Tagged ‘mt adams‘

Mt Adams Southwest Chutes Speed Lap

Earlier this season, Taylor and I walked a really long way to try to ski Mt Adams’ southwest chutes. Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite spring, so we didn’t get to ski the route. April passed, and so did May, and now in early June the conditions are fully ripe for cascades corn harvesting, so I made a quick solo trip to try to nab the route before it melts away.

Mt Adams looking mighty fine.

Mt Adams looking mighty fine.

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Mt Adams Skiing, the Long Way

I’ve been really frustrated with skiing in the Pacific Northwest this year. A big part of my frustration comes from living in Portland, which is not somewhere that you live if skiing is a priority for you. The weather has been the source of the rest of my frustration: week after week we’ve had storms with significant moisture roll through, but temperatures hovered just a few degrees too high. Sure, I’ve gotten a few good days this season, but largely I’ve put in a lot of work to ski some pretty bad snow.

A couple weeks back, I was seriously considering shelving recreational winter skiing in the PNW. Next year, I’d focus on skimo, and I wouldn’t think about going out until corn season, which is the only good thing going around here. Thankfully, before I could make a rash and bitter decision, the weather turned sunny and it started looking like the corn might have arrived.


Based on a report of what sounded like a pretty miserable car-to-car mission on Mt Adams, Taylor and I planned a two-day trip up there to try to ski the Southwest Chutes. Both Taylor and I have skied the South side of Mt Adams a couple of times, including car-to-car efforts both (TR from Peter here), so there was no need to suffer excessively and try to get that done in a day. Instead, the SW Chutes offers a 4000′ fall-line alternative in the 35-degree neighborhood: very appealing.

Image stolen from Skinsanity: Denied on Mt Adams. Annotation is mine. Photo links to original post.

Image stolen from Skinsanity: Denied on Mt Adams. Annotation is mine. Photo links to original post. SW chutes descend SW from the false summit of Mt Adams (Piker’s peak). The South climbing route follows the large snowfield on the right.

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Skiing Pahto (Mt Adams)

Route: Suksdorf Ridge

TH: Cold Springs campground. Road to trailhead is unimproved. High clearance and AWD recommended.

Map: Green Trails Maps 367S. Strava track here.

Stats: Approx. 12.5mi and 6700′ vert car to car.

Gear: Entirely non technical, but crampons and ice axe/whippet recommended.

Saturday was a long day for all of us, but we were determined to rally and ski Mt. Adams (hereafter refered to as Pahto) for the first time. Shortly following a “brutal” race at the Yakima 50k, Ethan and Richard drove three hours to meet me in Trout Lake as stars began pricking through the sky.

Pahto towers over Trout Lake as a Guardian of Serenity

The guardian of serenity towers over Trout Lake.

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Columbia River Gorge: Angel’s Rest to Larch Mt

Spring is in full swing, and that means at least two things:

Trails across the Pacific Northwest are drying and calling out to runners weary of winter mud and wet pavement.

Volcanoes are basking under a hot sun and shine like voluminous diamonds in the eyes of climbers and skiers alike.

Running and skiing typically occupy distinct seasons, but springtime in the Northwest harbors ideal conditions for both. I took advantage of this duality last weekend with some friends of mine. The plan was to climb and ski Mt. Adams on Sunday. The only complication was that Ethan and Richard were racing the Yakima 50k on Saturday, which boasts 10,000′ of climbing. Thus, they demanded I run at least 20 miles and 4000′ on Saturday to even the exhaustion score. Despite a relative lack of fitness for long distances and vert, I consented and drove to the Columbia River Gorge for a long run amidst its new verdure.


Parking/TH: Angel’s Rest Trailhead. Oregon Gorge exit 28. No restrooms at TH. Very busy on sunny weekend days. Go during the week or early in the morning to beat the crowds.

Map: Angel’s Rest to Larch Mt USGS (trail in red). Incomplete Strava track here.

Stats: 22+ miles, 6500′ vertical. Bring water and food. Water refills available from streams/springs after Devil’s Rest (drink at your own risk).

