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Author Topic: Mt St Helens  (Read 2343 times)

Offline banishd

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Mt St Helens
« on: March 05, 2018, 10:47:48 AM »
Have a permit to hike in late May, who has done it? Wondering what your experience was like and any advice. I've looked at other resources but would appreciate any personal experiences you have had. Was thinking of driving up the night before and either sleeping in my rig or camping. Hitting the trail early as it sounds like 10-16 hours roundtrip. Anything you would do differently if you were to do it again?

Offline jackelope

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Re: Mt St Helens
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2018, 10:48:46 AM »
@Smossy

@Rob

Those 2 have been up. I'm sure there are others.
http://hunting-washington.com/smf/index.php/topic,126165.0.html
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Offline Smossy

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Re: Mt St Helens
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2018, 11:03:02 AM »
Have a permit to hike in late May, who has done it? Wondering what your experience was like and any advice. I've looked at other resources but would appreciate any personal experiences you have had. Was thinking of driving up the night before and either sleeping in my rig or camping. Hitting the trail early as it sounds like 10-16 hours roundtrip. Anything you would do differently if you were to do it again?
Took me about 14 hours. I'm in horrible shape. Went through way more water than I had anticilated. Even started to melt snow just to cover myself. Try to go with nice weather because it's not a view you'll want to miss.. umm I didn't have water proof boots so that was one mistake. Some parts of the mtn you'll be up to your waist with each step. Do NOT forget trekking poles and make sure they have snow shoes on the ends. (The giant round circles that help increase surface area) if your as in bad of shape as me your going to be relying on them alot. Don't forget waterproof gators. Sunscreen sunscreen sunscreen. I sweat so hard on that trip and even applied sunscreen about 5 or 6 times. Wasn't enough. Went home with some pretty severe facial burns. So get the highest spf u can find. Don't forget sunglasses eithrr. It's so white up there you will burn your eyes. Some people are able to do the summit up and down In about 6-8hours. Pretty insane. Crampons aren't needed but they would have helped in some areas. If you have some, bring em. If you meet experienced climbers when you get there, don't be afraid to ask questions or even semi tag along. We got lucky and met a group of older folks. 50s or so. Great people who had done it tons of times. Even had pole markers for every few hundred yards they planted incase weather got crazy could find our way back. Wear multiple layers. You will be hott. You will be cold... be ready for both.
One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.

Offline Smossy

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Re: Mt St Helens
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2018, 11:04:21 AM »
Also there's a campgrounds in town that sells passes and had maps. That's where we stayed the night before. We left at dark and we're through the 2 miles of woods before the sun showed up. Didn't get back to the truck untill about 2 hours after dark lol
One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.

Offline banishd

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Re: Mt St Helens
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2018, 11:17:13 AM »
some good stuff in there, thanks! I will have to remember to put the baskets back on my poles cause thats something i could easily forget. I am in decent shape but not in mountain shape yet. The water thing is always something I have a hard time figuring out. Have a 100 ounce camelback + nalgene. Think I may need to bring a bit more in addition to a few beers for the top.

Offline 2MANY

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Re: Mt St Helens
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2018, 11:17:26 AM »
Sounds fun.
Be safe.

Offline CastleRocker

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Re: Mt St Helens
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2018, 11:20:27 AM »
We've hiked it several (7) times.  I tell people that there are three parts to it; the hike, the climb, and the trudge.  The hike is the easy trail through the trees at the bottom.  The climb is the middle part where you put on gloves, and climb up the "worm flows"...it's all volcanic rock... Vesicular Basalt.  The top section is the trudge.  Sandy pumice gravel.  Takes three steps to gain one step in places.  You are going early enough, that you'll probably be in snow, instead of the sandy type stuff.  Bring water, something to eat, and a good camera.  It's a great hike.
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Offline jackelope

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Re: Mt St Helens
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2018, 11:35:51 AM »
That much water would get me to the top. I like my water... Is there water anywhere you can filter besides snow? With the sun and the physical exertion and the altitude, don't mess around with water. Not sure how much experience you have in higher elevations...I may be stating the obvious.

