Mount St. Helens is an active volcano in southwest Washington State and the central feature of the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. Mount St. Helens is a popular climb for both beginning and experienced mountaineers. Although people are able to climb Mount St. Helens year-round, late spring through early fall is the most popular season.
Most climbers use the Monitor Ridge Route from Climbers Bivouac. This route gains 4,500 feet in five miles to the crater rim at 8,365 feet elevation. Although strenuous, this non-technical climb is suitable for people in good physical condition who are comfortable scrambling on steep, rugged terrain. Most climbers complete the round trip in seven to twelve hours. While climbing to the crater rim is permitted, entry into the crater is strictly prohibited. Climbing permits are required.
Climb and explore one of the best lunch spots in the Northwest, but, you will have to work for it! A 5 to 7 hour climb up will reward you with spectacular panoramic views from the rim of Mount St. Helens. On a clear day you can see Spirit Lake, the crater, Mount Rainer, Mount Adams and Mount Hood.
Marble Mountain Sno-Park is the starting point for the Worm Flows Climbing Route. This is the primary climbing route used during the winter and spring. Climbers should be prepared for winter climbing conditions. Climbers can accesse the winter route via the Marble Mountain Sno- Park and the Swift Ski Trail # 244.Round trip is approximately 12 miles, with elevation gain of 5500 feet. Elevation : 2,800 ft. - 8,364 ft
The Monitor Ridge Climbing Route is the primary route used by climbers during the summer, gaining 4,500 feet in 5 miles. The route begins at Climber's Bivouac, located at the end of Forest Road 830, south of the volcano. At 3,700 feet elevation, Climber's Bivouac has the highest vehicle access on Mount St. Helens. Elevation : 3,800 - 8,365
Start on Ptarmigan Trail #216A which climbs 1,100 feet in 2 1/4 miles to timberline at 4,800 feet elevation.
Above timberline, the route generally follows Monitor Ridge, climbing steeply through blocky lava flows and loose pumice and ash. From timberline the route is marked with large wooden posts to about 7,000 feet elevation. The upper 1,300 feet of the route is unmarked and covered with loose, rock, pumice and ash. On your descent, take care to stay on route, a minor detour may put you far off route at timberline.
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