Distance: 9.65 mi.
Elevation Gain: 4529 ft.
We started by getting a permit to climb Mount St. Helens a couple days before our climb. This is much easier to accomplish in April, when there are 500 permits per day (but no guarantee even then). We slept in the parking lot at the Marble Mountain Sno-Park and started skinning around 6 AM. There was snow on the trail all the way to the parking lot, so no need to carry skis. Unfortunately, the fresh snow from the prior week was all chopped up by people who had climbed the day before in warm conditions and then had refrozen overnight, which made skinning more difficult on the uneven, icy surface. It was very, very windy and cold and the snow didn’t seem like it would be so great to ski down, so Craig, Vanessa, James, and Virginia decided to hang out at a little rock outcropping while Jim and Rodrigo continued to the summit. According to them, the ski back down from the summit to where we waited was pretty unpleasant. We all skied down together the rest of the way, first on icy breakable crust that was almost impossible to turn in, but then on some great spring corn. The skin track on the way out made for a fun, gentle, and easy ski with barely any scooching required. As we mentioned earlier, the snow went all the way to the parking lot and we were out by 2 PM.
So, there were some mixed results on this Saint Helens attempt, but overall it was a fun day with good friends. Luckily, we had more success the following year.
(Download the free Gaia GPS app on your phone to view tracks and then get a Gaia GPS membership if you want offline access. Discount below!)
- Avalanche beacon/shovel/probe
- Backcountry boots/skis/skins
- Glacier glasses
- Ski crampons
- Trekking poles