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Mt St Helens Climb-Hike Up/Glissade Down

Climbers standing at the rim

About the hike:

This is a special climb done as part of an annual ritual by many climbers going up Mt St Helens. The second weekend of May is typically one of the busiest times to climb Mt. St. Helens because it is just before the 100 climber per day quota goes into effect on May 15th. Prior to that day, there is no limit on how many climbers can ascend MSH.

The mountain is a great introduction to mountaineering and a great way to get in shape for the rest of the season. It's a mother’s day weekend tradition for males and females to wear dresses (optional) while climbing (over your other clothes).

Lower open slopes just outside the forest

This is a long day climb with over 5500ft of elevation gain and a good climb to do if you're thinking of larger mountains like Mt. Rainier. It takes most people 6-10hrs to climb to the crater rim and back, depending on pace, load, group size and conditioning.

The ONLY Climbing Route is from the south side off Hwy 503 past Cougar and the Ape Caves.

I like moving at a relatively moderate pace, get to the summit, spend about 30-45 minutes, glissade down and hike out. I am, however, flexible and open for suggestions and special considerations.

I will purchase a new outfit this year to go along with my wig and a hat. Make up is optional:)

A well dressed and happy skier

Climbing Permit: $22 per climber. You can purchase in advance online.

Schedule:
5/10 Fri afternoon: drive to Marble Mountain Sno-Park and setup car camp
5/11 Sat:
Early start (5-6 am)- Glissade down, hike out and drive back to Seattle area

Recommended gear: Boots, packs, gaiters, hiking poles, traction devices, ice ax, adequate clothing, gloves, 10 essentials, rain pants for the glissade down, etc. Snowshoes are optional. I will bring mine, but will decide if I will use them based on snow conditions and trip reports.

Camping gear: You're welcome to bring a tent to camp at the lot. I will sleep in my car, unless you have a very hihg class tent with real soft floor and warm interior.

I can take two others with me.

Hike stats: About 11 miles roundtrip and over 5500 feet of elevation gain to an altitude of 8366-strenuous.

The first thousand feet of the climb is basically a hike up cross country ski trails. That early in the day, the snow should be firm, but with enough give for good footing. The glissade back down is almost 3000 feet. A whole lot of fun.

More information: http://www.mountsthelens.com/hiking.html

Weather, snow conditions, wind conditions, or visibility have to be optimal. Otherwise, this trip will be rescheduled or changed with a relatively short notice.

Join or login to comment.

  • A former member
    A former member

    Who DIDN'T have wet feet, and what did you wear?

    May 14, 2013

    • Brian S

      Mine were pretty dry. I wore these: http://www.rei.com/pr...­

      May 14, 2013

    • βrian

      Plastic (heavy and bulky) mountaineering boots are nearly the only foolproof solution to keep feet dry while hiking/climbing on wet snow. While some people swear by waterproofing products like this one (http://www.rei.com/pr...­), most of us in the PNW accept wet feet as the norm. Sometimes, a bit of comfort can come from changing, mid-day, into an extra pair of dry socks.

      May 14, 2013

  • Michael T.

    Michael #1, I'm going to make this hike an annual tradition!

    May 14, 2013

  • Brian S

    Everything has been said but I'll reiterate. :) Thanks to Michael for inspirational encouragement to try this hike. This was my first MeetUp and it was a pleasure meeting such a mix of fun, friendly people! I hope to see you again sometime!

    May 14, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Michael #2, you took some incredible photos of the hike, by the way. You should shop a few of them around when you get a chance. Amazing.

    May 13, 2013

    • JUJU

      Hey M2, you are pro in photograph -:):)

      May 13, 2013

    • Michael T.

      Thanks y'all!

      May 13, 2013

  • Amit

    Thanks for organizing this Michael. I didnt get a chance to meet everyone but Im sure I will run into you guys on future hikes :)

    I posted some pics on flickr : http://www.flickr.com/photos/amityville/sets

    May 13, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Thank you for putting together a very special event, which was a highlight of my life. The wonderful people I met along the way made the trip that much more enjoyable.

    1 · May 12, 2013

    • Andrew

      You're awesome. I'm going to log a 0.4 mile walk from the light rail to my crash pad a few minutes from now. Wish me luck. See you in '14!

      May 12, 2013

    • JUJU

      Wow ! Derek you are super runner, hope see you next year -:)

      1 · May 12, 2013

  • goo

    This will be one of the great memories of my lifetime - thank you all for being a part of it, and thanks especially to Michael for invaluable planning, guidance and leadership to make it all come together!

    May 12, 2013

  • Michael T.

    What else is there to say?! Ditto!

