Ascent of Mount Saint Helens on 2013-01-20

Climber: James Barlow

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Sunday, January 20, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Saint Helens
    Elevation:8333 ft / 2539 m

Ascent Trip Report

Camped at trailhead Saturday night, great weather. Woke up at 3am, hit snooze once, and got ready to head up. I began by skiing up with my skins on. I was the first person on the trail! This was good and bad. It was still pretty icy, so when I hit treeline, I really had a tough time skinning up the hill. I slipped on the ice and hurt my left knee a bit, so I took off the skis and sat on my pack for about 20 minutes debating what to do. I heavily considered turning back, but I drove all this way and didn't want to waste the gas and perfect weather. Additionally, the avalanche danger is quite low as it has been warm and sunny for a week, a rarity in the Cascades I'm told. I strapped the skis to my pack and began to boot up the hill. This was around 4,400 ft, which meant I had 4,000 feet of gain to put in with ski boots - great... Not too long after I hit a steep section that had me a bit worried in just boots. Around this time, I was passed by a group of 3 on snowshoes and a pair of fellow AT skiers who also had to strap their skis to their backs around the 4,400 ft mark. I stopped to put on my crampons, and from this point I had no problems on the ascent. I used my trekking poles the rest of the way up to the false summit as it is not steep enough to need an ice axe. I ran into the skiers on the false summit. They were relaxing and had no desire to head to the real summit. The 3 people on snowshoes were just returning from the summit. I grabbed my ice axe, ditched the pack/skis, and headed for the summit. The ice axe turned out to be unnecessary, but I made the summit in about 15 minutes. Great views on top as there is currently an inversion in the Puget Sound area, so areas under ~600 ft are foggy and cold while everything above is sunny and warm! I made my way back to the top of Swift Glacier, the most popular descent route. I had lunch here and then swapped my crampons for my skis. I locked my heels and was ready to rock down to the car! The descent was great - perfect spring corn snow, that had softened all day to this point. Overall, this was a great introduction to my new home in Washington!

Left car/camp at 4:02 am, returned at 3:07pm
11.4 mi RT
2.0 mph moving avg
19.3 mph max
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:5783 ft / 1762 m
    Total Elevation Loss:100 ft / 30 m
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Skis, Ski Poles
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:5783 ft / 1762 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 5683 ft / 1732 m; Extra: 100 ft / 30m
    Loss on way in:100 ft / 30 m
    Route:Winter Route
    Start Trailhead:2650 ft / 807 m
Descent Statistics
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by James Barlow
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Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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