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| | |-+  May 4, 2013 - St Helens solitaire
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Author Topic: May 4, 2013 - St Helens solitaire  (Read 6034 times)
Lowell_Skoog
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May 4, 2013 - St Helens solitaire
« on: 05/06/13, 09:25 PM »



Mt Adams from the true summit of Mt St Helens.


My wife, son, and I skied Mt St Helens Saturday on a long day-trip from Seattle.  The last time I skied the mountain, 10 years ago, markharf and I approached from the Climbers Bivouac.  Without thinking about it too much (i.e. not at all), I assumed we'd go the same way this time.

When we arrived at the FS-81 road branch, we found the road gated and locked.  I somehow convinced myself that the Marble Mountain Sno-Park is farther away from the mountain than it actually is. (I've never been that way.)  So we packed up our skis and started walking up FS-81 in our tennis shoes.

After about a half-mile, the road bent NE and became snow covered.  We switched to skis and continued to the hairpin turn where the road turns away from the mountain (about three miles total from our car). Here we left the road and ascended through trees to timberline.  Above, our route stayed on or just west of the Monitor Ridge route to the summit.

Amazingly, we saw no other people during our trip and we crossed just two ski tracks near the summit.  For the rest of the day we had this side of the mountain entirely to ourselves.  St Helens is a mob scene most of the time.  Finding it deserted was a delightful surprise.

The summit view was spectacular as usual.  But the skiing exceeded expectations.  Perfect corn snow near the top, a bit of stickiness in the mid-section, then good soft spring skiing below.  Avalanche danger was not a problem.  Steep rolls low on the mountain might produce sloughs, but they were easy to avoid.

Back at the road, we shuffled and glided home without effort.  Our car was the only one waiting at the FS-81 gate.  It seemed like Mt St Helens belonged to us for the day.  A rare treat.

More photos:

Looking down on the lava dome from the summit of Mt St Helens:



Steph skiing near the summit of Mt St Helens:



Tom and Steph give their verdict on the skiing:



Skiing Mt St Helens with Point 5994ft and Mt Hood in the distance:



Tom on the lower slopes of Mt St Helens:


« Last Edit: 05/06/13, 09:47 PM by Lowell_Skoog » Logged
telemack
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Re: May 4, 2013 - St Helens solitaire
« Reply #1 on: 05/06/13, 09:47 PM »

Sounds great, good photos. 
Go to the closed gate and hike.
Get that springtime corn.
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There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval.
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Lowell_Skoog
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Re: May 4, 2013 - St Helens solitaire
« Reply #2 on: 05/06/13, 09:52 PM »

Sounds great, good photos. 
Go to the closed gate and hike.
Get that springtime corn.

I bow to Haiku master.   Wink
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clane
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Re: May 4, 2013 - St Helens solitaire
« Reply #3 on: 05/07/13, 12:59 AM »

Strange. I skied St Helens from Marble Mountain SnoPark on Saturday and it was MOBBED.
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ErikT
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Re: May 4, 2013 - St Helens solitaire
« Reply #4 on: 05/07/13, 07:31 AM »

Good call... may have been our ski tracks you crossed - we traversed over as far as the low point right below the summit before dropping in. Thank you east wind for keeping conditions just right!
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jbapple
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Re: May 4, 2013 - St Helens solitaire
« Reply #5 on: 05/07/13, 08:49 AM »

Nicely done. We went from marble mountain snow park on saturday as well and it was too packed. We are headed back up this friday, how far was your total round trip from the gate?

I am considering doing the Monitor ridge route this time if its not toooo much longer.
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Lowell_Skoog
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Re: May 4, 2013 - St Helens solitaire
« Reply #6 on: 05/07/13, 12:34 PM »

How far was your total round trip from the gate?

I believe it was about 13 miles round trip. TOPO indicates that the Marble Mountain route saves about 1-1/2 miles each way.
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uncleben
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Re: May 4, 2013 - St Helens solitaire
« Reply #7 on: 05/07/13, 03:35 PM »

St Helens is a mob scene most of the time.  Finding it deserted was a delightful surprise.

It seemed like Mt St Helens belonged to us for the day.  A rare treat.

Were you really unaware that there were probably around 300 people just on the other side of Monitor Ridge?
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Lowell_Skoog
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Re: May 4, 2013 - St Helens solitaire
« Reply #8 on: 05/07/13, 10:30 PM »

Were you really unaware that there were probably around 300 people just on the other side of Monitor Ridge?

Yup. It's a big mountain. It's remarkable how few people go to the true summit. It looked like a few on foot had been up there, but we never saw them.
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Dicey
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Re: May 4, 2013 - St Helens solitaire
« Reply #9 on: 05/07/13, 10:45 PM »

It's remarkable how few people go to the true summit.

True!  Most everyone stops at the crater rim.
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jtack
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Re: May 4, 2013 - St Helens solitaire
« Reply #10 on: 05/08/13, 05:21 AM »

Nice Lowell, the views turns and company looked great.  I have been itching to go for a ski there, you have provided more incentive, thanks for the post.
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danpeck
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Re: May 4, 2013 - St Helens solitaire
« Reply #11 on: 05/08/13, 09:16 PM »

Great pictures Lowell!  My oldest daughter will be turning 10 this summer.  I hoping to get her on mountains like this by the time she's 12.  Great family activity!  I'm convinced that backcountry skiing is the solution to world peace and an even better remedy that provides family togetherness and peace Smiley
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