    May 12, 2013

  • βrian

    Great leadership, perfect weather, awesome teamwork, and amazing ski conditions! Thanks, Michael, for organizing!

    May 12, 2013

  • Barbara L

    Thank you, Michael for keeping us all in line! It had to have been an amazing day for all 22 of us and thanks to you it was not only an awesome experience but the whole event went extremely smoothly. You rock, man!

    May 12, 2013

  • Barbara L

    Amazing!

    May 12, 2013

  • Michael

    This was a large and fun group of 22 wild cats. I really enjoyed the spirited enthusiasm of everyone. It made for a fun, rewarding and awesome experience. 21 members got to the summit on one of the most impressive climbs in the Cascades. Good job everyone:)

    1 · May 12, 2013

  • Namhee P

    So crazy amazing!! Thanks so much for organizing, Michael!

    May 11, 2013

  • johne

    concur with the below comments. everything very clearly laid out and executed.

    May 11, 2013

  • Andrew

    Perfect weather, decent snow, fit group. Wonderful day.

    May 11, 2013

  • JUJU

    It was amazing day with nice n awesome people-:) thanks Michael for all of you work -:) you are great leader-:):)
    Thanks all of you make epic hiking-:)

    May 11, 2013

  • Wensheng L.

    That was one of the best and also one of the most challenging hikes I have done in Seattle area! BUT WE DID IT! What a great group people we had! Special thanks to Michael, who did an excellent job organizing this trip! Look forward to the next adventure with the group and hope to see you all again!

    May 11, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Thanks to Michael for a great job organizing and arranging awesome weather!!

    May 11, 2013

  • βrian

    Recent Helens (ski) trip report indicates sun and heat are taking their toll: http://www.turns-all-year.com/skiing_snowboarding/trip_reports/index.php?topic=28490.0

    May 8, 2013

    • JUJU

      Brian, sorry will be in 5min,

      May 10, 2013

  • Michael T.

    Can someone print me a set of driving directions? My wifi is down which means my wireless print is also down : (

    May 10, 2013

  • Daniel P.

    I've got room for two more, planning on meeting up and leaving at the normal time/place.

    May 8, 2013

    • Brian S

      Okay, 2:15.

      May 9, 2013

    • Wensheng L.

      Hi Daniel, I might be driving after all. I took my Forester to the Subaru service center in Renton and got a loaner car. I'm hoping to pick up my car tomorrow afternoon after the hike.

      May 10, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I will drive, but absolutely have to be back to catch a midnight flight out of SEATAC. I plan to sleep in the vehicle, and can bring along 3 others.

    May 4, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Chee-Wei & Michelle, please contact me when you get a chance. Andrew and I will be at the P&R no later than 2:15pm.

      May 9, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Michelle, best of luck on your tests. There's always next time. Too bad you couldn't get a little extra-credit for climbing Mount St. Helens.

      May 10, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I will drive and have 1 open seat, but absolutely have to be back to catch a midnight flight out of SEATAC.

    May 8, 2013

    • Andrew

      Do you still have an open seat? I have a 9:30pm flight.

      May 9, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Yes. I can be reached at[masked]-4666. Cutting it close, eh?

      May 9, 2013

  • Amit

    We will see you guys at the park and ride.

    May 9, 2013

  • Michael T.

    Any car space available for the 2:30 Friday departure? Would love to ride with someone. I'm sure it will be nap time on the way back.

    May 9, 2013

  • Michael T.

    I've got a 2wd Xterra. I can take 3 with gear.

    May 6, 2013

    • Michael

      Yep!

      May 9, 2013

    • Brian S

      Thanks!

      May 9, 2013

  • Sean

    I'll be there, but on my own schedule due to work Friday and plans to ski the descent early before the snow gets mushy/unstable. Maybe I'll see you all on the mountain.

    May 8, 2013

    • βrian

      We'll look for you amongst the hoards of snowshoers and skiers. The freezing level's been 11,000' all week so I think mush is inevitable regardless of start time.

      May 9, 2013

  • Wensheng L.

    I just had my car checked and discovered a couple of problems. I would prefer not to take it for a long drive if possible. So hopefully I can get a ride with someone. Does anyone know if I can park the car over night at Park&Ride? Is it safe?

    May 8, 2013

  • Andrew

    I'm also looking for a ride. Can leave any time.

    May 8, 2013

  • Dan T.

    Wish I could join but fathers 70th. Have a great trip! last trip in 2011 was amazing http://www.fullscreen360.com/mt-st-helens-summit-2011. A virtual view for all the first timers. Cheers!

