Monday, July 30, 2012

Trip Report: A Very Epic Multi-sport Out-and-Back or, How We Pulled Off the "Mt. Adams Bike-Ski-Epic

A sense of adventure is in the Kona rider's blood.  For me, that sense of adventure is applied over a wide range - from disciplined winter training regimens and traveling the globe to race in a coordinated spandex outfit, to scheming up awesome adventures with my best friends over a cold beer...  

While my teammates are off riding across the Gobi Desert in the Mongolia Bike Challenge, I caught a little adventure bug of my own.  Needing a mental re-charge after a long cross country race campaign, it was time to set aside the interval training for something a bit more novel, perhaps something that had not ever been done before.  As if I hadn't had enough "goal-seeking" this year...I needed to pull off a big one, albeit one that could be pulled off over the course of a single day...  

The plan:

  • Ride mountain bikes from Trout Lake to the Bird Creek Meadows trailhead, carrying climbing and ski gear on back 
  • Climb Mt. Adams
  • Ski down
  • Ride home
Again...perhaps it was first completed long ago by a gristly mountain-man on 3-speed clunker and wooden skis, but having grown up in Trout Lake, I've never heard of such an account.

In all, a 47-odd mile journey, nearly 12,000' of climbing, fit with a dusty 17-mile climb with 40 lbs on our backs, clouds of blood-thirsty mosquitoes, roving troupes of mountain goats, glistening snowfields, and lots of sunny blue sky.  

Prepping the gear at my folk's place in Trout Lake
Some intricate packing to stay light, yet prepared enough for a big-commitment day

Realization setting in...

Trip Participants (l-r): Spencer Paxson, Sarah Butsch, Fred Paxson - making fun of ourselves for what we had lined out for the next day... 

Ready with the gadgets to document the trip...indeed, I couldn't resist bringing the Garmin to capture a little data.  I'll be the first to admit I have the cyclist's "data bug".  For all you other dorks out there, I recorded HR for the moving time of the trip.  If you've ever been wondering what the hrTSS score is for a long day riding, climbing, and skiing a big mountain, mine was about 430.  For reference, that is roughly equivalent to 1 (only 1??!) really hard day in the Tour de France.

Bike Snob would say: Contraption Captain
Sarah ready to go at 5:00AM

The journey at daybreak!
The half-way point looming in the distance, a mere ~23 miles off...

Approaching the end of Phase 1 - Bird Creek Meadows trailhead after 17 miles and 3,500' of climbing.  The mosquitoes became worse and worse, requiring that we ride at a solid tempo pace just to keep our blood!

Transition to foot-travel at Bird Creek Meadows

Instant gratification - Hellroaring Canyon Overlook within 20min

Ready to hit the snow, our climb route obscured by the tree in the stop Sunrise and the base of the Mazama Glacier

Sarah rocking the chains across the snow to Sunrise Camp

Still climbing...Cresting the top of the Mazama Glacier

Just below Piker's Peak (False Summit), a BLM survey marker delineating the Yakama Nation Boundary

And just after 7:00hrs of moving time, ~10hrs total trip time, we reach the summit. Mt. Adams, ~12,300'
beginning the journey back down

Dad showing us how it's done on the way down from the summit.  The snow was atrocious for the first 1,000' vert on a direct southern aspect, but it improved to fast, rippled corn on a more easterly aspect by about 11,000' 

Rolling back over the Mazama - be mindful of large bergschrunds and crevasses!

Down towards the traverse below Suksdorf Ridge

Every last drop! a little low on water by the end of the day

back to Terra firma

...the summit quickly shrinking in the distance during the fast cruise back to Trout Lake Valley

and back home before sunset, cold beer and lots of calories waiting
Certainly...a day well spent


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