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Offline Bunny Thumper

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Re: Mt St Helens
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2018, 12:16:30 PM »
Start loading up on water 5 days before the climb. Rent or buy an ice ax for safety, if you loose your footing, you could slide along way out of control with a good possibility of serious injury.

Offline Smossy

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Re: Mt St Helens
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2018, 12:42:43 PM »
Start loading up on water 5 days before the climb. Rent or buy an ice ax for safety, if you loose your footing, you could slide along way out of control with a good possibility of serious injury.
With that being said. I didn't see it was needed. But not a bad idea if you plan on glissading down. Get a heavy duty garbag bag or two. Bring it with you for when your ready to go down. I think I got all the way down in about 2 hours lol. Basicall just sit on it. Don't get inside it. You want to be able to throw your feet out. One time I think I was probably going about 20mph down and threw my feet into the snow to hard. Flew straight head over heals. BeSt time of my life. Everyone had a good laugh.
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Offline banishd

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Re: Mt St Helens
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2018, 12:56:07 PM »
Yeah, I'll get in some training hikes to help know how much water I need. I have done full days with not much more than a nalgene and sometimes I run through my 100 ounce camelback. I do backpack and have been doing high buck for a few years but not much over 5500'. I have an ice axe and have glissaded a few times on some early season back pack trips. Can't wait to do that again.

Online Magnum_Willys

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Re: Mt St Helens
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2018, 01:05:23 PM »
The average is 9 hours from Climbers bivouac.   If young and eager you can do it under 3 hours but thats running - sliding - or glassading down.  Two hours up 45 mins down is my best but I went two years ago with older relatives and we took 9 hours with lots of breaks.    In May snow slows things going up but can speed things going down.

Take a dust mask for the last 1/4 mile if windy.  In May you shouldn't have a problem as snow covers the ash.

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Offline Wetwoodshunter

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Re: Mt St Helens
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2018, 01:29:21 PM »
That much water would get me to the top. I like my water... Is there water anywhere you can filter besides snow? With the sun and the physical exertion and the altitude, don't mess around with water. Not sure how much experience you have in higher elevations...I may be stating the obvious.

There is no water available on this hike. I did it last year in August. We camped at Climbers Bicouac and charged up the mountain in the morning. We went with a group of four 1 of the girls had never hiked anything like this before so myself, one of the girls and my dog went ahead and hung out at the top for an extra hour or so.

As far as water, I went through about 3 liters between me and my dog. I would recommend taking trekking poles on the hike, they help out tremendously. Also, grab your binoculars I saw some mountain goats when I was up there that I wouldn't have been able to watch without mine.


Offline Oh Mah

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Re: Mt St Helens
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2018, 01:42:15 PM »
Start loading up on water 5 days before the climb. Rent or buy an ice ax for safety, if you loose your footing, you could slide along way out of control with a good possibility of serious injury.
This is the most important gear for the trip.I also have climbed several times and the ice sometimes have no breaks,you will walk on very smooth most likely wet ice.when coming down i usually come down in a garbage bag using axe to slow myself down.The ice has like troughs to slide down most of the time making it an awesome ride that only people that climb can enjoy,the troughs give you a known direction of travel but at the end is like said,lava rocks. good luck and enjoy.Make sure you have a good camera when looking down on the clouds is the best pics i have ever taken.
"Boss of the woods"
(this is in reference to the biggie not me).

Offline N7XW

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Re: Mt St Helens
« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2018, 02:56:05 PM »
So how many miles is it up and back?  Now I'm curious.

Offline Ebell

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Re: Mt St Helens
« Reply #15 on: March 05, 2018, 05:53:25 PM »
We went late in the season and I wish I had brought along a pair of ski goggles. The blowing sand and my contact lenses did not get along!

