After years of discussion, the U.S. Forest Service is expected to decide in March whether to limit the number of climbers using the popular South Climb route on Mount Adams.
If a permit system is adopted, it likely would reduce the number of climbers from 5,300 annually to about 3,300, a 38 percent drop.
Permits might begin as early as this summer.
South Climb begins at Cold Springs camp northeast of Trout Lake and leads up the southeast side of the peak to the 12,276-foot elevation summit. It requires considerably less technical skill than other routes on Mount Adams or other Northwest peaks.
“It is not uncommon on summer weekends for 300 climbers a day to form a near-continuous stream heading for the summit,” said Mary Bean, wilderness manager for the Mount Adams Ranger District.
South Climb is in the 47,270-acre Mount Adams Wilderness. Details of a South Climb permit system have not been determined.