Mt. Adams Conditioning

Mount Adams is the second-highest mountain in Washington State.  Adams is part of the Cascade Range, located in a remote wilderness approximately 200 miles (120 km) southeast of Seattle and 70 miles (42 km) northeast of Portland. 

Although there are technical routes on Mt. Adams, the “South Climb” is considered one of the least technical up a cascade volcano with many beginners attempting it.  The main challenge on Adams is the altitude, rock fall, and chance of getting lost in a whiteout.

Adams' asymmetrical and broad body rises 1.5 miles (2.4 km) above the Cascade crest. Its nearly flat summit was formed as a result of cone-building eruptions from separated vents.  

There are several climbing routes on the mountain, ranging from the "non-technical" South Climb, to highly technical routes that require advance skill, experience, and special equipment.   Mt. Adams is a good progression for leading up to a Rainier summit bid.

Because of the high elevation, all climbs have a measure of difficultly and danger. Weather on Mt. Adams can change rapidly. Sudden snowstorms can occur above 6,000 feet elevation at any month of the year. What appears to be a non-technical route can change drastically during these storms. Climbers should always prepare for bad weather and an extended stay on the mountain.   Rock fall is common on this route mostly triggered by climbers above, FitClimb recommends wearing a climbing helmet and it’s important to stay alert and look ahead.  The most popular route is the South Climb from Pikers Peak (False Summit) leading to summit of Mount Adams.  

The South Climb is considered a "non-technical" route, however, ice axes and crampons are recommended year-round.  Another option, via the Adams Glacier- For experienced technical climbers or those with guides ,Crevasses 35-40 degree slopes and heavy rock falls. Helmet, ice axes, crampons, and ropes required.  At the top there's the remains of an old wooden cabin (remains of an old sulfur mine), a small part of it's still intact but it's filled with snow almost year round, at times it's possible to stand on the roof.

Mt. Adams has some of the best and longest glissades in the cascades.  Remember to remove crampons before glissading.

To train for Mt. Adams:

  • Prepare by hiking 6-8 miles per week with 3000-5000 feet of elevation gain.
  • Run 10-14 miles per week.  
  • Focus on building leg strength.
  • Be able to carry a 40 lb pack for a two day climb.

Beginners should give themselves 12 weeks to get in condition, we recommend the FitClimb 12 week Mountaineering Plan.

Free Training plans:
Hiking and Backpacking
6 week beginner plan


General Mountaineering:
Intermediate Plan 12 weeks

Mt. Rainier 12 week plan:

Mount Rainier Training Plan

New! 

8 Month Mountaineering Training & Fitness Plan

Meal Plans:
Backpacking and Climbing Meal Plans

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