I climbed the west ridge of Mount Adams, a Colorado Centennial Peak with an elevation of 13,931'. Mount Adams was my final high 100 peak in the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range. This was the single biggest day I have had for elevation gain since 2013 when I completed the Halo Ridge on Mount of the Holy Cross. I used the Willow Lake approach from the west side of the range. This was my third time to Willow Lake. I hiked past it in 2004 on my way to climb the Kirk Couloir to Kit Carson Peak and Challenger Point. In 2008, a group of us hiked to Willow Lake in early April in order to ice climb the falls on the far side of the lake.
I started hiking in the dark at 3:45 am and made it to Willow Lake at 6:15 am. I took a break, enjoyed the views, and checked my blood sugar level a few hundred feet above the lake. Route-finding is not difficult after leaving the trail and I was on the 12,900' saddle between Mount Adams and Point 13546 at 7:30 am. As I started up the west ridge another party of two aborted their attempt due to vertigo by one of the individuals. I stayed on the ridge for the upper half of the climb, which involved more class 3 scrambling. I reached the summit at 8:40 am. It essentially took me five hours to go approximately five miles and 5,000'.
I got cold quickly on the summit and returned back to the saddle in short order. The descent back to Willow Lake went smoothly also. I layered down at the lake and prepared for the long walk out. There was a lot of activity on the trail and the hike began to wear on me as the miles added up. Positively, I hydrated well all day and didn't bonk. I completed the hike in 8 hours and 15 minutes car-to-car. I stopped at a few breweries on the way home to add to my sticker collection.