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Dhruv Garg

[TR] Mt. St. Helens - Worm Flows 3/18/2017

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Trip: Mt. St. Helens - Worm Flows

 

Date: 3/18/2017

 

Trip Report:

We decided to do the climb as soon as the avy danger went down to moderate after a week or two of consistent 'high' avy danger forecasts. We got to Marble Mountain SnoPark by 5.30AM because SR 503 was closed from Exit 32 to 37 due a recent land slide. So we had to turn around all the way back to Woodland and take the other side of 503 and join Lewis River Rd at Exit 30. The parking lot was decently full with lots of skiers getting ready to head out.

 

We started from the TH at 6AM and got to Chocolate Falls around 8AM. Noticing icy conditions, we decided to crampon up before heading up. Our party consisted of some folks who had done the route before and they noted that this is the most icy they have seen this route ever.

 

33809720536_c02d9924a7.jpg

gearing up at Chocolate Falls

 

As no one had ventured out here for a while due to avy conditions, there weren't very good tracks and the hard icy surface made for very slow progress.

 

33037493803_e92e689eca.jpg

slowly up the mountain

 

At some point above 6k ft, we started seeing visible 1" deep fractures in the icy surface below us but we could feel a solid consolidated layer below it. We got to our high point by 11.45AM and saw a relatively huge headwall blocking the standard route to the summit. No one tried going up except a party of 3 that were going towards Swift Glacier (without a rope) to get to the summit. Everyone was turning around at this point and along with them, we decided to have our 'summit sandwiches' right then and there and call it a day.

 

After the long break, we started going down around 12.45PM and on our way down, we saw some people who had created their own route by skirting around the unstable headwall. As the day went on and we descended, quite a few climbing parties made it past the headwall via the altered route. Disappointed, we were back at the parking lot by 3PM.

 

tl;dr SR 503 closed from Exit 32 to 37. Cross the bridge at Woodland and merge on to Lewis River Rd at Exit 30.

 

For the GPX, Mt. St. Helens PeakBagger TR

For some more visuals on the route, flickr/Mt. St. Helens 2017.

 

Gear Notes:

Crampons, Snowshoes (unused)

 

Approach Notes:

Relatively firm snow all the way to Chocolate Falls

Edited by Dhruv Garg

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Sorry, I'm a bit confused. What do you mean by a headwall? I've been up there in May and can't think about where this would be or what it would be on that route. