Ascent of Mount Saint Helens on 2018-04-29
|Date:||Sunday, April 29, 2018|
|Ascent Type:||Successful Summit Attained|
|Peak:||Mount Saint Helens|
| Elevation:||8333 ft / 2539 m|
Ascent Trip ReportGiven the sunny week (freezing levels at 12,000) and a couple of cold nights (a freezing level at 5,600) prior to our climb date made it tricky to decide go or no-go. NWAC did help us to give it a shot as the avy danger was low below and near treeline and moderate above treeline with loose wet and wind slabs in all aspects.
In order to avoid loose wet avalanches, we decided to start early at 4 am and so did we. The snow near the trailhead was 1/2" slushy over compact snow in the morning for the first mile and turned to crusty layer thereafter.
The hike to Chocolate falls was straightforward, after which we decided to put on crampons on the way up. We were breaking up the crusty layer to expose somewhat soft but consolidated snow below it. The sunny week possibly exposed most of the rocks from 4000' up on the mountain. While some chose to snowshoe/hike in the valley to the climbers left. We opted to scramble/hike along the rocks founded on the ridgeline next to the Swift creek leading to the chocolate falls. After we reach the tower at 5600', we ditched our snowshoes near the tower and climbed up the mountain on the wind-scoured surface. Interestingly, the slopes of the mountain demanded all of the climbers to step onto the Swift Glacier due to huge slopes to the climber's left (which could have been used on another day if the slope was shallower to merge with Monitor Ridge). We continued up with gusts of north-westerly winds hitting us but was calmer and clearer at the summit.
On the way down, the snow was getting softer but not too bad for plunge stepping. Due to rocks getting exposed, some patches of snow was hard covering the rocks hard to see and stiff for plunge stepping. So, we avoided glissading most of the way but was doable at middle elevations above 5600'.
A good day spent on the mountain.
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