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| |-+  December 2011 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  Dec 5, Mt St Helen's - Dyer Glacier
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Author Topic: Dec 5, Mt St Helen's - Dyer Glacier  (Read 2622 times)
Rainypm
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Dec 5, Mt St Helen's - Dyer Glacier
« on: 12/06/11, 11:38 AM »

I had already checked out the winter climbing route (Worm Flow) on Dec 1 and found the conditions poor with the lack of snow coverage. So today off to my late spring route.

I quickly checked at Cougar Snowpark found the gate still open on the 81rd and off I went. A couple of miles up the road I found snow but the local hunters had packed a really good track to continue on. The 830rd (Climbers Bivouac) is gated and has good snow coverage but skinning from this point would only gain me a little elevation. I pressed on to Red Rock Pass which would put me only a couple hundred feet lower then the Bivouac for a starting point. A good 4x4 is needed to get to the pass.

There is a trail from the pass which gets you through the woods but the Forest Service doesn't mark the trail for winter usage. You clear the trees at 4800' and up you go. The snow was crusty through the trees and softened from 4800' up. I found some icy spots but it was softening with the high freezing level.

The coverage was great, the solitude amazing and the views fantastic. Sorry no crater photos as I was on the westside of the crater and it is usually heavily cornice.

The ski down was awesome, the snow had softened perfectly. 

I missed the trail out but found it a few hundred feet lower. The snow in the trees was really icy with the shade but it made a quick trip out.


* ButteDome.jpg (156.11 KB, 800x600 - viewed 954 times.)

* Dryer.jpg (44.86 KB, 450x600 - viewed 956 times.)

* BackatPass.jpg (100.63 KB, 800x600 - viewed 965 times.)
« Last Edit: 12/07/11, 11:19 AM by Rainypm » Logged
OldHouseMan
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Re: Dec 6, Mt St Helen's - Dyer Glacier
« Reply #1 on: 12/06/11, 01:23 PM »

I've been up to Red Rock Pass in the summer on my mt bike, but have never been in this are during the winter months. How does the terrain on the upper mountain compare to the terrain around the standard winter route on the south side? From your pictures, it looks much better.
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Rainypm
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Re: Dec 6, Mt St Helen's - Dyer Glacier
« Reply #2 on: 12/06/11, 04:35 PM »

The winter route (worm flow) has the initial open area then into the ridge lines which funnel you down, where as on the Dyer Glacier area has more open routes. It reminds me of groomed runs at a resort. 
The snow is more wind effected on this side which during the current conditions smoothed thing out and softened better then the packed powder. 
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telemack
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Re: Dec 6, Mt St Helen's - Dyer Glacier
« Reply #3 on: 12/06/11, 08:13 PM »

Good effort and some cool local knowledge. 
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There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval.
George Santayana
rong
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Re: Dec 6, Mt St Helen's - Dyer Glacier
« Reply #4 on: 12/07/11, 08:32 AM »

Nice trip Steve.  We were over on the worm flows.  Attached pic of worm flows on the same day for comparison.  You had much better coverage.


* helens_0004.jpg (84.75 KB, 800x600 - viewed 536 times.)
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Amar Andalkar
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Re: Dec 6, Mt St Helen's - Dyer Glacier
« Reply #5 on: 12/07/11, 10:41 AM »

Nice work getting into and skiing the southwest side and Dryer Glacier. That's my favorite route on St Helens, especially since it leads directly to the true summit. I've only managed to ski it once, in April 2004, due to typically long access when the road is gated. I followed a large gully heading directly towards the toe of the Dryer Glacier after trying in vain to follow the trail through the woods (see old TR from back when TAY only allowed 1 photo per TR !?!?). No cornice on the rim at all that time.

I really want to ski that route again, and your TR has renewed that urge. If I had thought that the gate at Cougar Sno-Park could possibly be open, I would have totally tried to take a look that way when I skied St Helens on Dec 5 via Worm Flows. I assume that you also skied this on the 5th, since you posted on the morning of the 6th?

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Rainypm
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Re: Dec 5, Mt St Helen's - Dyer Glacier
« Reply #6 on: 12/07/11, 11:25 AM »

My bad, it was Dec 5th.
I haven't checked with the FS on when they plan to close the gate but it is my understanding they have left if open for late season hunting.
There are a couple of options to getting over there when the gate closes. Grin
I'm always looking for week day partners.
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