    May 8, 2013

  • βrian

    Since there are still permits available, I may reschedule my ski tour to the same date as this event. Anyone else planning to ski the route?

    May 3, 2013

    • Patrick M.

      Brian, I would be Splitboarding if I go. I would like to, but don't want to presume that modes of transport, other than hiking, would be congruent with what everybody else is thinking.
      Thoughts?

      May 7, 2013

    • βrian

      I'm skiing so, yes, you and your Splitboard are welcome.

      May 8, 2013

  • Namhee P

    Is anyone planning or need to leave later on Friday? I'm not positive I can get off by 2:30pm and will do my best.

    May 6, 2013

    • evan

      I would like to leave a little later too, but I don't have a car so I don't make the rules :)

      May 7, 2013

    • Patrick M.

      If they allow splitboarders on this, I can drive later in the day ... Say, leave Seattle at 5pm

      May 7, 2013

  • βrian

    I can drive and take 3 passengers. Looks like it's going to be toasty on Saturday: http://www.atmos.washington.edu/data/zone_report.KPQR.html

    May 4, 2013

    • βrian

      You may ride with me which leaves two open spots. BTW: on the ride home, I'm stopping for a quick shower at the Lone Fir Resort which offers public showers for cheap (~ $2.50 for 10 mins).

      May 6, 2013

    • βrian

      My car is now full.

      May 7, 2013

  • Abhinaba B.

    4 of us already got passes to do this on 12th. The schedule of this meetup says 5/12 Sat. However, 5/12 is Sunday. So not sure whether to sign up....

    April 29, 2013

    • Michael

      Hi, sorry for the confusion with dates. It is for Friday and Saturday (5/10 and 5/11). We'll save some of the views for your ascend on Sunday:)

      April 29, 2013

    • Abhinaba B.

      Changed plans we are also climbing on 5/11. Meet you on the trail

      May 7, 2013

  • βrian

    I grabbed a table for four outside. It's on the right before you enter Rock Bottem Brewery.

    May 7, 2013

  • Rich R.

    My first real hike was mail box peak in shorts and sneekers. I have some real gear now... Gators, clamp ons, poles, good back pack and a super eager heart and a good listener. Rain pants easy ...What are the ten essentials?

    April 29, 2013

  • Wensheng L.

    I plan on sleeping in my car. So I will drive and can take one or two people depending on how much gear you bring. I have a 4WD Forester.

    May 6, 2013

  • Wensheng L.

    It looks like the weather is going to be perfect. Looking forward to a great hike and meeting some fun people!

    2 · May 6, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Following this event closely...So, in your opinion, would I be able to make an 11:59PM flight out of SEATAC?

    April 30, 2013

    • Michael

      Right on! Will call you next week.

      May 3, 2013

    • Michael

      TRIP UPDATE: The weather is looking great for our MSH trip. This is a trip report from my friend Nathan who climbed the hill Saturday the 4th:________>The Mt St Helens hike was amazing and the weather perfect. The snow was soft and you would sink about 18” when climbing in the fresh snow. If you followed earlier footsteps the climbing was much easier. There was no ice so we did not use our crampons. Snowshoes looked like a good idea, at least for the first 3 miles or so. Once we hit the steep climbing the snowshoes did not appear to be an advantage.

      The best part by far was the glissade down. With the snow being soft and deep I did not feel anything on my backside.

      May 6, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I will be driving down Friday evening and continuing on to Longview after the hike, so I can't take anyone with me.

    May 6, 2013

  • Pam N.

    This sounds like so much fun. Maybe next time.

    May 5, 2013

  • johne

    l live in fremont and am happy to get a ride from somebody. if not, I will drive.

    May 5, 2013

  • evan

    I don't have my car at the moment so am hoping I can get a ride from someone, thanks!

    May 5, 2013

    • Michael

      I am sure once we finalize driving and carpooling arrangements in a couple of days we'll be able to sort out driver and passenger teams. Stay tuned for an email update by Wednesday.

      May 5, 2013

  • Phil C

    Up on Glacier Peak that weekend

    April 30, 2013

  • johne

    I have wanted to do something like this for a long time. weather permitting it sounds great!

    April 29, 2013

  • βrian

    We'll be skiing up there the following week so keep your glissade path out of the prime fall line. ;o)

    April 29, 2013

    • Michael

      We'll smooth the path for your ski down, and I'll leave you a nice bottle of suds to enjoy:)

      April 29, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    So, is it Fri & Sat or Sat & Sun?

    April 29, 2013

    • Michael

      Derek, I was still working on the plan when you commented. It is Friday-Saturday. I have to be back in Seattle Saturday evening.

      April 29, 2013

22 went

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