Ascent of Mount Saint Helens on 2015-01-31

Climber: Chad Straub

Others in Party:Colin Tasker
Date:Saturday, January 31, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
Peak:Mount Saint Helens
    Elevation:8333 ft / 2539 m

Ascent Trip Report

Fourth time is the charm! Colin and I rolled in to the Marble Mount lot the teardrop early Saturday morning and quickly passed out. After a few hours of shut eye, we had a leisurely start and hit the trail at 7 as the sunrise colors began to fade.

There were less than a dozen vehicles at the trailhead when we left, but we saw at least 100 people throughout the day. A light cloud cover faded away just after we exited the forest. There was almost no snow below 4800 feet, but we went wherever it could be found for easier travel and to stay cool. We carried snowshoes, but did not need them at any point. By 9 a.m. the icy crust from the night before had softened nearly enough to kick steps, but we donned crampons early.

When the summit came into view we traversed west beyond Monitor Ridge, leaving the crowds behind. There were a few tracks from other climbers leading to the summit, but there was enough cornice visible to give us pause. At the saddle to the east we reassessed the situation. A trench test suggested a stable snow pack, and the cornices on the summit were pretty small so we decided it would be safe to proceed.

After 3 failed attempts it felt amazing to finally get this summit under my belt, and the views were incredible.
We hung out at the top for almost an hour before making a quick descent back to Monitor Ridge, where we removed crampons and enjoyed some epic glissades down to the trail.

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:5670 ft / 1728 m
    Round-Trip Distance:10 mi / 16.1 km
    Route:Worm Flows
    Trailhead:Marble Mount Trailhead  2663 ft / 811 m
    Grade/Class:Class 3
    Quality:9 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Open Country, Snow on Ground, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Time:6 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:3 Hours 

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