The journey begins with a long and moderately steep climb to Angel’s Rest. The trail was incredibly crowded up to this point, and I did my best to politely weave past hikers. As a runner it’s easy to get annoyed by crowds, but it’s important to remember that the trail belongs to everyone. Plus, it was great to see so many people being active and connecting with nature. If the human race is to make any progress in preserving the integrity of the natural systems upon which we ultimately depend, I believe this is the first step.


Pahto (Mt. Adams) shines bright on the horizon. The next day I would be standing atop her flat head.

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No Excuses Interview Series: Ethan Linck

The No Excuses Interview Series explores the approaches and personalities of athletes who are inspiring in both the quality and consistency of their achievements. They’re real people doing great things. What they do, you can too, if you want it.

Ethan Linck chasing powder on Mt Hood.For part two of the no excuses interview series, we’re joined by Ethan Linck, a West-coast Vermont transplant, mountain runner, and inspiring friend.


Ethan Linck is best known in the Pacific Northwest endurance community for setting the Fastest Known Time (FKT) for an unsupported run around Mt Rainier’s Wonderland Trail (93 miles, over 22,000′ of climbing) last year in 27 hours and 19 minutes.

He has also run around Mt St helens, Mt Hood, the Three Sisters, and placed in several PNW trail races and ultras. Most impressively, he accomplished all of this while a biology student at Reed College. His resume is impressive, and he catalogs his adventures and observations on his blog Beyond the Ranges

A self-described would-be naturalist, he also “nurtures particular interests in the ecology of New Guinea and Melanesia, mountain running, and backcountry skiing. He’s currently spending the winter in Gothic, Colorado”. He joins us by email to talk about what goes into his big endurance efforts,where his naturalism and athletics meet.
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A Letter from Sunrise Camp.

Sometimes, life runs away from you.  Too much this, a little more of that, and next thing you know, the horse has bucked the reins and you don’t know where you’re riding off to. This summer has been a roller-coaster ride for me: running my first ultra, applying to medical school, moving, finding success in work, really learning how to ride a mountain bike, and discovering the need for change in my personal life. For a minute there, it got away from me, and I wondered what the hell I was doing with myself, but thanks to the wonder of epiphany, I found a moment of perspective in which I saw the need for change. While climbing through a lonely forest wet with an early rain, stewing in my effort, I saw that I was trying to do too much, and had given too little thought to what was really important to me.

That which is important to me are these: health, ambition, tribe, and adventure.  I need a powerhouse of a body to be happy, and it has to be well-fed and well-rested. I draw my daily energy from my ambitions: to make a superlative performance in work and sport, and through these, to inspire and help others. In my ambition, I give birth to adventure which sweeps me up and convinces me time and again that we are not cogs in a hopeless machine. And finally, I need a tribe, a community, to surround me and build with me a world in which we help each other to dream and succeed.

Since that mountain bike ride, I’ve made some changes, most of which have meant saying no to those people, commitments, and opportunities that don’t fuel me. It seems callous to say no and for own well-being cut ourselves free of long-held ties, but if with gritted teeth we make the cut too soon we find ourselves floating higher in the water, moving more swiftly towards our goals unburdened.

I am proud of doing less.


When we do less, we can do more more thoroughly. The thoughtless overachiever may check more boxes from the list, but as accomplishments fall by the wayside they’re forgotten as quickly as undergraduate calculus. Better, I think, to choose your tribe and your path and to feel these selectively and deeply.  Those things that we really do imprint themselves on us, and in serving our tribe, we intertwine ourselves with others.

Who is your tribe? Do you surround yourself with the few who inspire you or the many who give you the false confidence of mediocrity? What do you give to the world? For, as my father says, there are no luggage racks on the hearse.  A name is forgotten, but the heart entangled with that of others creates a story that extends well beyond the grave.

As the seasons change, summer into fall, I will be drawing close to me those that I care about. I want to give back to those who make my world so wonderful, and I want to practice improving theirs. I hope that you’ll consider joining me.

To my readers, among those who inspire me.

Sunrise Camp, Mt Adams, WA. 05:45, 8/26/13, moments before sunrise.