Ascent of Mount Saint Helens on 2013-03-23

Climber: Michael Wanberg

Others in Party:Jeremy B
Emily M
Wayne C
Date:Saturday, March 23, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Saint Helens
    Elevation:8333 ft / 2539 m

Ascent Trip Report

Perfect conditions and a great crew!

Loose snow (Cascades version of powder) over a really hard crust at about 9" depth on the south aspect from 5000-8400'. Wind blown snow deposited up to 22" deep on lee sides and in shallow depressions.
When we were traversing from Monitor Ridge @ ~7600' NNW to the true summit (not the one that everyone else goes to) I was wading through 10-18" putting in steps on a 40-45 degree incline, with wind scoured ice along even minor ridges. That was probably the only part that gave me any pause as far as avalanche goes (whumpf-ing steps about four times in ~.25mi), but thankfully we were very near the top of the ridge so there wasn't much space above us for a release, and no one below us (west of Monitor ridge).

The trail from the Marble Mtn. Snow Park is fully packed in all the way up to where the falls are in the summer (~3700'). Boots were OK if you stay in the middle of the trail. We went snowshoes to ~4500' and then crampons from there, but MSR snowshoes or skis (w/skins) could be worn the whole way.

Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:5873 ft / 1789 m
    Extra Gain:100 ft / 30 m
    Distance:10 mi / 16.1 km
    Route:Swift Creek (winter)
    Trailhead:Marble Mtn Sno-Park  2660 ft / 810 m
    Grade/Class:Class 2
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Open Country, Snow on Ground, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Snowshoes
    Nights Spent:0 nights away from roads
    Weather:Cold, Calm, Partly Cloudy
Perfect alpine weather! ~32deg
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:6 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:3 Hours 

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