Mount Saint Helens Trip Report (#6786)
- Signed By: Chris Fausner
- Date submitted: July 08, 2003
Began hike around 7:30AM at Climber's Bivouac. It was raining and 46 degrees at that point and the weather deteriorated from there. This was my first climb of Mt. St. Helens and was doing it alone. I tagged along with some other hikers who were also on their first journey up the mountain. The two miles through the forest were pretty easy and the trail was well maintained. Once above tree line, the weather turned breezy with intermmitent rain. Be sure to carry waterproof pants/jacket w/hood if there is a chance of rain. Believe me, it will make your hike more enjoyable! Several people I hiked with turned back due to the cold/rain/sleet that day (and under-preparation). Being alone, I turned back with them when the last hiker said he wouldn't press on (this was at the last pole on the Monitor Ridge route). Disappointed, I started my disent. After decending about a mile, I ran into someone I met at the trailhead. He and a buddy were on their way up. The weather was starting to break and I turned around and hiked back up with them. The weather then turned as well. The rain and wind picked up (bring waterproof gloves too!) and the temp dropped to 35 degrees...with the wind blowing 20-30 mph. Now, back in the clouds, I reached the end of the Monitor Ridge route. Now, all that lay between me and the crater rim was the ash for the next 1/2 mile or so. It was tough and slow climbing up a 30 degree ash/pumice covered slope. By now, one member of the group turned back so it was just me and another guy. We slogged our way up the wet ash and through the falling sleet and snow and 30 mph winds to the top. There was a small snow field to trek though - 95% of the entire trail was snow free. Although we couldn't see too much of the crater, it was well worth the trip and a personal accomplishment through all the weather. The crater had quite a bit of snow in it and we even heard a small rock slide down the inside walls. There was a substantial cornice of snow that jutted out from the crater rim. I ventured onto it (stupid) to peer into the crater. Would probably only do that again if I was tethered to something....even so it's not the safest thing to do and not recommended. Being up on the crater rim you couldn't help but feel humbled by the mountain, the crater, and the thought of what happened on May 18, 1980. What a feeling! I look forward to my next trip...hopefully the weather will be nicer.....like it was by 6PM that day when we got back to Climber's Bivouac. Ugh! Well, at least it allowed for some fantastic pictures of the mountain.