Offline MacAttack

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Re: Mt St Helens
« Reply #16 on: March 05, 2018, 06:11:06 PM »
I climbed last year in July. Threw out my back two weeks before. We had snow and were able to glissade down majority of the way,you won't have an issue. Lots of water, I went through 3 or so liters. 3.5 hrs up, maybe 1.5 down.

i'm doing it again in a couple weeks, I will try and take pictures.

Offline Fl0und3rz

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Re: Mt St Helens
« Reply #17 on: March 05, 2018, 06:22:16 PM »
Take salty snacks or something to replenish electrolytes.  I had the worst headache after a climb up Monitor Ridge from climbers bivouac.  We partied the night before and left about 4am, IIRC.  Best burger and fries in town I ever had with loads of salt, and the headache evaporated. 

If you expect snow coming down, I'd take snowshoes, in addition to the other gear suggested - and practicing self-arrest -  unless you like post-holing.

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Online Magnum_Willys

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Re: Mt St Helens
« Reply #18 on: March 05, 2018, 06:41:31 PM »
So how many miles is it up and back?  Now I'm curious.
10 miles but last 5 is all downhill !

Offline N7XW

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Re: Mt St Helens
« Reply #19 on: March 05, 2018, 08:31:18 PM »
So how many miles is it up and back?  Now I'm curious.
10 miles but last 5 is all downhill !
Ok, thanks.

Offline dan11011

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Re: Mt St Helens
« Reply #20 on: March 05, 2018, 08:32:29 PM »
I did this hike a couple summers ago. Slept in a near by town. Got started at dark and got back late afternoon/early evening. Water is important. Bring at least 4 litres. In the summer, it is not technical by any means. (No crampons, ice axe, or ice travel). No clue in May.  :dunno: However it is a bit of a grunt. Make sure your knees are in decent shape as a lot of the boulder travel feels like hiking stairs. The last bit of the hike is on ash which gives way as you take each step. Everyone I talked to complained about this portion so much that when I arrived to it, I didn't think it was as bad as they made it up to be.

Start early and have fun. You shouldn't have any problems if you are capable of long hikes.

Offline banishd

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Re: Mt St Helens
« Reply #21 on: March 05, 2018, 10:26:11 PM »
You all have some good advice. Think I will pick up some crampons and bring my snowshoes. Hopefully I can meet a few people up there who just came down to see if they think I should bring them. This trip is motivation for me to continue working on my fitness, giving me a near term goal before elk season. Next year I'll be 40 and looking for advice on climbing Rainier. Have to keep proving to myself I'm not too old I guess.

Offline Rob

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Re: Mt St Helens
« Reply #22 on: March 05, 2018, 11:01:55 PM »
Lots of good info here.  Will just make a few more points
-there may be quite a bit of snow in May.  You may want crampons or microspikes.  Check trip reports a few weeks in advance to see what you can expect.
-agee on the gloves recommendation.  Lava rock is sharp so I recomend leather palm gardening gloves over nice snow gloves
-biggest issue I see on the mountain is not having enough water.  Hydrate the day before and pound a liter at the trailhead before you start.  Avoid alcohol the day before. This will not only help with the climb, but will keep any altitude issues you may have at bay.
-next biggest issue is sun exposure which smossy covered well.  I use a buff that covers my face and a hat and glasses.  I have zero face skin showing on mountians.  I don't even put on sun screen due to how well I am covered.  Not only is there no shade above the tree line, but the snow amplifies it and the uv exposure increases significantly with every 1000 feet of elevation.  Get glasses that block sun on the sides and stop uv.  My buddy and I climbed it on an overcast day in April and he got snow blindness.  Had to sit in a dark room for a week with sunburnt retinas. He said it was....  unpleasant.
-do not under estimate weather.   My first attempt in October saw rain, snow, and 50 to 60 mph winds on the rim.  Pure misery.  Don't be afraid to call the climb from the trailhead.  Temps drop 3 to 4 degrees with each 1,000 feet of gain.  Whiteout is possible.  Not worth it.  Great weathersite: https://www.mountain-forecast.com/peaks/Mount-Saint-Helens/forecasts/2549
-don't forget the true summit is about 2/10ths of a mile to the left once you hit the rim!
-if there is snow at the rim, beware of  cornice and stay the hell back.  https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snow_cornice

Have a great hike, it is an amazing mountian!

