Mount Saint Helens, Washington

Prominence: 4573 ft, 1394 m

Elevation: 8333 feet, 2540 meters

True Isolation: 31.99 mi, 51.49 km
Historical Info:This peak has existed in its current form since 1980-05-18.
Elevation Info:NAVD88 Elevation: 8337 ft / 2541 m
SubpeaksLava Dome (7152 ft/2180 m)
Peak TypeFamous Peak, but not High Point (Volcanic)
Latitude/Longitude (WGS84)46° 11' 29'' N, 122° 11' 44'' W
46.1914178, -122.195606 (Dec Deg)
562071 E 5115630 N, Zone 10 (UTM)
CountryUnited States
County/Second Level RegionSkamania

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Lists that contain Mount Saint Helens:
     USA Lower 48 Top 400 Peaks by Prominence (Rank #80)
     USA Lower 48 Range5 High Points (Rank #298)
     USA Lower 48 Peaks with 4000 feet of Prominence (Rank #80)
     Famous Peaks that are not High Points (Rank #9)
     Western USA Peaks with 25 miles of Isolation (Rank #200)
     Washington State Peaks with 2000 feet of Prominence (Rank #11)
     Mountaineers 6-Peak Pin (Rank #5)
     Mazamas Sixteen Northwest Peaks Award (Rank #13)
     USA Lower 48 Top 100 Peaks by Prominence (Rank #80)
     Washington State Top 200 by Prominence (Rank #11)
     Cascade Volcanoes Peak Pin (Rank #18)
     Washington State Top 100 Peaks (Rank #90)
     Mazamas Guardian Peaks Award (Rank #3)
     Chemeketan Eighteen Northwest Peaks Award (Rank #15)
     Smoot's "Climbing Washington's Mountains" 100 Peaks (Rank #29)
     Washington Bulger List (Rank #92)
     Washington State Peaks with 25 Miles of Isolation (Rank #11)
     Most Ascended Peaks (Rank #21)
     Peaks with Most Individual Summiters (Rank #18)

Selected Guidebook(s) for this Peak:
       Climbing Washingtons Mountains (Smoot)
       Summit Routes: Washington's 100 Highest Peaks (Stephenson, Bongiovanni)
       Cascade Alpine Guide, Vol. 1 (Beckey)
       Climbing the Cascade Volcanoes (Smoot)

Selected Trip Reports from this site:
     2004-04-25 by Greg Slayden (GPS Track)
     2009-05-09 by Greg Slayden (GPS Track)
     2011-07-04 by Dennis Poulin (GPS Track)
     2011-07-23 by Nathaniel Stott (GPS Track)
     2012-05-20 by Brandon Boulier (GPS Track)
     2012-05-25 by Bri Wilson (Unsuccessful)
     2012-05-28 by Karthik Krish (Unsuccessful) (GPS Track)
     2013-01-20 by James Barlow (GPS Track)
     2013-02-09 by Chad Straub (Unsuccessful)
     2013-03-09 by Chad Straub (Unsuccessful)
     2013-04-08 by Todd Bettinson
     2013-05-18 by Steve Brown (GPS Track)
     2013-09-12 by Nicholas Nelson
     2013-10-11 by Chad Straub (Unsuccessful)
     2013-12-26 by Marlin Thorman (GPS Track)
     2014-06-15 by Jack Slater
     2014-07-02 by Rob Woodall (GPS Track)
     2015-01-31 by Chad Straub
     2015-02-14 by Aharon Elston (GPS Track)
     2015-02-15 by Aharon Elston (GPS Track)
     2015-02-22 by Joanne Najdzin (Unsuccessful) (GPS Track)
     2015-06-06 by Cindy Lin (Unsuccessful)
     2016-03-19 by Mehmet Yavuz (GPS Track)
     2016-04-30 by Mike Kingsella (GPS Track)
     2017-01-02 by Nick Boswell (Unsuccessful) (GPS Track)
     2017-04-30 by KD (Krishna Dase) (Unsuccessful) (GPS Track)
     2017-05-06 by Aditya Sankar
     2017-05-07 by KD (Krishna Dase) (GPS Track)
     2017-05-07 by Yiqiu Wang (GPS Track)
     2017-05-20 by Taryn Simpson (GPS Track)
     2017-05-22 by KD (Krishna Dase) (GPS Track)
     2017-06-04 by Tomoko Nakajima (GPS Track)
     2018-01-14 by Alex Lockard (GPS Track)
     2018-02-11 by Mike Black (GPS Track)
     2018-04-21 by Peter Tran
     2018-04-22 by Seán Caulfield (GPS Track)
     2018-04-29 by KD (Krishna Dase) (GPS Track)
     2018-05-18 by Denise Mclellan
     2018-05-28 by Jeremy Benezra
     2019-01-13 by Eric Gilbertson

View ascents of peak by registered members (1366 total)

Nearby Peak Searches:
     Radius Search - Nearest Peaks to Mount Saint Helens
     Elevation Ladder from Mount Saint Helens
     Prominence Ladder from Mount Saint Helens

Although it has been over a quarter-century since the massive volcanic eruption of Mount Saint Helens on May 18, 1980, the mountain (or what's left of it) remains one of the best-known and most-climbed landmarks of the northwest.

