17 miles of hiking • 5500' elevation gain • 2 nights
Big Adventure on the east side of Mt Adams. A friend and I attempted to hike the Ridge of Wonders from Bench Lake to Sunrise Camp. It was extremely hot on our fist day. My friend's pack was too heavy. We ran out of water on the dry ridge. We began to get thirsty looking at all the waterfalls shooting over Hellroaring Canyon (there were a few snowfields left to melt if it came to that). At about 7000 feet we came to a section that was just not passable in our condition. If we had smaller packs and more energy we would have attempted it, but we decided to drop down into the canyon. I had done a similar trip three years ago, descending from Lil Mt Adams to Heart lake. However the gully we descended on Friday was treacherous and we had to take off our packs and down climb a few sketchy scramble sections. Anyhow, we dropped 1500 feet down to the Hellroaring Canyon floor and it was just beautiful! Our campsite for the night was spectacular.
On Saturday we climbed out of the canyon on the southwest side through an idyllic hanging meadow. I set up my camp in an alpine wonderland on the canyon rim and my friend went home. I decided to head up to the Mazama glacier. Two Mazama climbing groups were camped at Sunrise Camp. One had just summited, the other was preparing to climb the next morning. Saw a goat herd and some marmots.
The next morning I awoke to sunrise lighting up the mountain and waterfalls, and spied another goat herd on the bench above me getting up out of bed. Watching them graze the hillside as I had my oatmeal and coffee, well it just doesn't get any better than that. I can die now. What a great trip.