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Live like you ainít afraid to die.
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Offline Rob

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Re: Mt St Helens
« Reply #23 on: March 05, 2018, 11:09:34 PM »
Oh yeah, for water I would bring 3 liters.  And I would leave the beers for the trailhead once you are down.

And drive careful on the way home...  early starts and long physical days can make for a sleepy ride home.
_______________________________________
Sit tall in the saddle, hold you head up high.
Keep your eyes fixed on where the trail meets the sky.
Live like you ainít afraid to die.
Just sit back and enjoy your ride
  - Chris Ledoux

Offline Rob

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Re: Mt St Helens
« Reply #24 on: March 05, 2018, 11:16:49 PM »
_______________________________________
Sit tall in the saddle, hold you head up high.
Keep your eyes fixed on where the trail meets the sky.
Live like you ainít afraid to die.
Just sit back and enjoy your ride
  - Chris Ledoux

Offline Yakirack

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Re: Mt St Helens
« Reply #25 on: March 06, 2018, 09:01:32 AM »
We did this in June and it was pretty dry that year except for the top had a bit of snow left. Watch out for the cornices.
It's a loooooooong trudge and made Mt. Adams seem easy in my opinion.
Stayed at the Lone Fir Resort in Cougar....you can tent there as well and they have a little restaurant and store.
Go the day before and hit the Ape Caves...it will be the best part of your trip  :tup:

Offline ruttnbuck

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Re: Mt St Helens
« Reply #26 on: March 07, 2018, 02:08:30 PM »
Great info guys thanks,  I also got climbing permits for late may and will be my first attempt looking forward to an awsome hike. 

Offline Calvin Rayborn

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Re: Mt St Helens
« Reply #27 on: March 09, 2018, 01:40:13 PM »
We did this in June and it was pretty dry that year except for the top had a bit of snow left. Watch out for the cornices.
It's a loooooooong trudge and made Mt. Adams seem easy in my opinion.
Stayed at the Lone Fir Resort in Cougar....you can tent there as well and they have a little restaurant and store.
Go the day before and hit the Ape Caves...it will be the best part of your trip  :tup:

 :yeah: Carbon copy experience to Yakirack - Put in at the Bivouac which is the best entry point for a first timer. Follow the SNO POLES!

Offline Rubber Ducky

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Re: Mt St Helens
« Reply #28 on: March 15, 2018, 11:29:23 AM »
I hiked up St Helens last year on june13th. Made this video: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0_VDsFS5IFs  I have permits this year for may 31st Iím expecting snow and ice.

Offline branches

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Re: Mt St Helens
« Reply #29 on: March 16, 2018, 08:47:47 PM »
If you are hiking up in May or early June I think you will be hiking up the winter route. We have hiked up the mountain 4 years in a row in late July and early August and had no problems but in late May I think the snow level will still be low and you will start at Marble Mountain snow park and go up the Worm Flows. You will need to plan for hiking up and down in the snow. Since you are starting at Midnight you will be getting a good start at the summit before the sun gets out and warms up the snow. You will need to have protection from the wind and sun so make sure you have ski goggles for the wind and sun screen for the sun. Sunglasses will work ok but you can still get that dust or cat litter in your eyes. I have always wanted to hike that mountain in the spring I think that everything in the area covered in snow would look awesome. I hope you and your hiking group have a great hike to the summit.

Offline scotsman

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Re: Mt St Helens
« Reply #30 on: March 17, 2018, 06:42:10 PM »
I summited with my daughter on a beautiful summer day. August 15 it was whiteout and below freezing on the summit. Glad  I marked our course on my gps on the way up.. had to shoot waypoints on the way down.

 

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