Prior to 1980, Mount Saint Helens was 9,677 ft/2950 m high. This made for an interesting arrangement of the peaks in Washington: the five highest were all volcanoes, and the lowest volcano (Saint Helens) was just higher than Bonanza Peak (9511 ft/2899 m), the highest non-volcanic peak in the state. The eruption, however, ruined this nice dichotomy by blowing the top 1344 feet of the mountain, plus a good chunk of its core and north side, out into the sky as ash. Now Saint Helens is only 8333 feet high, dropping it from #5 to about #89 in elevation for Washington State.

Saint Helens is a relatively easy climb. There is a strict quota system that limits the number of hikers allowed in summer, and except in winter you must make reservations to get your permit. Before setting out for this peak, it is important to check the regulations with the National Forest Service. The ascent is best made in spring, since at high elevations the mountain is a giant heap of ash and loose rock that makes for miserable hiking unless it is snow-covered. Besides, the gentle slopes make an awesome backcountry ski run, and there is no quota for permits before May 15th.

From 2004 to 2007, the mountain came to life with minor eruptions, building a new area of lava in the crater, between the "Lava Dome" and the tall crater walls. At the peak rate this lava was flowing, it would have taken about twelve years before St.Helens would have regained its old height. But this minor mountain-building episode is now pretty much over, and the peak has reopened to climbers.

Notes on Summit Elevation and Location

Thanks to Eric Noel for pointing out that there is a new USGS map that supersedes the old one surveyed in 1982/1983, just a couple of years after the eruption. The new map shows a high point of 8333 feet, 32 feet lower that the standard elevation of 8365 from the old map. A recent trip to the crater rim with GPS devices shows that old summit location is now out over the crater, likely having eroded away after the 1983 map was made. The new map agrees exactly with what the GPS showed, in both location and elevation of the new summit. See the map window on this page for a view of the new map (zoom in to see the summit area).

The popular climbing routes end on the crater rim about a quarter mile east of the true summit, and only a minority of climbers trek over to the true summit from the 8284' spot where the crowds congregate. Anyone who spends time on the rim in the spring needs to take care near the huge snowy cornices that overhang the steep cliffs down into the crater--it is very smart to stay back from the edge, and longstanding climbing tradition is that you don't have to venture on to a cornice to have claimed the summit.


Currently, the database can only store the elevation of a summit as it is at the present time. There is no handling of historic peak elevations or list additions/deletions. So the pre-eruption peak is not an official peak and does not show up in any lists.

There is a "provisional" Mount Saint Helens (9677') in the database, and climbers who were there before 1980 can log an ascent of that peak, but for now it will not be promoted to the main database and will not appear on any lists. A possible future enhancement is finding a way to handle this in the database code.

Skiers slog up the endless south slopes of Mount Saint Helens to get a 5000-foot run in the spring corn snow (1998-05).
Web Map LinksPeakfinder Panorama
GeoHack Links   CalTopo   MyTopo   Bing Maps
Google Maps   Open Street Map
ProminenceKey Col Page  (Detailed prominence information)
  Clean Prominence: 4573 ft/1394 m
  Optimistic Prominence: 4613 ft/1406 m
  Line Parent: The Pinnacle
  Key Col: Metta Lake    3760 ft/1146 m
IsolationIsolation Page  (Detailed isolation information)
   Distance: 31.99 mi/51.49 km
   Isolation Limit Point: 46.202846, -121.528794
Nearest Higher Neighbor in the PBC database:
    Mount Adams-West Slope  (E)
RangesContinent: North America
Range2: Pacific Ranges
Range3: Cascade Range
Range4: South Washington Cascades
Range5: Mount Saint Helens Area (Highest Point)
Drainage Basins
Pacific Ocean

Pacific Ocean
OwnershipLand: Gifford Pinchot National Forest/Mount Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument (Highest Point)
Wilderness/Special Area: Mount Saint Helens NVM
Topo MapMount Saint Helens O46122b2 1:24,000
Route #1 Snow Climb: Monitor Ridge
Route #2 Snow Climb: Worm Flows
Trailhead: Marble Mtn. Sno-Park 2620 ft/799 m
Vertical Gain: 5713 ft/1741 m
Distance (one way): 4.6 mi/7.4 km
Data Source1:25,000 (or larger) Topographic Survey Map
Dynamic Map

 Mount Saint Helens    Other Peaks
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Other Photos

The cornices on the crater rim can be very dangerous.
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This is me on the summit of Mount Saint Helens (2014-05-11). Photo by Ken Akerman.
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On the summit ridge (2007-08-01). Photo by Ronald Land.
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Me and Jonathan at the summit (2014-06-29). Photo by Mike Bowen.
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Inside the crater of mount st.helens (2014-09-27). Photo by Lia Smaka.
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Saint Helens peak (2013-05-11). Photo by Ryan Stevenson.
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Start of climb - Dog's head is near summit, right side of the notch (2011-08-18). Photo by Wm Rogers.
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Mount Saint Helens from the air (2014-11-08). Photo by Jason Curtis.
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Mount Saint Helens aerial view, with Mount Hood in the background. Photo taken through an open section of airplane window (2014-11-08). Photo by Jason Curtis.
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Scoured surface on the mountain (2018-04-29). Photo by KD (Krishna Dase).
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