North America, United States, Washington, Mt. Adams, Adams Headwall Variation
Mt. Adams, Adams Headwall variation. It is a testament to E1 Nino and an open-minded approach to ice climbing that an interesting new route was enjoyed on the 4th of July. It was made possible by its high altitude, the shade of a northwest face, and a tough young lady with an eye for ice. Anastasia Blagoveshchenskaya enticed me with an e-mail alluding to steep alpine ice and my fondness for new lines on old volcanoes.
We made the long, snowy approach on the 3rd, and climbed the route in a brutal 22-hour day, counting the drive home. I always forget how big these monster volcanoes are. The tiny-looking cliff is actually two pitches.
The whole route is over 3,000 vertical feet, with several technical pitches at the top. After climbing the first half of the Stormy Monday Couloir, we simul-soloed the first steps, then got after the middle pitches. The first was 50m and WI3+. Anastasia tackled the 30m second pitch.
After the middle pitches we struggled to find a way up the overhanging 60m rock band at the top. I began traversing left, hoping to be able to punch through to the summit snow slopes. Eventually I found a way at the end of the cliff. It was an awesome pitch: vertical ice and rock, followed by a short overhang with “good” rime (AI4) and pulling up onto the rim at 11,500’. A great finish to a long ice season.