Only Known Time Attempt
Circumambulation Of Mount Adams
by Ras Vaughan
My only experience of Mount Adams is sleeping high on its shoulder along the PCT during the final night of my Unsupported Washington Traverse two years ago. Beginning the morning of Saturday, September 24th I hope to get to know Mount Adams much better by attempting the Mount Adams Infinity Loop, accruing approximately 50 miles and 20,000+ feet of elevation gain in the process. As of this moment, there seems to be a weather window for Saturday through Tuesday, but with some high winds on the summit Saturday; so decent conditions, but less than perfect, as is to be expected, and success is far from guaranteed. This project presents a lot of questions marks, and I'm excited about answering a few of them, regardless of how it plays out.
On the morning of Saturday, September 24th, 2016, I will begin at the intersection of the Pacific Crest Trail and the High Camp Trail on the north side of Mount Adams. I will climb the North Cleaver, traverse the summit, descend the South Spur, and run and hike around the base of the mountain clockwise on the PCT back to my starting point. I will then once again climb the North Cleaver, traverse the summit, descend the South Spur, and then run and hike around the base of the mountain counterclockwise back to my starting point by linking together the Round The Mountain Trail, Bird Meadow Trail, Trail Of The Flowers, bushwacking The Gap, and finally the Highline Trail back to the PCT and my starting point. I plan to travel solo and unsupported, carrying all of my food and gear from start to finish, picking up no resupplies or caches, and only taking water from natural sources. The bushwack section is a big wildcard as far as guesstimating time goals. I would be very happy with a 48 hour finish, but expect it may be more in the 60 hour range, especially if I hit The Gap during the night and need to wait until daylight to aid in route finding. Although not on the same scale as Mount Rainier, this is another project that will be a blend of fastpacking, ultrarunning, and some light mountaineering; a mixed discipline which Gavin has dubbed Ultraneering.
In researching and preparing for my 2015 Cowlitz Connection project with Richard Kresser (detailed HERE, HERE, and HERE), I learned of a dream project of legendary climber Chad Kellogg which he was never able to attempt due to his untimely passing in a climbing accident on Mount Fitz Roy. He called it the Infinity Loop. The idea was to traverse the summit of Mount Rainier, run the Wonderland trail back to the starting point in one direction, traverse the summit again, and then run the Wonderland the opposite direction back to the starting point, thus tracing a figure eight, or an infinity sign. This past July, Gavin Woody and I had the honor of bringing Chad's vision to life and completing the Mount Rainier Infinity Loop (detailed HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE). The Infinity Loop helped me achieve a long sought after goal regarding Mount Rainier: having as complete an experience of the Mountain as possible in a single effort. The Mount Adams Infinity Loop is an experiment to see how well that approach translates to another of the Pacific Northwest's iconic volcanoes.
My progress can be tracked on my SPOT transponder beginning sometime on the morning of Saturday, September 24th, 2016:
SPOT Transponder Tracking Page
On the rare occasions when I have cell reception I will post updates to Facebook and Instagram:
What an amazing time to be Alive! What a Blessing to be a Hominid!