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Ascent of Mount Saint Helens on 2019-01-13

Climber: Eric Gilbertson

Date:Sunday, January 13, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Saint Helens
    Location:USA-Washington
    Elevation:8333 ft / 2539 m

Ascent Trip Report

We all drove down to the south side trailhead Saturday night and slept in our cars. In the morning we started up at 6:45am with me, Tyler, Greg, and Kyla on skis and the rest of the crew on snowshoes. Snow started at the trailhead and was continuous and skinnable the entire way up (though quite thin in a couple sections).

We followed the well-established boot track and several dozen other climbers ahead of us out of treeline and up the slopes. The snow was icy, and transitioned back and forth a few times between ski crampons and boot crampons, eventually just carrying my skis at the end. Tyler dropped a ski while transitioning, and it slid down about 600ft!

At that point we split up the group and Annajoy, Colie, Sarah and I continued up while Tyler went to retrieve his ski. We cramponed across icy terrain and reached the true summit at 11:45am. We then hiked across the ridge to the crater rim where most other people had stopped, and by then Tyler had hiked up and rejoined us.

The non-skiers started down, while Tyler and I waited around for the snow to soften up. We spent a few minutes repairing one of my bindings, then started down at 1pm. The top 500ft were icy, but after that the snow softened up and was very fun skiing. You wouldn’t want to fall without an ice ax, but it was soft enough to carve some shallow turns.

The snow hit optimal consistency just above treeline, and then we had a fun ski back to the car, arriving just before 2pm. We then drove back to seattle that afternoon.

Link to full trip report and pictures.
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