We started the climb at 5:10am and the mountain was covered in clouds. As we ascended the trail got above the clouds and saw the sunrise on the mountains. Got to the top at 10:20am but we still had to get to the summit. Made the true at 10:55am. The weather was great and we could see all the mountains. Back to the car at 3pm. Great hike.
We had doubts about this day when we woke up to fog at Climber's Bivouac. Decided to head up around 9am hoping the summit would be above the clouds. No such luck. I decided not to risk going to the true summit due to not being able to see a thing. Listening to the rock falls inside the crater was cool though. I will be back!
"amochka" (see below) was kind enough to offer a couple of the open spots on her permit to my wife and me. My wife didn't make it all the way up with us, but we still had a great time! We looked into the crater, but didn't attempt to reach the highest point on the crater rim.
My wife, Denver, and I successfully summited on the 27th via the Monitor Ridge route. Total round trip time 11 hours which included lunch at the top and lots of glissading on the way down. We captured some pictures of one of the larger rocks slides off the dome. The rock slides kick up large dust clouds and dusk masks really help.
What a fantastic experience it now is to climb this peak. From the rim we were literally watching nature build a mountain. The new "dome" is really a cone that is apparently being created by the upthrusting pinnacle falling apart from the top, causing big, loud, and violent rockfalls down one side or another of the cone. The plumes that we see rather often are at least sometimes caused by those rockfalls. We didn't see any other cause for plumes, so my guess is that most of the plumes are indeed from the dust and ash being carried aloft by rockfall. Photos to follow.
We went to the true summit, which hardly anyone does. There was another couple over there while we were, but nobody else that we saw during our 2.5-hour stay on the rim was headed in that direction. The route over to the summit is somewhat sketchy in places when there's no snow, but was quite easy when I went over there on snow in 2001. I wouldn't recommend it for most people, but for peakbaggers it seems like a necessity in order to claim to have summitted the mountain.
Perfect weather and temperatures. The air was crystal clear, with sharp views from Rainier to the Three Sisters.
Wow, what a great way to spend a hot summer day. Great views all around and lots of people. Also saw a hudge rockfall on the new dome kicking up dust everywhere. Even got some glissading in.
Climbed Monitor Ridge route with great group of friends, very mellow bunch. Left camp at 2 am. New moon, amazing stars, headlamps most of the way to the summit. Summit at 6:30am. Incredible volcanic activity inside the crater, much different that I remember it on past climbs, crater floor is SO much higher! Loud rock fall, yellow sulfur smoke spewing out of vents. Headed down to avoid hot weather, made it back to camp at 10:30am. Recommend bug spray for the bivy. Eaten alive by nasty biting black flies. In hot weather, leave super early. 2am was a perfect start for such a hot day on the mountain.
Climbed under cloudy condition with my buddy Brian after being denied Rainier. Desended over the top of swift glacier and were suprised by ice underneath the pummice.
Got a climbing permit in Cougar, parked at the Marble Mountain Sno Park Lot where there was still huge amounts of snow, and then put on my randonee skis I had rented in Seattle. I climbed/skied to 6,500 ft. and spent the night on an exposed pumice outcropping. I then went the rest of the way up to the top of the summit crater rim. Total time spent climbing/skiing up the mountain was 8 to 9 hours. I skied down to the Marble Mountain Sno Park lot in 1 hour. Weather was awesome. I did notice snowmobilers way up high on the mountain where they probably were not allowed to be.
Mother's Day on Mt. St. Helens is always a festive affair, especially being the last weekend before the permit season starts. There were about a million people on the mountain this day, which started out gloriously sunny. Both would change by the time we reached the summit.
We were slowed down both by a friend's failed home-made snowshoe experiment and the snowboard on my back. I was licking my chops the entire ascent at the gullies directly to climbers' left of the ridge, and the memories were about all I had to guide me once the clouds rolled in at the summit. We parted ways, them glissading and me riding down the tempting untracked snow I had daydreamed over. I remember very clearly a point maybe 500' down where I knew if I rode to the left I would re-join the "climber's" trail. Instead, I opted for a particularly enticing chute off to the right, and entered a world of solitude.
For good reason. Ten minutes later I started lazily traversing back eastward to the general direction of the trail. It didn't take long to realize that, even on the blunt-summit of MSH, seemingly minor off-course errors have a way of exacerbating themselves on mountain descents. Four or five ridges in waist-high snow later, I found a group of people who were similarly lost. Roaming the mountain together, we happened to find wooden markers to follow to the Loowit intersection, where my friends had amazingly just arrived. With daylight dwindling and a sense of relief, we started down into the woods...only to realize we weren't out of the woods yet. We quickly got back off trail and found ourselves in deep brush. Retracing our steps to the outhouse, we cut our losses and called for help. Getting bearings and direction, we finally made it off the mountain around midnight. Not one of my proudest moments.
But the ride down was heavenly, for what it's worth.
Nice hike to the summit on monitor ridge after a 4 day hike around the mountain on trail 216. Very nice, interesting volcanic terrain. Perfect weather all week.
Ah ... Mother's Day 2004. A beatiful day with all of the cool people wearing dressed in tutus, mu-mus, frocks, and dresses. I as wearing a lovely flowery blue number that didn't breath as well as I hoped, but kept me warm on the ascent. If you've never climbed the mountain on Mother's Day, I highly recommend it.
The Dog's Head route from Spirit lake. Beautiful, symetrical cone of a mountain. What's all this talk about a crater?
Really cool mountain. Lucky to have snow on the Swift Creek Flow to climb up. Beautiful views. I'd hate to slog up in the pummice. Greg (who climbed Mt Adams with me 2 days prior) and I went to Portland, met Gregs wife and flew home to the right coast the next day; 3 peaks 5 days! Yoo-Hoo
my first major solo climb. perhaps my last climb of this peak too. almost exactly one month before it became active again. the pictures from that day are priceless.
This is a late posting. 26 years to be exact. Sorry I don't know the exact name of my route.I had never ever climbed a mountain. The only gear I had, that halfway resembled climbing gear, was a pair of Rockport hiking boots with some Sno-Seal smeared on them. I had to sneak in, because a Red Zone had been placed around the mountain five miles out by the U.S. Forest Service. A $600.00 fine and 6 months in jail awaited anyone who ventured into the Red Zone. I believe I may have been the last person to climb Mt. St. Helens before the historic eruption of May 18th, 1980. Check out the photos. cowlitz
My first mountain. Unfortunate I was already 20 years old. A great, long day hike from June Lake Trailhead. Overcast at lower elevations but broked out of the clouds at about 6,000ft. (Never get completely discouraged because of the NW weather.) Beyond that conditions were more than perfect. A really nice introduction to high mountains.
May 1988 was my first climb on this mountain, it was with the Boy Scouts. Since then I've climbed it 7 times, just because it's there.
My buddy Jason and I climbed it on a heck of a hot day. I had a lousy backpack, and as soon as we hit timberline, the zipper broke open, and I watched all of my precious water soak into the ash 10 ft below. Not wanting to turn back (After the lottery at Jacks!) I bummed off my partner. An outstanding hike, but I was way dehydrated and sick for 2 days! Still worth it though. Hope to do it again someday!
An excellent ski ascent.