Mount Saint Helens Climber's Log

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Snowslogger - Oct 16, 2023 9:58 am Date Climbed: Apr 21, 2019

Another Ski Trip

Went up with Michael for a spring ski - nice snow. Stopped at the crater rim as we got a late start and skiing was our goal more than getting to the highest point. The last part felt like a slog, but a very fun day!

mtzfamily - Aug 21, 2023 10:37 am Date Climbed: Aug 13, 2023

Useful Climbing info  Sucess!

The latest permitting system/info can be found here:

We got to the boulders in the dark and followed the posts. When the trail makes a right hand turn and follows the ridge, I recommend you not follow the boulder field up. Instead there is a trail on the left side of the ridge line, quite a bit lower than the ridge, maybe 50 yards. Find the trail and follow it. The trail parallels the ridge line until it hits a boulder field you must cross. It will save you time and effort traversing boulders you do not need to go across.

Weather was perfect, a bit windier than when we did it 12 years ago. Consequently most of the time at the rim was spent looking back down the mount instead of into crater. A lot of ash was being kicked up and pelting our faces. On this trip there were quite a few rock slides going back into the crater which added to the dust. That was not occurring 12 years ago.

Make sure you pack enough liquids as you won't find any on this trip. The first 2 miles is easy with only about 600 feet of gain. After that you have to work for it.

Climber's Bivouac was not crowded at all and nice and quite the night before our hike.


MikeD1502 - Oct 15, 2022 1:01 pm Date Climbed: Oct 14, 2022

Tough Climb  Sucess!

I've been wanting to climb MSH for awhile and had finally gotten the chance to do so when I secured my permit. Luckily, the weather in the PNW had been unusually summer-like and excepting for the hazy sky to the south and west of the mountain, the weather was perfect.
I arrived at the Climber's Bivouac at around 3 a.m. and prepared my items for the climb, stepping off at 3:30.
From the Climber's Bivouac the posted two-mile trail up to tree line is very well maintained and quite easy. This part of the trail is open to all users without permits. When it breaks from the tree line is where permits are required.
I'm not that great at judging trail miles but it seems to me trails are longer than their posted distances.
At the tree line the trail immediately starts with a long stretch of having to maneuver through boulders, with the trail being marked by wooden poles. These poles are not colored nor marked and in the darkness, even with a headlamp, can be difficult to see. There was a spot where I couldn't make out the next pole (I had a headlamp) so I just waiting until the sky got lighter. I definitely recommend a headlamp to anyone starting off before sunrise. Be very careful in this area.
After the boulder-filled ridge subsides it will be a long scramble up to the summit through an area with the consistency of thick beach sand. This was the toughest part of the climb for me. Though you probably would not need trekking poles up until this point, I definitely recommend them from this point on. Poles will not make it easy but it will surely make it easier. You can easily see the summit from this point which gives you the determination to make your climb successful.
At the summit I was rewarded with awesome views of the north side of the National Volcanic Monument areas with Spirit Lake and Mt. Rainier. Normally the other volcanoes to the south are easy to see, but with the hazy sky only the top half of Mt. Hood was visible and Mt. Jefferson was barely visible. The view to the north and east of the summit was quite clear, though.
This climb was tough and I'm glad to have finally done it.
Headlamp with fresh batteries
Trekking poles; a backpack in which the poles can be secured when not in use is definitely a plus
4-5 liters of water plus snacks
Gaiters for the scramble area....especially on the descent
A WAG Bag (for when you gotta go). They are available at the trailhead climbing register but the supply may be exhausted. You also have to pack it back out and dispose of it at the trailhead if you use it.

Attaining the summit with the breathtaking views made the toughness of the hike worth it.


utahjimk - Oct 4, 2022 5:46 pm Date Climbed: Sep 30, 2022

via Monitor Ridge route...  Sucess!

with Dennis and Greg. Fine weather day, but somewhat smoky atmosphere from wildfires. Rained most of the day before, so ash was perhaps not so soft. We also hiked Big Pumice Butte (4882') on the edge of the Plain of Abraham a couple days before. We saw a sizable elk herd in that area.


Moogie737 - Aug 6, 2022 3:01 pm Date Climbed: Jul 14, 2014

Monitor Ridge  Sucess!

#1 07-14-14 Got a permit on a last-minute effort and climbed this volcano on my way back to Utah after climbing Mt. Baker and Mt. Shuksan further north. I wish there had been more snow but ...


punchline - Jul 29, 2022 12:09 pm Date Climbed: Jul 27, 2022

HOT!  Sucess!

Fourth of my five Cascade Volcanos journey. Thought I would beat the heat by leaving parking lot at 4:00am - unfortunately NOT! Back to parking lot where it was 91 degrees. UGH. Was able to glissade down a significant portion of the upper mountain which seemed to amaze a lot of those slogging upward! My knees thanked me at the end!


coltonfay - Jul 28, 2022 6:19 pm Date Climbed: Jul 28, 2022

Great Scramble Up!  Sucess!

Dad and I started at 6:00 and stood at the summit at 9:30. Good bits of scrambling through the rocks, and a good slugfest through the ash and sand. Had a great time taking in the views and talking to the other people on the trail.


GlennD - Jun 6, 2021 11:12 pm Date Climbed: Jun 6, 2021

Cascade Volcano #4  Sucess!

Wintry conditions on a spring day. Got an early start and was the first to the summit. Didn’t stay long, it was a bit windy and socked in with clouds. Will have to come back on a clear day for the views.

mattsim - Apr 10, 2021 4:08 pm Date Climbed: Apr 3, 2021

spring outing  Sucess!

