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12,280 Feet Later: Reedies Summit Mt. Adams

By David James ’19 on July 18, 2017 10:36 AM

PEAK EXPERIENCE. Students Zachary “Beadle” Beadle ’19, Edward Zhu ’19, Indra Boving ’19, Tiffany Thio ’19, Katie McPherson ’18, and Sumner Walters ’20 stand tall on the top of Mount Adams. Mount Rainier (far right) successfully photobombs.

Six bold Reedies. Six long miles. And 12,280 unforgiving feet.

The Reed Outing Club mounted an expedition to Mt. Adams last week, reaching the peak of the majestic stratovolcano after a two-day hike that spanned six miles and an elevation gain of 6,700 feet.

The hardy crew included Katie McPherson ’18, Tiffany Thio ’19, Indra Boving ’19, Edward Zhu ’19, Zachary Beadle ’19, and Sumner Walters ’20.

Their journey began 9:30am Saturday when they set off from the trailhead for their first destination, a frozen bench on the south flank of the mountain called the “Lunch Counter.” After camping at the Lunch Counter overnight, the intrepid bunch arose at 7:45am the next morning to begin the final ascent. (The altitude caused one mountaineer to lose their breakfast; nonetheless, they carried on.)

The students had originally planned to hold a summer snowball fight on the summit, but upon reaching the peak, they were too tired and hungry, and decided to munch on some banana bread instead.

After drinking in the spectacular views of Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens, Mount Jefferson, and Mount Hood, they began to wend their weary way back down.

“I wanted to time it so that the snow would be nice and soft for our descent,” said Tiffany. She also knew that if conditions were right, the climbers might be able to execute a maneuver known as a glissade (non-climbers call it sliding on your butt) down an outcropping named Pikers Peak. Tiffany even made herself a skirt out of an emergency blanket in an effort to reduce friction and glissade super-fast.

The glissade was epic, and the Reedies slid roughly 2000 unbroken vertical feet. Unfortunately, Tiffany’s skirt experiment was not a success. It ripped going down the first chute and she had to chase slivers of blanket before they were blown off the glacier. “I’ll definitely just stick with rain pants next time,” she said.

After their descent, the group climbed back into their van and headed home via a long detour to avoid a fire.

”I definitely plan to do it again!” says Tiffany, who has also climbed Mount St. Helens and Colorado’s Mount Massive and won the 2017 Mary Barnard Poetry Prize. “I want to try other routes on Mount Adams as my mountaineering skills improve.”

Interested in going on an adventure? Stop by the Outdoor Education Center, located on level three in the Sports Center, check out the gear, and start planning your trip.