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Author Topic: March 6, 2018, St. Helens High Orbit Circumnav  (Read 3480 times)
shred
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March 6, 2018, St. Helens High Orbit Circumnav
« on: 03/08/18, 02:07 PM »

On Tuesday, Jason Hummel and I did a fun and unique circumnavigation of Mount St. Helens.
We found pretty much every snow condition possible.

We left the Marble Mountain Sno Park at 5a.m on a magnificent moonlit morning. Time went by quickly and sunrise found us breaking into the Alpine just as the sun cast its warm light on to our route and the valleys of our departure.
We slowly ascended to the Eastern edge of the Swift glacier, where wind blown ridges afforded us safe travel to the crater rim. We took our time cruising the rim in a clockwise direction, keeping a weary eye out for the many steam holes and over hanging cornices.
The western side of the rim had some pretty rimed, steep ridges, that got our attention in a few spots.
Soon we were at the Restricted area, where we stripped skins and skied 3"-4" of smooth chalky snow, down to the lowlands.
The devistation area was really cool, with out of this world features, and the view up into the Breach was mind bending. Once around the blast zone, we climbed back up to the northern edge of the Nelson Glacier and traversed around the Eastern side of the mountain at around 6700', while the last of the days light was fading. (Our Orginal plan was to gain the rim after the Dog Head, but the on coming darkness and wind loaded east slopes had us retreating lower on the mountain. There were a few spots where we had to loose elevation, due to a loaded slope or really steep wind scoured ridges.
        We hit the Shoestring glacier just as the last rays of light faded and we donned the head torch for a fairly straight forward ski back down to the winter ascent ridge. The snow on this section was tearable trap crust, with a few lee pockets of knee saving soft goodness. Somehow we survived the rest of the mission, without any injuries.... reaching the sno park at 8 p.m.

This trip was very unique and I would defiently recommend to the very experienced traveler. However, this is Definitely not the trip for an over ambitious newb. There were several spots where we had to do snowpack analysis to avoid very hazardous avalanche terrain. And I can't speak for Hummel, but there were a few really steep/exposed icy ridges (50 degree+) that had me puckered a little.
We both agreed that it would probably be just as fast to just stay lower on the East side and traverse across the Plains of Abraham, to avoid the upper objective hazards.

Here is a little vid of most of our journey:
https://vimeo.com/259232570



 
« Last Edit: 03/08/18, 02:24 PM by shred » Logged
cumulus
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Re: March 6, 2018, St. Helens High Orbit Circumnav
« Reply #1 on: 03/08/18, 03:46 PM »

nice one!  Skiing in circles, I like it

some nice footage down low, good to see Jason in front of the camera for a change  ( :  great vid Jeff
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Stefan
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Re: March 6, 2018, St. Helens High Orbit Circumnav
« Reply #2 on: 03/08/18, 04:02 PM »

awesome video  THANKS!!!!!!!!!!!
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Stefan
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Re: March 6, 2018, St. Helens High Orbit Circumnav
« Reply #3 on: 03/08/18, 06:02 PM »

nice video!!
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Andrew Carey
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Re: March 6, 2018, St. Helens High Orbit Circumnav
« Reply #4 on: 03/08/18, 06:15 PM »

Yes, great trip and great video!
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Andy Carey, Nisqually Park, 3500 feet below Paradise
Roger Strong
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Re: March 6, 2018, St. Helens High Orbit Circumnav
« Reply #5 on: 03/09/18, 06:15 AM »

Nice Jeff and Jase!! such a great video!!
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kamtron
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Re: March 6, 2018, St. Helens High Orbit Circumnav
« Reply #6 on: 03/09/18, 09:08 AM »

Sweet trip, guys!
My cousin, as a child, had an experience with gummy bears that landed her in the hospital... luckily the laxatives worked.
Those views into the crater... tempting!
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ron j
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Re: March 6, 2018, St. Helens High Orbit Circumnav
« Reply #7 on: 03/09/18, 02:42 PM »

nice work.
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"When I stop having fun I'm turnin' around"
"Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future." - Niels Bohr
"If a given person makes it a priority not to die in an avalanche, he or she stands a very good chance of living a long, happy life in the mountains." - Jill Fredston
Trolleyman
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Re: March 6, 2018, St. Helens High Orbit Circumnav
« Reply #8 on: 03/09/18, 05:36 PM »

Thanks for the great video.
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shred
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Re: March 6, 2018, St. Helens High Orbit Circumnav
« Reply #9 on: 03/10/18, 08:29 AM »

Thanks All!
Kamtron,  You and I will be "Relieved" to hear that Jason had a healthy bowel movement, a few days following... Cheesy
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mikerolfs
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Re: March 6, 2018, St. Helens High Orbit Circumnav
« Reply #10 on: 03/10/18, 10:05 AM »

good travelers for sure!
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skibacks
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Re: March 6, 2018, St. Helens High Orbit Circumnav
« Reply #11 on: 03/10/18, 10:14 PM »

Very nice video and tunes - great outing Jeff & Jason
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skibacks
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Re: March 6, 2018, St. Helens High Orbit Circumnav
« Reply #12 on: 03/11/18, 10:41 AM »

What a great trip, thanks for the post.
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kapman
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Re: March 6, 2018, St. Helens High Orbit Circumnav
« Reply #13 on: 03/13/18, 08:09 PM »

Nice job guys. Three FS personnel did pretty much the same route except the contoured the crater wall around above the old dome. This was a couple of years before MSH was opened back up to the public. There purpose was to scout the crater wall for the first ascent which happened a few years later. They opted to cross the Plains of Abraham then over which is arduous. I have circumnavigated Loowitakla twice, once solo. Even down low it is endless canyons and gullies.  Requires lots of route finding and slope evaluation..  Again great job.      Kapman
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water
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Re: March 6, 2018, St. Helens High Orbit Circumnav
« Reply #14 on: 03/15/18, 11:06 AM »

lurv me some st helens, great to see some touring beyond the south side.

kapman, can you shed any additional light on the crater wall FA? curious to know where it was and who did it. cheers
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