Mt. Adams Summit

Area Status: Open
Mt Adams covered in snow and reflected in Tahklahk Lake

At an elevation of 12,276 feet, Mt. Adams is the second highest peak in Washington; however, with an 18-mile wide diameter it is the largest volcano by bulk in the state. It supports over 10 active glaciers that provide water to the forests, streams, and meadows below. These glaciers, along with adjoining ridges and permanent snow fields, sport many climbing routes of varying difficulty to the summit. All require proficiency in alpine mountaineering, route-finding, and use of ice axe and crampons. Some require more advanced skills in navigating crevasses, bergschrunds, ice falls, rock headwalls, and other complex terrain. All involve a significant degree of inherent danger and risk. Be prepared and know your limits.

Weather on Mt. Adams can change rapidly. Sudden snowstorms can occur above 6,000 feet elevation at any month of the year, severely limiting visibility and increasing risk of hypothermia. The difficulty of a route can change drastically during these storms. Your safety requires preparation and good judgment. Monitor conditions and weather forecasts by the National Weather Service and any special postings by the NW Weather and Avalanche Center .

A Mt. Adams Climbing Pass is required from May 1st to September 30th for anyone age 16 and older traveling above 7000ft elevation on Mt. Adams, even if not attempting the summit. 

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 when the trailhead becomes accessible by car and in front of the Mt. Adams Ranger Station earlier in the season..

The remoteness and wilderness character of Mt. Adams led to its designation as a wild area under the Forest Service U2 regulations in 1942 and ultimately to its inclusion in the Wilderness Act of 1964. This designation includes the summit of Mt. Adams, where restrictions apply for those seeking adventure on its higher ridges and summit as well as those enjoying the meadows, forest, and lakes below.

Only the western half of Mt. Adams lies within the Mt. Adams Wilderness managed by the U.S. Forest Service. The eastern half of Mt. Adams lies within the Yakama Nation Indian Reservation and is managed by the tribe. The portion of the mountain on Yakama Nation lands is largely closed to recreation. Exceptions are routes ascending the Mazama Glacier and hiking in the Bird Creek Meadows area, though only at certain times of the year. Contact the Yakama Nation for information regarding closures.

Detailed information on climbing routes is available from a number of climbing guidebooks. Consult these as you plan your trips.

Current Conditions: Mt. Adams Climbing Report

Other helpful information:

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Conditions can change throughout the year from accumulating snow in the winter to mostly snow free in the summer. To check out current conditions please view the latest Mt. Adams Climbing Conditions Report, updated on weekly during the permit season May 1st thru September 30th. For more information contact Mt. Adams Ranger District 509-395-3402.
Permit Info: Wilderness permits are required for entry into Mt. Adams Wilderness. The self-issuing permits are free and are available at trailheads and at Forest Service Ranger Stations. A climbing pass may be used as your Wilderness permit between May 1 and Sept. 30.
Open Season: Year-round
Usage: Medium-Heavy
  • Review Wilderness restrictions that apply.
  • Group size limit is 12. Entering or being in wilderness with a group consisting of a combination of persons, and pack or saddle stock exceeding 12 in total number is prohibited (36 CFR 261.58(f)).
  • Building, maintaining, or using a campfire, within Mt. Adams Wilderness is prohibited:
    • Above the Round-The-Mountain Trail #9 from the Gifford Pinchot National Forest Boundary west to Pacific Crest Trail #2000;
    • Above Pacific Crest Trail #2000 north to the intersection of Highline Trail #114;
    • Above trail #114 north and east to the Gifford Pinchot Forest Boundary. (36 CFR 261.52(a)
    • View map (.pdf)
  • Motorized/mechanized use is prohibited: Including of use of drones, hang-gliders, snowmobiles and mountain bikes.
  • Pack out all solid wastes.
Closest Towns: Trout Lake, WA
Restroom: Climbers must pack out their human waste.
Passes: A Climbing Pass is required if you are climbing above 7,000 feet elevation in Mt. Adams Wilderness, between May 1 and September 30. Pass only valid for the duration of the climb, beginning on the date reserved. It must be carried on your person at all times.
Some trailheads require a valid Recreation Pass. (A valid Climbing Pass parking stub may be used at trailheads requiring a pass within Mt. Adams Wilderness between May 1 and Sept. 30.)  
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center: Mt. Adams Ranger District, (509) 395 3400  
  • Avalanche Advisory: Oregon (503) 808 2400; Washington (206) 526 6677
  • Yakima County Sheriff: (800) 572 0490 (Search & Rescue)
  • Trout Lake Emergency Medical Technicians & First Responders: 911

General Information


Popular Trailheads for climbing:

Trailhead: South Climb - access to Trail #183 South Climb.

Trailhead: Killen Creek - access to Trail #113 Killen Creek.


For directions to other trailheads accessing Mt. Adams, please see Mt. Adams Wilderness

General Notes:

Mountain Safety

Read current climbing report for alerts and latest conditions.


  • Leave your itinerary and estimated time of return with a third party, but please make sure they understand that it is very common for climbing Mt. Adams to take longer than anticipated.
  • Carry the ten essentials including first aid supplies.
  • ALWAYS carry crampons and an ice axe. Know how to use them.


  • Remove crampons before glissading (this is a common cause of lower leg fractures)
  • Choose a path without rocks below (The best route may not be in the “glissade chutes” formed by other visitors).
  • Always maintain control of your speed; rocks, debris, and other climbers may be below.

Stick together:

  • 50% of search and rescues on Mt. Adams involve parties of both novice and experienced climbers who have separated from each other.

Check multiple forecasts and be prepared for unforeseen changes in weather:

  • Lunch counter, and any area above tree-line, is not a safe place to be in a thunderstorm
  • White-outs can occur at any time, even mid-summer

Know your route:

  • There are no maintained, or marked, trails to the summit. All routes require orienteering in snow, rock, and ice.
  • Map/Compass/GPS are essential to route finding. If carrying a GPS, leave waypoints along your ascent to follow on the way down.
  • Turn around occasionally and orientate yourself as you climb in order to know what the return looks like.

Avalanche activity is always of concern, especially on the steeper slopes of Mt. Adams. This includes the Southwest Chutes and slopes near the Avalanche and White Salmon glaciers

Dangerous conditions may also result from snow bridges, cornices, rockfall and icefall. Loudly yell "rock" if you dislodge a rock to warn any other climbers below you.


Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Mountain Climbing

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


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