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Permits Pondered For Mount Adams Climbing

Following in the steps of Mount Rainier National Park, The U.S. Forest Service is considering a permit system beginning in 1996 to limit the number of climbers using the popular South Climb route on Mount Adams.

There have been concerns for years about the number of people using the route and the general lack of solitude in the center of the 47,270-acre wilderness area, said John Johnson, a Vancouver forestry consultant hired to complete an environmental assessment.

South Climb begins at Cold Springs campground and leads up the southeast side of the peak to the 12,276-foot summit. It requires considerably less technical skill than other routes on Mount Adams or other Northwest peaks. It is the most popular wilderness destination in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

Use on the South Climb increased from 4,625 climbers in 1992 to 5,770 last year, an increase of 25 percent.

The schedule calls for the Forest Service to make a decision by early this summer, then use the climbing season to inform the public about changes for 1996.