Peak(s):  Mount St. Helens - 8,365 feet
Date Posted:  10/05/2011
Date Climbed:   09/29/2011
Author:  winmag4582001
Additional Members:   Bryson
 North West  

My oldest son and I took a trip to Washington for an attempt at Rainier. Unfortunately the weather was spotty the days leading up to our departure so I secured us a couple of climbing permits for Mt. St. Helens instead. We flew into Portland and stayed in Woodland, WA. It had been over twenty years since I've been to the Oregon/Washington area and I had forgotten how beautiful it was there. After traveling up to Seattle the day of our arrival, to get the wife a coffee mug from Starbucks at the Pike Market, we settled into our luxurious accomidations at the Motel 6. Thursday morning we left about 5am and headed to Cougar to sign in. After standing at the trail head for a half hour trying to decide what to pack, we hit the trail around 6:45am. Arrogantly I assumed it would be a very easy climb considering all the higher altitude hiking I've done here in Colorado. I was wrong. The first two miles was a breath taking stroll through the tall pines. The next mile on Monitor Ridge was annoying and covered with sharp volcanic boulders. After that was a mile of steep sandy ash with the last 500' to the rim being the worst of it. After we reached the summit the views were spectacular! The next day we hiked through the Ape Caves and also spent a day around Astoria looking at the light houses and rugged beaches.
A couple of things about Mt. St. Helens: It's much more difficult than it looks, but if you can do a 14er you can do this. Don't overpack! All we needed were gaiters and plenty of water, but still pack your basics just in case. We hauled up crampons, ice axes, shells, stove and fuel, way too much food, bivys, and many extra pairs of socks and gloves. None of it needed.

My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

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