Maud and I arrived to the nearly-full Marble Mountain SnoPark late on Friday evening. We slept until the climbers marching band walked by at 5:45 with assorted jingling and jangling stuff hanging off their packs. We agreed with their "it's time to go" assessment and donned our gear.

There were a few parties that started up at 2 or 3AM but the majority seemed to concur with our plan to leave about 6, climbing up while the route was still ice crusted, and then skiing down in the afternoon after the sun softened the top layers into snow.

We ski ascended the first 2k' near the the well worn boot track. After breaking out above tree line we added our ski crampons and cut our own (less steep) lines for another 1k' before finally packing our skis and booting the last 2k' to the actual summit.

Despite the early arrival of the forecast cloud cover, the sun burned partly through around mid-day and we had glorious ski conditions all the way back to the car.


Judd97 - Dec 2, 2020 11:21 pm Date Climbed: Dec 2, 2020

A real slog  Sucess!

What a slog up the worm flows route in the crusty snow and whipping winds. But a very rewarding trip to the crater rim and then traversing across to the proper summit. That descent was a real leg blaster.


Ambret - Aug 29, 2020 2:22 pm Date Climbed: Aug 19, 2020

Hike to South Rim  Sucess!

Made it to the south rim, though decided not to go to the highest point. Beautiful day; absolutely stunning views.

techboy - May 20, 2020 2:59 pm Date Climbed: May 18, 2020

40th anniversary climb

Climbed Wormflows for the 40th anniversary. We started at 3:45 AM. There were some long patches of soft snow below timberline. Did not need snowshoes or crampons but hiking poles with snow baskets helped a lot. We took the ridge up to a bit over 6000' and then we were on crusty soft snow the rest of the way. At around 8:30 AM at 7200 feet the visibility turned to near zero so we turned back. You could probably glissade most of the way down to Timberline. My 21st climb of this mountain, but the first time I didn't actually summit.


kirstenw - Apr 18, 2020 11:09 am Date Climbed: Jul 23, 2013

First summit!  Sucess!

My first mountain summit - so beautiful! No snow that year.


freedeep - Mar 25, 2020 8:37 am Date Climbed: Aug 13, 1990

Easy day hike to summit interesting volcanic landscape  Sucess!

Day hike to summit, then down and around to explore the ash and debris fields. At Missoula Montana the St Helens ashfall was a heavy dusting, compare that to the 2000 feet thick volcanic debris east of the Yellowstone Caldera (Pilot and Index Peaks vertical height is almost entirely volcanic debris). So some day we may witness a serious eruption.


Snofzig - Mar 16, 2020 6:54 pm Date Climbed: Mar 13, 2020

Worm Flows Ascent  Sucess!

Terrible weather conditions, but a fun summit nevertheless. The lodge at the Marble Mountain Sno park is a great place to make breakfast before starting your alpine start. Also, if some snowmobilers stop by to make a fire when you return to your car, that is a great bonus.


DawnchaserTheAdventurer - Oct 13, 2019 12:28 am Date Climbed: May 30, 2018

Easy ascent... crazy descent  Sucess!

Hit the trail for the Worm Flows at 1 am, and reached the summit at 6:30 on the dot. Was sleep-deprived coming down though, and mistakenly came down the Monitor Ridge route, while it was still under heavy snow, and ended up shwackin' my way back to the car... for 6 hours. That wasn't so fun. Great views at the summit though


InfinityMountaineering03 - Oct 3, 2019 1:00 am Date Climbed: Aug 13, 2019

Nonstop  Sucess!

I climbed this once when I was 11 and once when I was 15 (just this last summer). The first time I remember crossing over the first section of Monitor Ridge and seeing the summit for the first time. When I saw the summit, I lost all motivation. I ended up eating a cliff bar for the first time and getting enough energy to get up.

This summer I got about 1 hour of sleep out of anticipation for the climb the following day - probably not a good idea. Anyways, we started on the trail at exactly 8:00, and I was on Monitor Ridge by 9:00. The only time I stopped was to take my jacket off. Breaking out of the fog and being able to see for miles in a mist-filled sunlight is one of the most magical experiences of my life, and I was not expecting it. My experience with climbing and scrambling aided to cruising through Monitor Ridge in under an hour (9:45). I was still not remotely experiencing fatigue at this point and got to the top in under 30 minutes (Summit at 10:11). I was extremely happy with this and am looking forward to Adams and Rainier in 2020.

~Nick Stoker (Infinity Mountaineering/The Mountain Range Project)


Annalikeslenses - Sep 28, 2019 2:56 pm Date Climbed: Jul 24, 2019

Never been on a mountain with half of it missing!  Sucess!

Found this one surprisingly easy for a fairly large mountain! Stellar views from the crater rim, never seen anything like it. Great visibility to Rainier, Adams, Hood, even Jefferson in the distance. Start early or just hike fast to get ahead of the slow-moving friend and I didn't start until 7 or so but passed pretty much everyone on the trail going up and had the summit to ourselves for a while before the masses started to catch up!

alexewhitney85 - Sep 12, 2019 12:57 pm Date Climbed: Mar 16, 2019

Worm Flows Route  Sucess!

Beautiful clear day, and a fantastic glissade down almost 4k feet from the summit to treeline.

Suzannemilee - Sep 11, 2019 10:51 am Date Climbed: Jun 14, 2019

Amazing!  Sucess!

Go early, bring water.

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