Ascent of Mount Saint Helens on 2014-06-15

Climber: Jack Slater

Date:Sunday, June 15, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Mount Saint Helens
    Elevation:8333 ft / 2539 m

Ascent Trip Report

A climbing friend tipped us off for two extra permits for 6/15/2014 and we took her up on it.

Drove down Sunday morning and arrived at the trail head at Climber's Bivouac at 0630 and were on the trail at 0715.

Weather was low-hanging clouds and no precipitation for the ascent to the treeline 2.25 miles in @ 4800'

About .5 miles up Monitor Ridge, the rain and wind started, and upon reaching the second weather station at approximately 7800' it was snowing sideways and we were accumulating ice on our shells.

Upper 1300' of the trail is unmarked and the loose volcanic material is annoying to walk up now that it is exposed off and on.

A group of Portlandians decided that climbing the volcanic rock and snow/ice in the Vibram 5-toe shoes was a smart idea and turned back at ~7500'

At the summit, the only view was the cornice, and couldn't see more than 100 ft, so we spent 5 minutes up there and headed down.

Even with the nasty weather conditions, had a nice continuous glissade decent to the treeline following about 5 degrees west of Monitor Ridge until the snow became heavily peppered with moats ~15 ft deep, and then walked from there.

Walked 1.5 miles east on the tree line trail that encompasses the mountain to meet back up with the Ptarmigan Trail #216A and then back down to the car.

All-in-all a good trip, but would have loved to have the weather cooperate.

Of the 100 permits for the day, I would guess it was about a 70% success rate among the climbers for reaching the summit, and very few chose to traverse the extra distance at the top to the true summit.

Two others in our group were skiing. They required ski crampons and both their ascent and descent were slower than hiking because of the nasty weather conditions and hard-packed snow.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:3700 ft / 1127 m
    Distance:10 mi / 16.1 km
    Route:Monitor Ridge
    Trailhead:Climber's Bivouac  4633 ft / 1412 m
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Snow on Ground, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Ski Poles
    Weather:Snowing, Cold, Very Windy, White-out

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