Mt. Adams Climbing Conditions Report

Climbing Update for 08/212/2020:

Passes to climb Mt. Adams are available online at 

A pass must be carried on your person at all times AND be placed in the windshield of your vehicle. Print two copies or have one downloaded on your phone.

Search And Rescue

Mt Adams Safety Alert: Forest Service personnel are limited on Mt. Adams for the 2020 season, and response times may be longer than normal. Please keep this in mind when deciding whether or not to purchase a climbing pass this year. Yakima County and the Mt. Adams Ranger District are working closely together to protect volunteers, employees, and visitors. Please make conservative choices, carry emergency gear, and plan for a self-rescue. Stay within sight and shouting distance of each member of your group; do not split-up. Keep at least one cell phone per group fully charged so that communication may be maintained in the event of a search and/or rescue. If an incident occurs and self-rescue is not feasible, call 911.


Human Waste Carry-out Bags:

Visitors climbing Mt. Adams must pack out their human waste in human waste carry-out bags.  They are provided for free at the South Climb Trailhead and in front of the Mt. Adams Ranger Station. During this time of concern regarding the spread of COVID-19 we ask that visitors please dispose of their human waste bags at home in order to protect other visitors as well as Forest Service employees.

Current Conditions: South Climb Route

Snow Pack:

Consistent snow is currently found around 8500 ft well above Crescent Glacier Headwall.

Climbers should note the large cedar posts mounted in rock cairns for route finding from the trail's end at 8500ft down to the South Climb Parking Area.

Climbers should pay close attention where the main snowfield ends around 8500ft as well as to the traverse onto and off Crescent Ridge. This is the ridgeline west of Morrison Creek and directly adjacent to and west of Cresent Glacier. The trail ascends the ridge at about 7400ft elevation. Do not simply follow footprints. Waypoint these locations if traveling with a GPS device or app and look for the cedar posts. 

Glissading below Lunch Counter has resulted in near-fatal accidents and is strongly discouraged at this time. 

On warm, sunny weather days with low wind, the snow pack is firm and icy in the morning, softening in the afternoon. Due to increasing snow melt and warm storm systems, icy patches may be found anywhere along the route. On cooler, windier and/or stormy days icy conditions have persisted throughout the day on all aspects of the mountain.

Crampons, ice ax, helmet, and mountaineering boots are mandatory gear requirements for the climb in all seasons.

A large band of loose rock and scree has melted out on the South Face at about 10,600ft elevation. Climbers should wear helmets and be aware of those above and below them when ascending this band, yelling rock if any are dislodged. Do not glissade in the snow above this rock band. It is narrow, full of rocks and overlaps with the path of ascending climbers. 

Glissading can be done safely below this rock band if the snow is soft, the path is clear of rocks, debris, and other climbers, and if those glissading have an ice axe and know how to use it. 

If it is icy enough to merit the use of crampons, glissading is dangerous at best and not appropriate. Glissading in the glissade trenches is dangerious at best and not recommended at this time. If glissading, choose a path well away from other climbers that does not end in a rock band.

The path up the summit block to the summit is snow free and requires ascending and descending via loose rock and scree.

Skiing and slpit-boarding is discouraged at this time as the snow conditions on the South Face and Southwest Chutes have deteriorated and the route is becoming increasingly busy. A collision would likely result in a rescue, and rescue services are limited to non-existent.  The SW Chutes are not skiable at this time. The South Face is strongly discouraged as large sections of rock and scree have melted out along the entire route, sections of snow are largely sun-cupped, and icy patches persist.


Thunderstorm systems continue to move through the region, often following warm, clear days. Climbers should be aware that forecasts for the surrounding area do not necessarily reflect mountain weather. The snow pack during these storm systems has remained icy, not softening at all. Winter condtions have been present during these storms in terms of high winds, sub-freezing temperatures, snowfall, whiteout conditions, and hypothermia risk. Lunch Counter is not a safe place to be during a thunderstorm. As long as these conditions persist, travelers should select and mark their route carefully, consider turn-around points, choose well-protected campsites below tree-line, and proceed with caution in the burn area low on the mountain due to falling snags.


Water is running relatively reliably at Lunch Counter. Morrison Creek is flowing during the night and early morning. 

Bird Creek Meadows:

Yakama Nation lands in the Bird Creek Meadows area will be open on week days only from 7am to 6pm, September 14th-October 5th, 2020. There is a $5/day permit required for travel on Yakama Nation lands within the Tract D recreation area. Permits may be purchased at the entrance near Mirror Lake. 

Road Conditions

The 8040 Rd. is completely melted out and driveable to the South Climb Trailhead.  When parking please be sure to not block or partially block other vehicles, the roadway, turnarounds, or trailhead parking area loops .Doing so will prevent an ambulance and other emergency vehicles from accessing the trailhead in the event of an emergency. Park farther down the road if necessary in a pull-off well off the road surface. 

Know Before You Go:

Review forecasts by the National Weather Service and any special postings by the NW Weather and Avalanche Center prior to any mountaineering.

For questions regarding the latest information on conditions, please call:

Mt. Adams Ranger Station at 509-395-3402.

Climbing Information:

Review the Mt. Adams Summit webpage for climbing information including: permits, safety, and wilderness regulations.