Party of 4 made up this ascent, 2 from Nevada, including myself, 1 from Georgia and 1 from Alaska. From the Paradise upper parking lot take the Skyline Trail to Pan Point, continue to Pebble Creek and follow the Muir Snowfield to Camp Muir at 10,100 ft. At Camp Muir, there is a ranger station, guide hut, client hut and toilet facilities. We took a rest day here and enjoyed the camaraderie, even had a gourmet meal. We chose to camp outside at Muir and did not even set up our tents. The moon and stars were great. The views from Muir out at Mount Saint Helens and Adams were spectacular. At about 1:30AM, we took off from Camp Muir, crossed the Cowlitz Glacier to Cathedral Gap and continued along the scree ridge to the Ingraham Glacier and Ingraham Flats at 11,100 ft. Another climbing camp exists here, but I do not see the need if you are in any shape at all. The sunrise soon followed and was postcard perfect.
Gain the cleaver on a ledge system of crumbling rock 300 ft above Ingraham Flats. Watch out for ice-fall from the Ingraham while accessing the lower cleaver. While on the cleaver, be conscientious of other parties that are moving more rapidly or slowly. This is an extremely dangerous area with a high potential for rock-fall. One good size rock took a piece off of my helmet and if it would have been a direct hit, I would not be writing this with normal concentration. We ascended the rocky/snowy cleaver to 12,300 ft. From here, only 2 of us continued on. Matt and I climbed the Ingraham Glacier to the summit, negotiating crevasses and unstable snow bridges. You will reach the crater rim at 14,150 ft. It's about a 30 to 45 minute round trip walk to the true summit (14,411 ft) and climber register. Great day even made a cellular phone call home from the crater.
We descended all the way out to the parking lot and spent a night at the Paradise Hotel. My pictures are buried somewhere. Someday, I will find them and scan them onto the site.
""You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know.""