With peter, robin, karin & robert. Skied crater rim to parking lot. Yee hah!
Climber's bivouac parking lot opened Friday afternoon. Skinned up through the trees, snow is thin and trashed with branches/cones/etc. Upper mountain was fun skiing down (corn snow, heavy in places). Got too far west and had to bushwack over lava ridges. Ugh!
My first ski mountaineering experience. Hauled my skis to the summit but my skiing abilities & noodly BC boards were unable to cope with the extremely sun-cupped conditions--ended up walking nearly the entire descent, turning into a really LONG day.
Had BEAUTIFUL weather with good views of Rainier, Adams, Hood, and Jefferson. All in all, a GREAT day!
What a view over that crater rim, though!
After the weird permit ritual we climbed nicely to the summit ridge where we continued to the real high point
Had to take skiis of around 6500 feet and haul from there. Beautiful day, and it was the last weekend of no limits on climbers passes so everyone was up there.
What an amazing hike! I remember it like it was yesterday. It was so awesome to look down into the steaming crater. If you have the chance to climb this volcano then I highly recommend that you do. Being above the clouds on that ash covered trail is really awesome!
Natural Born Hikers
Headed down Saturday afternoon and got to the the Marble Mountain Sno Park that evening. Started at 730am in rain and yucky weather. Bill and I skinned up on our skis and Ely snowshoed and carried his snowboard. Once we got a few hundred feet up we could see the mountain and it was almost clear. The forecast was not the optimistic, but we wanted to do this so we trudged on in weather that changed every 10 minutes. Once above treeline the sun shined brightly and tanned my pale hide. Around 6500 feet the clouds came back in and snowed and blew on us pretty hard. Once at 7000 feet the clouds were below us and it was gorgeous weather! We had to carry our skis the last few hundred feet as it was pretty icy in spots but we never needed our crampons or ice axes. Hit the summit around 130pm. Hung out for about 30 minutes and then started our descent. Great snow up top, then icy in the middle and cement near the bottom, but we were able to ski all the way to the parking lot, and made it there by 4pm. Could have been faster but we had to retrieve all of our wands. What a great day to get in 5500 vertical feet of skiing!
Summer day in the winter! Wind picked up a little halfway up, but at the top there was not a breeze at all and completely sunny. The footholes were consistent for the most part, and we ditched our snowshoes halfway up and just used hiking boots. We skiied down, but this proved extremely difficult with the variable snow conditions. The sticky snow was catching our edges, and the steepness of the slopes made our intermediate skills look quite elementary. I would wait for fresh snow before trying to ski down, unless you're comfortable in the Cascade Cement. Although, it did prove to be a quick descent (1.5 hour).
Climbed the Worm Flows route with an overnighter just above timberline. Hike up from snow park to timberline was in perfect weather - the evening was calm and clear as well. The trail (Swift Creek #244) to timberline is like a highway - tons of people, well beaten. Weather still held well on Sunday morning - better than our June trip on S. Sister. Clouds moved in as we climbed the final section along Monitor - wind started pounding away; vis. dropped. Bad weather followed us all the way down. Snow-shoed all the way up (good snow - too soft for walking; perfect for snowshoeing) - no need for crampons (that day); kept ice ax handy on the way down. Several parties (+1 lone skier) were seen on the summit approach that day.
The hardest part of this climb for our group was getting the permit. The lottery that weekend was harsh. There were like 100 people trying to get passes and of course most were turned away. We were lucky. But knowing this, I would always make a reservation way in advance and not hassle with the whole lottery scene in at Jack's Restaurant. On the other hand, if you don't have a reservation, go anyway and risk it. There is so much to see and climb out there, it is worth it.
The summit in my opinion was awesome. We had great weather and clear skies. There was little wind, so the crashing of rocks falling from the rim onto the youngest glacier in N. America was geological music to my ears.
The sights are amazing as well. It is a view into the bowels of the Earth! Some of the rocks under your feet are only 22 years old! The vents of sulfur and bubbling ponds of mud in the crater... It was the closest I have ever felt to the world beneath the crust that we are so accustomed to climbing around on. Granted, this is all taking place hundreds of feet below you (straight down) when you are on the rim, but the perspective from the summit makes it even so much more sublime. It is a wonder of nature. You are looking into the core of a mountain...
There was a whole lot of snow on the route this year. The snow started before we were even out of the trees. It was a beautiful day and the first time I summited a "real" mountain.
The Monitor Ridge route in the summer is a non-technical, long walk-up; but lots of fun. The rangers have done a nice job marking the route. Snow-covered slopes should provide for easier climbing earlier in the season because the loose scree up high on the mountain isn't the most fun. The views are some of the best around. Since Mt. St. Helens lies on the far western portion of the crest, the view that awaits is very rewarding because none of the nearby volcanoes are abscured by another. Looking down into the crater and north towards Mt. Rainier is simply awe-inspiring. A climb to the summit is a must for any avid hiker.
It was the first weekend that climbing was again allowed after the eruption. The weather was unseasonably warm, and scantily clad climbers of both genders were in abundance. Within two weeks the new and generally hated quota system would begin, so 100s were taking advantage of this golden opportunity. The first look into the crater at the dome and of the crater rim were truly amazing sights. I had only climbed the mountain once prior to the eruption, unfortunately, on June 15, 1975, using the Forsythe Glacier route. The post-eruption climbs are not as satisfying, but St. Helens still offers a great opportunity for conditioning climbs and early-season fun. And that view into the crater never gets old. I've climbed it several more times, including a 3-generation effort by my dad, myself, and my son Ryan in 1993. My dad was 78 at the time, and Ryan was 14.
