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| | |-+  January 19th, 2013, Mt. St. Helens June-uary corn
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Author Topic: January 19th, 2013, Mt. St. Helens June-uary corn  (Read 1733 times)

Posts: 7

January 19th, 2013, Mt. St. Helens June-uary corn
« on: 01/20/13, 11:36 PM »

Lori, Jacob, Amanda, and I wanted to take advantage of this break in the weather and bag our first volcano summit so we headed to St. Helens on Saturday morning. The weather was beautiful at the base with the sun shinning brightly and no wind to speak of.

We headed up the climbing trail and were making good time. The ridge was nicely softened by the sun and made for good skinning and booting. Most of the party switched to boot packing as the ridge got steeper, although I was stubborn and kept my skis on the whole way up.

Without any wind blowing we were getting quite warm, this is the first shirts-off tour I've ever done in January!

Once we got above 7000 ft the wind started to pickup and the snow got harder, eventually turning to large patches of blue ice. Ski crampons came in very helpful for this stretch of the hike.

At the final section before the summit the boot packers attempted to go directly up the last face while I followed the skin track around the side and up through the gully. The skin track was steep but workable as snow conditions were much better in the gully then on the ridge. Unfortunately the boot pack looked fine below but turned out to be solid ice. Since the group didn't have crampons they ended up turning around about 700 ft before the summit :(

I did end up making the crater rim to bag my first Cascade volcano and the view was excellent: you could Mt. Baker, the Olympics, Mt. Hood, and many other peaks in every direction. It was very windy at the top of the mountain, although depending on where you stood at the edge you could stay sheltered from some of it.

I was afraid the ski down would be terrible for the first few thousand feet from how icy the ridge was, and the wind kept things from melting as much as I had expected. I skied the main valley below the crater rim at 4:00 and conditions were actually quite good. The 1-2k were slightly frozen corn: a loose layer of small frozen chunks that was easy enough to turn on and ski. Below that the slope had softened nicely and I was able to enjoy corn for the rest of the decent. I eventually rejoined with the rest of the party before we re-entered the treeline.

I didn't see any wet loose avalanche danger on St. Helens, the wind kept the snow from melting beyond basic corn stage. Lower on the hill the snow was wetter but still nothing that would run at all, and there was no sign of recent avalanche activity on the mountain.
« Last Edit: 01/20/13, 11:44 PM by Sinorm » Logged

Posts: 198

Re: January 19th, 2013, Mt. St. Helens June-uary corn
« Reply #1 on: 01/21/13, 04:08 PM »

On our way out of the parking lot Sunday, we found a pair of  AT boots that appeared to be left behind. We brought them to the Lone Fir Resort Cafe in Cougar (where you register for permits) and the woman working there said they would be brought to the Forest Service office in Amboy (360-247-3900).

Yet another trip I've skied up something I can't ski down!
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