Mount Adams rises above the town of Crestone, in a region of the Sangre de Cristo mountains that contains some of the most impressive summits in the state. Many climbers and peak baggers are familiar with the local 14ers— the Crestones and Kit Carson— but if you’re heading to the area with skiing in mind, Mount Adams should be at the top of your list.
As with most peaks in the area, the trailheads are low and the approaches long. All four sides of this pyramidal mountain are steep, and with the right spring snowpack, there are ski options on nearly every aspect. And they’re all fairly committing.
We approached Mount Adams from the west, via South Crestone Lake. From just above the lake the triangular Northwest Face comes into view and presents several options for climbing and skiing, either on ridges or directly up its face. We chose the latter, the NW aspect of the direct face wouldn’t get sun until the afternoon, so we had time to make the long approach (5100 vertical feet from the trailhead) before the snow softened.
We anticipated Adams to be one of the more serious peaks on the Centennial list, and that proved to be the case. It was nearly 1500 vertical feet of firm, steep snow, which thanks to the wind didn’t soften a whole lot for the ski. But it was a gorgeous day, and an awesome summit with massive views.