Sunday, October 9, 2016

Mount Adams Infinity Loop COMPLETE - Only Known Time

Mount Adams Infinity Loop Completed
Only Known Time of 56 hours and 20 minutes

Solo, Unsupported
A Combined Double Summit Traverse And 
Circumambulation Of Mount Adams

Official Start Time - 12:02 PM Saturday, September 24, 2016

Official Finish Time - 08:22 PM Monday, September 26, 2016

Total Distance measured by Garmin eTrex 20 - 60.01 Miles

photo by Gavin Woody / Ultraneering.comby Ras Vaughan

At 12:02 PM on Saturday, September 24th, 2016, I began at the intersection of the Killen Creek Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail and the High Camp Trail on the north side of Mount Adams. This was a three mile approach from my car, so I did not plan on resupplying in between loops, as this would add a six mile out and back. Therefore, the entire Mount Adams Infinity Loop was unsupported. I didn't place any resupply caches or forage or accept trail magic, I carried all my food and gear from the very beginning to the very end, didn't drop off any trash, and I only refilled my water from natural sources.

I had never before set foot on either the North Cleaver or the South Spur routes, but I had lots of route beta from and other sources. The Class 2 scramble up the North Cleaver was fun and interesting and only got challenging when I accidentally veered off the proper route momentarily. I saw three or four other climbers descending as I was ascending.

Summit Number One, 7:00 PM was very cold and wet due to very high (50+ mph) winds and low clouds enclosing the summit. It was too cold and wet and inhospitable to stop for any reason, be it eating or taking pictures. It was growing dark as I traversed the summit. I was the only person on the summit as the sun began to set, and, consequently, the last person down that day. Once I reached the summit I had a GPS track to follow down the South Spur, although this was unnecessary because of the easy to follow boot track and glissade chutes. I hiked and ran through the night, napping briefly at random intervals. 

I completed the first loop and reached the start/finish Killen Creek/PCT/High Camp Trail intersection at 8:00 AM on Sunday, September 25th. I changed out to my daytime layer, repacked my kit, and began my second assent a little before 9:00 AM. The second climb up the North Cleaver was sunny and warm and uneventful. I saw no other climbers during my ascent, and was frequently following my own footprint from the day before.

graphic by Ras/UltraPedestrian

Summit Number Two, 6:15 PM was much sunnier, far less windy, and triumphant in sentiment. It was much more tolerable, so I was able to shoot a short video and take a few photos. Again I was the only person on the summit, and the last person down that day. A surprising amount of snow had melted since the previous evening, leaving the uppermost slopes bare rock. However, I was still able to glissade for about 2,500 feet of the descent.

Once I reached the Round The Mountain Trail I turned East for a mile or so, and then found a spot to lay down and nap for a couple of hours. I started moving again around 3:30 AM on Monday, September 26th.

Bushwhacking & Route Finding Across The Gap was more fun than I had expected, and easier on a technical level. However it was slow going, and for long sections I was only making a mile or so per hour. I saw a large Black Bear in the Hellroaring basin just after sun up. The next basin north was even slower going, sidehilling across scree and moraine. The creek crossings were easier than I had expected, until I came to the Big Muddy. I got stuck here for more than an hour hiking up and down the creek trying to find a safe rock hop to get to the other side. I eventually succeeded, and after another short bushwhack connected with the Highline Trail, putting the end in sight, figuratively. 

I reached the intersection of the Killen Creek Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail and the High Camp Trail for the third time at 08:22 PM on Monday, September 26, 2016, to establish an official Only Known Time of 56 hours and 20 minutes for the Mount Adams Infinity Loop.

photo by Ras/
Summit Number Two, self-portrait.

Facebook/Instagram Updates from the trail during  the Mount Adams Infinity Loop:

What a Blessing to be a Hominid! Give Thanks for Life!

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