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caverpilot

Mt. St. Helens Conditons Spring 2017

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Just resurrecting what should be a yearly thread - The GPNF climbing conditions page was updated 3/2 which states 6 feet of snow at the Marble Mtn SnoPark. Climbing Conditions Page

 

Mostly I think this thread is useful for finding out when you can still ride your board(s) back to the trailhead.... Also, is the 300-climber-limit, $22 permits 4/1-5/15 something new? (I don't remember this from prior years)

 

Man Facebook has really killed forums, eh?

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Knowing snow levels would be extremely helpful so to start, here's an update from a 3/19 ascent.

 

Per the climbing report (now stating 5' base at the lot), there's snow for the entirety of the route, no issues riding right on out.

 

No major obstacles that I could see below the 4,800' marker either and mostly snow above with just one real stretch of rock on the climb up to work through. Lots of cornices, snow fractures and debris from recent slides around however.

 

The upper route was pretty icy even in the mid morning sun though it softened up completely by about 2. Few people went for the summit and most that did took some variation across the Swift rather than cutting over to Monitor Ridge though a few came down that way.

 

Not sure how long the April paid permits have been required but it was that way last year (500 people / day from 4/1 - 5/15 with a Sno-park pass still required in April, Recreation Pass in May as well.)

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Update from yesterday's climb (3/31):

 

Snow levels seem to be rising though there is still plenty of it around with a solid path from the parking lot and up.

 

Higher parts of the mountain have picked a few more inches which, combined with the recent bursts of sun, has helped make for a more straight forward summit. Most everyone continues to top out switchbacking across the swift.

 

Things get real soft by mid day leading to some nasty postholing on the more exposed ridges so snowshoes are a must if you're not skiing out.

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Update from today (4/16):

 

Snow still extends from the edge of the lot all the way up the mountain. The first couple feet are pretty melted down but there's still enough to cover sign posts 2/3rds up through the forest though seems like we're starting to see some vegetation make its way near the surface.

 

Higher on the mountain, snow is either melting down or gullies are just filling up and some of the tricky spots for find a line up seem to be more straight forward.

 

Lots of wet / loose activity around this weekend though everything I saw seemed small. Couple cornices on adjacent slopes have fallen or are on their way.

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Anyone know if crampons or snow shoes are likely necessary to summit St Helens now that we're well into July? Judging by what I've recently seen on Hood, I expect the snow is soft. I'm planning to climb with my wife on July 30. I hate to buy crampons if they're not necessary.

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Hello hello

 

I volunteer for the institute and I was up there Saturday. No need for crampons or snowshoes. If you have microspikes and are comfortable being on snow then go for it.

Since we are getting into the mid-late season on Helens you will mostly be on rock the way up. The glissading tracks were surprisingly good on Saturday with climbers sliding down to about 5300 ft before traversing onto the rocks. Start early, bring water and gatorade, and have fun! Let me know if you have any other questions!

 

instagram: dchromey253

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