Leah Borns, daughter of Borns LLC’s founder Randy Borns, recently summited Mount Adams, the second highest mountain in the state of Washington at 12,281 ft. Adams is a member of the Cascade Volcanic Arc, and is one of the arc’s largest volcanoes, located in a remote wilderness approximately 34 miles east of Mount St. Helens. Ms. Borns considers this climb a good warm-up for Mount Rainier which lies northwest of Mount Adams. Rainier is in the Cascade Range and the highest mountain in the state at 14,411 ft.
An endurance athlete, Ms. Borns is pursuing an MBA as well as studying coding and programming. She provides backup support to the Borns LLC website design team. Ms. Borns still finds time to explore the trails and mountains of the Pacific Northwest. “I started trail running along the shores of Lake Michigan with my parents when I was about 8. I also did a lot of backpacking and multi-day bicycle trips with my family so, outdoor endurance sports are part of my makeup.”
Ms. Borns was a student-athlete and distance runner for 4 years while attending Grand Valley State University (GVSU). She was on the GVSU track & field team as well as the cross country team. Both of these women’s squads consistently ranked in the top 3 among NCAA Division II schools in the U.S.
Ms. Borns summited Mount Adams with two friends from Portland, OR, where she currently resides. Here she shares an account of the climb:
• We arrived at the trailhead at around 3 pm and hiked up from 5,600 feet of elevation to about 8,000 feet to set up camp.
• At basecamp we enjoyed a meal and watched the sun set behind a cliff. We crawled into our tents around 9:30 pm for a few hours of sleep.
• We woke at 3:30 am to a beautiful full moon and a clear star-filled sky. We could see the headlights of vehicles arriving at the trailhead below where we started 12 hours earlier. The blinking red lights on the towers of a wind turbine farm in the distance was a very cool sight.
• A hearty meal of instant potatos and vegan sausage kickstarted our morning, We packed up and were climbing by 4:30 am.
• The sun was rising and the sky turned from baby blue to pale pink to fuchsia. Mount Hood was glowing red in the distance to the south.
• The sun slowly lit up the snow which also heated up pretty quick. There was an amazing amount of dead bugs in the snow on the way up.
• Eventually the mountain was too steep and we had to put on our crampons. Made it to the false summit around 8 am and Summited by 9:15ish.
• The view from the summit of Mount Adams was beautiful and so clear we could see Mount Hood, Mount Jefferson, Mount Rainier, and some smaller peaks. It was very windy and cold on top.
• After plenty of picture-taking, we removed our crampons from our boots, packed our poles, pulled out our ice axes, and started our decent by glissading*.
• The snow had heated up and turned to ‘corn’ which was incredibly fast. Glissading is a fun and scary yet efficient way to get down the mountain.
• We got back down to camp around noon. It was super warm and the people who were hiking wore shorts and t-shirts.
• We packed up camp and made a slow descent back to the trail head with a stop at the Morrison Creek drainage to filter some amazingly cold water.
• We arrived at the trailhead around 3 pm and headed into White Salmon for a for a well-deserved beer at Everybody’s Brewing.
• From the trailhead it’s 6 miles to the summit with 6,700 vertical feet of elevation gain.
* Glissading: to descend down a steep slope of snow or ice via a controlled slide on one’s feet or buttocks with the support of an ice axe)