Ascent of Mount Saint Helens on 2017-05-06

Climber: Aditya Sankar

Date:Saturday, May 6, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Mount Saint Helens
    Elevation:8333 ft / 2539 m

Ascent Trip Report

Nine members in party, all successfully made it to the crater rim. We opted to stay overnight in Kelso, WA. Started towards the TH at 4am, began hiking at 6:30. Summit at 12:25pm and after a 30 min break, back to TH at 4:30pm. Partly cloudy day with varying visibility and wind, a few intermittent whiteouts but visibility was always greater than 100 feet. A large cloud formation in the crater meant that views of the lava dome/rainier were obstructed.

Road and parking lot are snow free, but snow begins right from the TH. No parking pass was needed this time of year, at Marble Mountain Sno Park. Snow was consolidated and manageable during the ascent and was soft, but not overly so on the descent. A few postholes were possible while descending, near rocks and ash ridges.

All members had traction devices (microspikes, mini-crampons) and hiking poles. No ice axes, helmets or snowshoes were required on that particular day. Heavier crampons may be useful for descent on the upper mountain and steep headwall, where the surface was icy and windblown. Temps were variable so dressing in layers is highly recommended.

GPS and topo map were sufficient for navigation, since there were several other parties on the mountain and a clear bootpack. However, be careful when following other parties since they may be attempting various routes. We had to correct our direction once (+15 mins) after following another party down a westerly ridge that was not on the standard worm flows route, based on our GPS (few other groups also had to backtrack).

We opted to glissade several pitches on the way down, since weather/snow conditions were agreeable, but beware of rocks, runoffs and loose, wet snow. Ensure that loose items on backpacks such as water bottles, microspikes are securely stowed to avoid losing them. Since the glissades were not very steep, hiking poles were sufficient for speed control and arrest. Post climb burgers and beer at Couger, WA. Excellent day overall!
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:5668 ft / 1727 m
    Route:Worm Flows
    Trailhead:Marble Mountain Sno Park  2665 ft / 812 m
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Snow on Ground, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Crampons, Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Windy, Partly Cloudy

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