade (12°)

96%

Max Grade (44°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Views

A Cascade Volcano Pass is required to use this area and attempt the climb. For information on acquiring permits, visit the Gifford Pinchot National Forest website.

Overview

Mt. Adams, with its summit of 12,276 feet elevation, is the second-highest peak in Washington State and the third-highest peak in the Cascade Range. Summiting this majestic peak is no small feat. However, with the right gear, training, and route, it is possible to do without tackling serious technical challenges. The South Climb is the least technical ascent of the mountain, but what it lacks in technicality, it makes up for in gorgeous views of the entire chain of Cascade Volcanoes.

Need to Know

You'll want to download the Trail Run Project mobile app before you go, as there's no cell coverage in the area and a proper GPS track to guide your way will be helpful.

A high-clearance vehicle is strongly recommended to access the South Climb Trailhead near the old Cold Springs Campground. Be sure to take the road nice and slow, as it is incredibly narrow and rutted—A car coming the other way will prove a challenge.

All climbers need to be prepared to deal with a wide variety of weather, snow, and rock conditions. The route can deviate drastically depending on the weather conditions.

Description

The trail follows switchbacks in the woods for about a mile. After 1.5 miles, the route splits in one straight and steep trail or another a little bit less steep. Both trails join again at the Lunch Counter (base camp for people spending the night on the mountain). After that, there are no trail or trail markers, so just follow the bootpack (if it's available) to Pikers Peak.

Pikers Peak is a false summit that can take a few hours to reach from the Lunch Counter. Before Pikers Peak, you might find a rock formation on the right where you would like to stop to get some snacks and be out of the wind. After reaching Pikers Peak, you'll see the summit less than two miles away. Continue following the bootpack to the summit and your reward!

Contacts

Land Manager: USFS - Gifford Pinchot

Shared By:

Napo GV

Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 16 votes

#509

Overall
  4.7 from 16 votes
5 Star
75%
4 Star
19%
3 Star
6%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#43

in Washington

#509

Overall
129 Views Last Month
6,800 Since Sep 10, 2017
Difficult

0%
0%
0%
0%
69%
31%

Photos

Pikers Peak panorama.
Jul 25, 2020 near White S…, WA
Camping at Lunch Counter the night before ascending Mt Adams
Apr 7, 2018 near White S…, WA
Mount Adams south climb trail
Jul 16, 2018 near White S…, WA
View of Pikers Peak from the lower section of the trailhead
Sep 11, 2017 near White S…, WA
Climbing from the Lunch Counter. If you don't wish to climb on snow, it is perfectly feasible to scramble up the rock to the left of the snowfields.
Jul 25, 2020 near White S…, WA
Summit hut.
Jul 25, 2020 near White S…, WA

Weather


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Check-Ins

Aug 4, 2019
Chris Leonetti
Jul 23, 2018
Nick Hoernle
Great climb. Summited at 10am after a 3h departure. Glissading on the way down was excellent. 13.6mi