Eruption 30-year anniversary coverageRead the 30-year anniversary coverage from the Vancouver, WA Columbian here
Climbing PermittedFrom October 2004 until July 2006, the Mt. St. Helens was off limits during it's most recent eruption phase. On July 21, 2006, the mountain was reopened for climbing.
For the latest information, please visit the Forest Service "Climbing Mount St. Helens" page or http://vulcan.wr.usgs.gov.
AnimationsThe USGS has posted the following two-image animated GIF to show the change from one day to the next when the current eruption's pinnacle collapsed. Note that you can detect the upward movement of the smooth lava column.
Images from the USGSThe USGS maintains a site with current images of Mt. St. Helens as it is rapidly changing. I hope they don't keep changing the address, but if this link breaks, please let me know! You can find a plethora of fascinating images if you poke around here:
Mt. St. Helens erupts on October 1, 2004
The current Mt. St. Helens VolcanoCam image.
For seven years recreational climbing was banned on Mt. St. Helens. Then in May 1987 it was reopened. Only the south routes are still allowed. Access to the crater is strictly forbidden.
On clear mornings I can see the mountain as I drive out of my neighborhood to work. That view is a constant reminder of the power of nature. I have always regretted that I had moved from Vancouver, WA to Juneau, AK only three months before the eruption. I returned two years after the eruption, but I missed out on all the excitement. When the mountain blew its top, a part of me went with it.
Getting ThereFrom Interstate 5 at Woodland, take the exit for State Highway 503. Drive past Lake Merwin and Yale Lake. Then just after the Swift Reservoir viewpoint, turn left on forest road 83. Follow the signs to Climber's Bivouac, which involves a right turn onto forest road 830.
Red TapePlease read thoroughly this page from the Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument for information about obtaining permits to climb Mt. St. Helens. A permit is required above 4800' on the mountain. I will not attempt to reproduce all of the red tape requirements on this page. The link above leads to the definitive source of this information.
When To ClimbSt. Helens is best climbed during the permit season, with optimal conditions occuring from May through September.
Additional information posted by John: However, don't let winter prevent you from hiking up this stratovolcano. St. Helens is popular from February to early-summer for snowshoe and ski / snowboard summits. A bonus is that you'll get away from the permit quota hassle though you will need a WA or OR Sno-Park permit if you are parking at the Marble Mountain Sno-Park. Check the Books section for Dan Nelson's "Snowshoe Routes : Washington" or Amar Andalkar's Ski Mountaineering and Climbing Site for additional info.
Additional comment posted by ben: Climbing in the winter also means that you can avoid the scree and ash that is the bane of a summer climb - two steps up, one step backsliding.
CampingPlease read this page from the Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument for information about camping near the mountain.
Mountain ConditionsClick here for current weather information.
- Amar Andalkar's Ski Mountaineering and Climbing Site
Routes, photos, links, and information about climbing Mt. St. Helens.
- St. Helens (08/21/2000)
Time Lapse movie of Mt. St. Helens Web cam and other mountains.
- Mount St. Helens via Monitor Ridge
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