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| | |-+  May 9, 2011 - Return to Mount St. Helens
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Author Topic: May 9, 2011 - Return to Mount St. Helens  (Read 1959 times)
DickL
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Posts: 19


May 9, 2011 - Return to Mount St. Helens
« on: 05/10/11, 09:21 AM »

My last climb of Mt. St. Helens was in 1978, when the mountain was taller, I was younger, and I ascended the north side (via the Dog’s Head route).   I returned with my son Peter on Monday, climbing the south side via the Worm Flows route, this time on skis.  While the Dog’s Head route was renowned for its long glissade, skiing was much more fun. 

We ascended under cloudy then clear skis, to spectacular views of Mt. Adams to the east, Mt. Hood to the south and, from the top, Mt. Rainier to the north.  We left the parking lot at 6:45 AM, and arrived at the at the crater rim just before noon where we ate lunch and looked down into the steaming crater. 

The first 2,000 vertical feet down was fine skiing, with about 1-2” of new snow over a firm crust.  Below about 6,000’, we entered a dense cloud layer, which limited visibility to less than 50’.   We skied by Braille, and relied upon our GPS.  Below about 5,000’, we emerged from the cloud bank, but found heavy wet snow.

We saw the debris from several shallow wet snow slides on the east side of several of the ridges which drop south from the crater; one slide occurred between our ascent and descent.   Most slides were below ridge cornices. 

Before ascending, we camped at the Marble Mount Sno-Park.  We heard 150 people were on the route Sunday.  On Monday, we were the first to the crater and saw only 5 people on our ski down.   Above about 7,000’, new snow and wind had erased any trace of yesterday’s hordes.

Next time I won’t wait 33 years before repeating this climb; it helps that the mountain keeps getting shorter.


* 2011_05_09_Mt._St._Helens_0029.jpg (89.33 KB, 800x600 - viewed 886 times.)

* 2011_05_09_Mt._St._Helens_0032.jpg (112.56 KB, 800x600 - viewed 902 times.)

* 2011_05_09_Mt._St._Helens_0036_edited-1.jpg (63.75 KB, 800x576 - viewed 896 times.)
« Last Edit: 05/10/11, 09:27 AM by DickL » Logged
DG
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Posts: 297


Re: May 9, 2011 - Return to Mount St. Helens
« Reply #1 on: 05/10/11, 01:19 PM »

Nice photos and thanks for the conditions update.  It sounds like you guys picked a good day for your return to the mtn - interesting to hear about the change from the last time you climbed it!
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Kenji
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Posts: 483


Re: May 9, 2011 - Return to Mount St. Helens
« Reply #2 on: 05/10/11, 08:37 PM »

Hi Dick, sounds like you two had a nice trip.  Yeah, I wouldn't wait for another 33years to go back.  You'd need to be carried up and down the mountain even though it might be much shorter by then!  I should go back there fairly soon too.
« Last Edit: 05/10/11, 11:19 PM by Kenji » Logged
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