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St Helens

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St Helens

Postby jwel » Mon Feb 22, 2010 10:42 pm

I am thinking about using St Helens to acclimate before a summit attemp of Mt Hood 4 days later. Is it typical to have access to climbers bivouac without 4 wheel drive the 2nd week of May? I made it to the Hogsback last May and again got headache, nausia :oops: . Four days later I was at Camp Muir on Rainier and no headache or nausia. Never felt better. :D
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Postby OJ Loenneker » Tue Feb 23, 2010 1:43 am

The road to climbers Bivouac is currently closed for the season (gated) because they do not plow that road. You have to climb from the Marble Mountain Sno-Park.
When the road is open to Climbers Bivouac it is a pretty well graded dirt road that pretty much any car should be able to go up. But the Climbers Bivouac is pretty low in elevation compared to the highest road on Mt. Hood. I guess if you climbed it a few time that might get you some aclimitizing, but really both these mountains are not that high in elevation. You might be better off figuring out why the elevation is giving you problems. For instance if you are not hydrated properly, and have not eaten any food, the effects of altitude tends to get more severe.

Also considering the amount of snow this weekend on St. Helens, the road to climbers Bivouac might open by may.
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Postby BCJ » Tue Feb 23, 2010 9:25 pm

Climbing St. Helens four days before Hood really won't do much for you as far as adjusting to the altitude goes. It is a good warm-up, though. More important is to make sure you hydrate well in the days leading up to the climb and then make sure you stay hydrated while on the mountain.

Another common factor with nausea on Hood is the fact that you start getting the sulphur smell from the Devil's Kitchen around the time you near the Hogsback and that is often enough to give you the sick feeling when coupled with the altitude.

My climbing partner gets nausea a lot because he never drinks enough. Enjoy your climb!
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Postby jwel » Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:03 pm

I live in Eastern N.C. almost below sea level. I thought that if I go ahead and get sick on ST Helens. Then 4 days later I should be OK to climb Hood. On my last attempt, I carb loaded for three days at Burgerville and ate a pasta dinner at Davincis in Milwaukie,Or. I had plenty of water. I think (AMS) is going to happen any way. Thank's for the tip about Marble MTN sno park. Cant wait to set foot on PDX soil again!
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Postby jwel » Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:12 pm

I have thought about the sulfur fumes also. That might be a factor indeed. Thank's for pointing this out BCJ.
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Postby dskoon » Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:20 pm

As mentioned above, not sure climbing MSHelens 4 days ahead of time will help that much with acclimatization, but, imo, it also couldn't hurt. Not to mention, just the climbing itself. I think doing anything like that, at a bit of altitude, close to another climb, is a good idea, so long as you don't wear yourself out for the intended climb.
Good luck!
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Postby Snowslogger » Wed Feb 24, 2010 1:00 am

If you really want to acclimatize more, it might be better to stay an extra day at Timberline lodge (6,000ft) or thereabouts, or camp higher than that (top of ski area at 8,500 or 9,000). Climbing St. Helens up and down you probably wouldn't be above 5,000 or 6,000 feet for more than a couple hours at best). Cheers.
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Postby BCJ » Wed Feb 24, 2010 1:02 am

jwel wrote:I live in Eastern N.C. almost below sea level. I thought that if I go ahead and get sick on ST Helens. Then 4 days later I should be OK to climb Hood. On my last attempt, I carb loaded for three days at Burgerville and ate a pasta dinner at Davincis in Milwaukie,Or. I had plenty of water. I think (AMS) is going to happen any way. Thank's for the tip about Marble MTN sno park. Cant wait to set foot on PDX soil again!


Not sure what your plans look like, but heading down to South Sister and camping on top would certainly help more than going up and down St. Helens. The problem with using a Stl Helens climb for getting acclimatized is that you just go up and down and don't spend enough time at altitude to really make a difference (the altitude isn't that high anyway). Spending the night up high will have more of an impact. You could always do a little hike up to Cooper Spur, Yocum Ridge, McNeil Point, Paradise Park or Barrett Spur and camp up there for a night or two and that might help a little. Those places will still have some snow in May so you'll have to know the route or have a GPS track.
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Postby calebEOC » Wed Feb 24, 2010 1:18 am

Diamond Peak by Eugene would be a fun may camping trip also. Pioneer Gulch is accessible that time of year.
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Postby jwel » Thu Feb 25, 2010 12:47 am

Thank's for the info twoshuzz. I will consider all that was mentioned. Lookin forward to some of that fresh salmon and halibut when I arrive in the PNW. Maybe a Marionberry milkshake from one of those Hood river produce stands.
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