Mount Saint Helens

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Mount Saint Helens Trip Report (#6773)

  • Signed By: Nate W.
  • Date submitted: August 01, 2004
  • Date(s) climbed: 07-29-04

I made the climb in the spur of the moment and did not prepare well enough physically. I would suggest that you be in pretty good condition to make this climb. I made it up in 6 ½ hours and it was grueling all the way. I spent ½ hour at the top enjoying the awesome view. What a place to stand! It took 3 ½ hours to get down with some of the way glissading (riding on your behind down the snow field). It was 10 ½ hours of physical exertion and at times I wondered if I would make it. I felt like quitting many times, but was determined to keep going. Coming down is easier because gravity helps, but it is still difficult and I didn't think the last leg from the tree line to the bivouac would ever end. It was the most difficult thing I have done in my life and also one of the most rewarding. Bring at least 4 quarts of water and eat a large breakfast to give you energy. I only had a peanut and jelly sandwich and a banana (not enough). While on the climb, I had very little appetite for the dry energy bars and only really had a ham and cheese sandwich mid way up. My body needed more than that because on the way down my legs were shaky. A fall on one of the thousands of sharp boulders would have been bad. Fortunately, I came away with only a scraped knee and sore muscles. Don't climb above and to the side of other climbers. Monitor ridge has different levels on a horizontal plane. Someone was at our side but above us and accidentally sent a bolder rolling down at a bunch of us. He yelled to let us know. People scrambled to get out of the way and a young guy gashed his knee very badly on a rock as he was getting out of the away. It was a once in a lifetime experience and well worth it. Just be in good condition or it is extremely difficult. One last piece of advice. Don't take Advil on an empty stomach when you get down.

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