Mt. Saint Helens

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Yanivarc
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Mt. Saint Helens

Post by Yanivarc »

Planning to climb Mt. Saint Helens this mid June.

1. What kind of traction? Are crampons necessary, or would microspikes work? I would assume that an ice axe (instead of trekking poles) is required for self-arrest (and the long glissade down).

2. Which route? Is the Ptarmigan trail open by then, or should I still use the worm flows route?

Thanks.
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cottonmountaineering
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Re: Mt. Saint Helens

Post by cottonmountaineering »

check out this site, st helens is neither a 14er nor in colorado
https://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/

its been forever since i lived in PNW but remember that permits are a pain in the ass to get in the summer time, i always preferred winter to avoid the permit cap
https://www.recreation.gov/permits/4675309

microspikes and an ice axe would probably be fine
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sooshee
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Re: Mt. Saint Helens

Post by sooshee »

I have a friend that climbs it every year in May, and he has done it with both microspikes and crampons, but said he preferred crampons. Depends on what you're comfortable with. Ice axe for the glissade.

I know last year the "summer route" did not open until into July. Depends on snowfall levels and how soon they can get the access road and trailhead plowed and cleared. I'd plan on Worm Flows.

Remember that a permit is necessary, and they go super fast. They go on sale on the 1st of the month prior. Be logged on and ready to go on receation.gov ahead of the time. Last July's permits sold out in 2 minutes flat, the entire month.
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Re: Mt. Saint Helens

Post by TomPierce »

sooshee wrote: Tue Mar 28, 2023 7:08 pm I have a friend that climbs it every year in May, and he has done it with both microspikes and crampons, but said he preferred crampons. Depends on what you're comfortable with. Ice axe for the glissade.

I know last year the "summer route" did not open until into July. Depends on snowfall levels and how soon they can get the access road and trailhead plowed and cleared. I'd plan on Worm Flows.

Remember that a permit is necessary, and they go super fast. They go on sale on the 1st of the month prior. Be logged on and ready to go on receation.gov ahead of the time. Last July's permits sold out in 2 minutes flat, the entire month.
There's an art form to snagging hyper-competitive permits on rec.gov (knowing the questions/options it'll ask beforehand, "toggling" the site to ensure you're in at the stroke of x hour, etc.) The river permits for the Yampa & Green rivers went in about 3 minutes this year (that's a guess??). And that process covers every single day from about April 1 through mid-November. All gone in minutes, not a single remaining open date until the 3rd week in November. It's a real game. Fwiw, the only way we ever get one is that we go in the early season (April 11th this year).

Good luck with your St. Helens permit.

-Tom
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Re: Mt. Saint Helens

Post by Scott P »

In June, I'd suggest crampons since you will want to do it very early before the snow softens.

The others are correct that permits are hard to get. Have a plan B in case you don't get a permit.
I'm old, slow and fat. Unfortunately, those are my good qualities.
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Yanivarc
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Re: Mt. Saint Helens

Post by Yanivarc »

Thanks for the info. Guess I'll be staying up till midnight on April 31 :lol:
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nyker
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Re: Mt. Saint Helens

Post by nyker »

You'll be happier with normal crampons and ice axe.
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sooshee
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Re: Mt. Saint Helens

Post by sooshee »

Circling back to this post since I did Helens a few weeks ago on May 6th via Worm Flows. Predicted temperatures were never above freezing, so opted for crampons at treeline. We started in the pouring rain at 3:15am, and I was very happy to have my snowshoes to treeline, as I did not struggle as much as those without. Many spots to stash snowshoes at treeline, and its a fairly common practice so no one bothers with people's stuff. Did have icy spots in the last 2000 vertical feet to the summit, so thankful for the crampons. The crater rim cornice is super sketchy, and a week earlier a hiker had punched through and caught themself luckily. I'm sure by June it is way more melted out, but yeah, this time of year... stay way way way back. I was with a group of ten (split up due to fitness levels), and half of us were using crampons, the other half microspikes. Everyone made it, but I know personally, I am very happy I had my crampons for the conditions that day.

To avoid a slushy slog, definitely make sure to check the forecast and start early. On the flip side, if you are banking on glissading, if snow is still firmed up, you might have to wait for it to soften. Luckily the summit is pretty cool to hang out on!

Hopefully you were able to get a permit! It is an amazing experience. My third time trying (weather and COVID ruined the first two times I had permits), and first time summiting, and it was so worth the long long long day.
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Re: Mt. Saint Helens

Post by hokiehead »

I climbed the Monitor Ridge route last September on Labor Day. I can only comment on the permit, and only offer one data point, but I grabbed it about two weeks before my summit attempt from the recreation.gov site. it didn't seem to be that challenging to obtain, even for a holiday.
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Re: Mt. Saint Helens

Post by dr_j »

Probably mostly melted out by that point. The PNW has been warm this spring, with two heat waves already. Still I'd bring spikes for the upper reaches of the mountain, and the ice axe if you're planning on glissading. I hiked it around Memorial Day 2021 and it was snow covered from 5000 feet to the summit (see my TR). As for Worm Flows vs. the Climber's Bivouac, I'd check on the PNW mountaineers FB group and the Mt. St. Helens Institute website for updated information.

As for that photo, it appeared in National Geographic in 1981.
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myfeetrock
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Re: Mt. Saint Helens

Post by myfeetrock »

I managed to get permits 3 years in a row. The third year was a nightmare. My phone was slower than molasas, and the permits were gone in about 5 minutes. I ended up scoring some while there on vacation, and was able to climb. I'm going to try on the 1st of June for 2 July permits. We'll see.
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damacau
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Re: Mt. Saint Helens

Post by damacau »

Climbing Mount St. Helens can be an exciting and rewarding adventure! Here are some general considerations for your questions. Pulling Devices. The need for traction devices, such as crampons or microspikes, will depend on the current conditions on the mountain. Route choice. Remember that safety is always a priority when climbing. Mount St. Helens can be a challenging and potentially dangerous mountain, so proper training, research, and knowledge of climbing techniques is very important. If you are new to climbing or are unfamiliar with the features of Mount St. Helens, consult an experienced climber, join a guided tour or attend a climbing course. and After your trip ends, go and celebrate at the casino https://casinoplinko.com, you are sure to be lucky.
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