Ascent of Mount Saint Helens on 2014-03-30

Climber: Michael Wanberg

Others in Party:Jeremy B
Emily M
Matt M
William K
Nichole M
Zach I
Alex S
Liz S
Tait S
Date:Sunday, March 30, 2014
Ascent Type:Unsuccessful - Turned Back
Peak:Mount Saint Helens
    Elevation:6800 ft / 2072 m

Ascent Trip Report

A very interesting day to be out. We had the full gamut of blue skies and driving snow, with a little sleet and rain thrown in for good measure, and winds from ~30mph to complete calm. The temperature was near and below freezing on the ascent. Two other groups (one pair, one of six) were out as well.

We had many first-timers out with us for an introduction to mountaineering; we turned back because of time and the slight possibility of avalanche just above us where the slope steepens (30degrees) to join Monitor Ridge.

There was a significant 'storm slab' of up to 4' in some places from the previous week. Two test pits were dug, with two single-column compression tests at ~6400 (20degrees) and two single-column and an extended-column test at ~6800' (22degrees). Consistent results of fracture at a small crust layer (4"depth) at/near #12 were observed. The crust below the storm slab (at 3-4') was very thick (18"+) and fairly uniform.

Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:4140 ft / 1262 m
    Distance:7 mi / 11.3 km
    Route:Swift Creek (winter)
    Trailhead:Marble Mtn Snow Park  2660 ft / 810 m
    Grade/Class:Class 2
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Open Country, Snow on Ground, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Ski Poles, Snowshoes
    Nights Spent:0 nights away from roads
    Weather:Snowing, Cold, Windy, Low Clouds
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:6 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:3 Hours 

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