Hiked/climbed the Monitor Ridge Route as a day trip. Round-trip took about 9 hours or so, with about an hour stay on top. Did this trip in August, so there wasn't any snow to ascend; only a WHOLE LOT of loose scree! The views from top, of Mt Adams, Mt Rainier, Mt Hood, etc., were simply AWESOME though! Would definitely do this trip again, but would probably do it earlier in the spring, so that travel on snow could be done.
Climbed this trying to get one more in this year. Weather at the start was gloomy but just before timberline I hiked out above the clouds. Awesome blue sky and a white summit ahead. About 500 yards from the summit a storm blew in in a matter of seconds. Debated whether to finish up but I was so close, I dashed to the top, took a crappy photo and glissaded down in almost white-out conditions. Got kinda dicey at times as there is a large valley on the right and the left side of the ridge is a steep dropoff. There were maybe 15 people on this route the whole day and only about 7 summitted so I am glad I waited until winter to do this one.
We climbed St. Helens the weekend before permit season, so ended up adding an extra 10 miles of hiking through snow to the climber's trailhead. Definately worth taking skis for that next time. Once we got up on the ridge, the snow conditions were perfect for cramponing, if a bit icy for skiing.
On our way down, I was surprised to put my foot through a thigh-width hole in the snow - not sure if it was a bonna fide crevasse or not. I also vividly remember the sound of the ice from our crampons tinkling down over the re-freezing surface as we headed down during sunset. A beautiful, if long, day.
I would definately do this climb in the winter to avoid trudging up the ash and scree that's out in the summer.
This was to be our first group climb of the year and I looked forward to summiting after getting avalanched off of Mt. Whitney.
We met at the parking lot at work and drove up to Washington in separate cars. Luckily it was early enough in the season that we didn't have to fight for permits and we were soon off to the trailhead. Unfortunately, the climber's bivi wasn't plowed so we were forced to start our day at 2700'. We set up our tents pretty much in the parking lot and got an early alpine start the next morning. Weather was excellent as we moved along through the night. As far as we could tell there was only one headlamp ahead of us. The four of us stayed pretty close to each other until Kevin and Rob started exercising their benefit of training and pulled away from us.
As we neared the final push to the summit, the weather started getting crappy, with the wind picked up with light rain/snow mix starting to pelt us. The lone climber ahead of us passed us on his way down describing the wind at the top as nasty. Shortly after, Kevin and Rob summited and I tried to get there before they came down but they had already started back down. As we passed, I tried to convince them to go back up the 40' , so we could get a picture, but they would have no part in it due to the weather.
As I reached the summit, I had a little time to look around before my uncle joined me on top. I checked the cornice dimensions and then laid down to peer over the lip into the crater. What an incredible sight. This has to be the most interesting summit that I have done to date just due to the massive destruction that resulted from the eruption.
After about 10 minutes, my uncle joined me. We took a few photos and continued to get blasted by the weather. We decided that we had better get going since the weather was deteriorating. The upper slope was pretty much wind scoured so we were forced to walk down in our crampons until we rounded the bend. I was sick of walking and decided to risk the fast descent via glissading. Fortunately, the snow quickly softened up lower down and we enjoyed some great glissading. I was descending so fast that my ears began to pop.
The final hike out seemed to go on forever. The weather had turned out to be just a quick squall and it was getting hot as we passed many people climbing up to who knows where. After what seemed like eternity we finally made the trailhead and drove home after getting some lunch at Jack's
I summitted in driving sleet and wind after climbing from my camp at the base of the lava flow. I was in Washington to climb Rainier, but decided to head to St. Helens for a warm-up climb and to enjoy the views of Rainier. So after a 6 hour flight and 3 hour drive from Seattle, I scored my permit at Jack's and was on my way to the mountain.
When I got to the parking area at Climber's Bivouac, I decided there was no way I was going to set up my tent in a parking lot. So I threw my gear together and started up the trail in the fading daylight. I reached the base of the lava flow at around 8:30, just as the sun was setting, and was glad to see that 2 other guys had also come up in search of more pleasant camping. We chatted for a while and then I headed to bed, hoping for an early start to beat the crowds.
The wind picked up during the night and I learned that the volcanic ash is not a very good medium for tent stakes. I woke at 6AM and started for the summit after stashing my gear behind some trees. I caught up with my two camp mates and was happy to climb with them since conditions were deteriorating. When we reached the upper pumice slopes, we were being pelted by sleet and hail and the wind was ripping at about 40 mph. We took some pictures at the summit and started down immediately. No views of Rainier as I'd hoped. On the way down, we passed lots of people, most of whom were turning around and heading down.
After lunch with my new friends at Jack's, I made the drive back to Seattle and caught the Rainier Shuttle. I hope to get back to Mount St. Helens at some point to climb in better weather and enjoy the views from the top.
Started from the Climbers' Bivouac in fog. New, wet snow on the tent that morning.
Packed skis to the summit, eventually poking our heads above the clouds at around 6000'. Enjoyed a nice run down the mountain, with only about 1 mile between consistent snow and the car.