I had been looking forward to this day for weeks. Last year I successfully summited three of Washington’s volcanoes. That leaves only two left in order for me to complete all five, and Adams would be one of those two. Mt Adams is the second tallest peak in Washington State standing at over 12,000 feet tall. The plan was to get up before sunrise and do the entire climb in one day, 12 miles with almost 7,000 feet of elevation gain. Naturally Mike and I slept in later than we had planned (this seems to be a recurring pattern for us…), just in time to see the sunrise, then hit trails.
We couldn’t have asked for better weather, it was a perfect blue bird day. This made the views incredible. We could see all the surrounding peaks and miles of land sprawling below us.
Because it was so late in the season, we really didn’t encounter any snow until we hit almost 8,000 feet. Unfortunately the snow was so melted out at this point it had formed moguls, making the trek much more difficult and slower than I had expected.
As we climbed higher in elevation, Kayuh began losing energy and becoming lethargic. I had done research on signs of altitude sickness in dogs and I knew this was one of them. When we reached 11,000 feet she finally crashed, laying down in my lap and refusing get up.
We were so close, just 1,000 feet away from the summit. We considered putting her in our packs and continuing on, but decided against it. If it was altitude sickness, going higher would only make it worse. We made the heart wrenching decision to turn around.
The sun began to set as we headed back towards the trail head, bringing a beautiful end to our journey. Not summiting is always an internal struggle for me. It happens, there are so many variables when it comes to mountaineering, and I constantly have to remind myself that it is not a failure. It leaves me with a restless feeling, a feeling of dissatisfaction, but in the end I would much rather have my puppy safe then get a summit. The mountain isn’t going anywhere, and I’ll be back for it next year!
Not into reading blog posts? Follow #MyClimbForACure on Instagram.
Before attempting to climb Mount Adams, please visit WTA.com for hike difficulty, gear requirements, and recent trip reports.