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Ascent of Mount Saint Helens Ridge 8281' on 2017-05-06

Climber: Jeremy Benezra

Others in Party:Mark J
Matt K
Date:Saturday, May 6, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Saint Helens Ridge 8281'
    Location:USA-Washington
    Elevation:8281 ft / 2524 m

Ascent Trip Report

Wanted to leave Seattle as early as possible, but by the time I picked up my 2 hiking partners and each had to make a required stop (blister kit, vodka), it was later than I wanted.

Hit the Snopark parking lot and many people were camping, grilling, drinking, looked fun. But we planned on snowcamping partway up the trail, so we shouldered our packs and headed out on snow from the parking lot.

Just before the trees really started to thin out we stomped out a large area to the left of the trail (heading uphill) and set up camp. Our 2 tents fit nicely on our stomped area. We later constructed a windbreak wall/bench and I’m sure other people would be camping at our site after we left. It was pretty well set up! Camp was at about 3700 feet.

We heard people heading up trail all night, from maybe 3am on. I got my hiking buddies up at 7am and tried to get us up and moving quickly, but we didn’t leave camp until 945! Slow start.

We got fairly warm hiking up to the weather station. One buddy was battling cramps the whole way up to here and after a lengthy rest decided he couldn’t go further and he’d meet us back at camp. So Mark and I continued uphill. Where it was no longer warm. The clouds came in, it got colder, and the wind hit hard. I had all my layers on, was sweating inside my gear, but was still pretty cold.

We made the crater rim. There were a ton of people up here, as well as a ton of people all over this hike. I could see there being 500 people today. Up there were 2 huskies and also a mid-sized dog wearing ski goggles. We rested 2 minutes and headed West towards the true summit. We noticed no one else going that way, amidst the fog and strong wind. We walked about 100 yards West until it starts to crest downhill, before heading back up hill to the summit. We could see no people that direction, no boot path, no nothing! We waited a few minutes to see if the fog would clear or if we could see anyone else that direction. But it was late in the day, visibility was low, the cornices coming off the main summit looked pretty gnarly, there was no one near the true summit, and we decided to call it a day.

The following day was clear, sunny and beautiful. Someone from my coed indoor soccer team climbed the day after we did and she was on the true summit in a tshirt. A much better day to head up a mountain. Unfortunately, I didn’t have that luck. I doubt anyone made it to the true summit my day.

So we headed back downhill, enjoying some great glissades maybe lasting a minute or so each. Back at camp our cramped-up hiking buddy was relaxing and waiting for us. We all made dinner and had some drinks and a second night camping on St Helens. We hiked out the next morning. All in all a fun trip out. Though I’ll need to come back to get the true summit.

Note – didn’t use traction devices thought we almost stopped to put on yaks right around the crater rim as it was icy.

Left camp at 945
Crater rim at 2 or 3?
Back to camp at 515
Summary Total Data
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Snow on Ground, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles, Tent Camp
    Weather:Cold, Windy, Overcast
Warm down low, cold and socked in up high



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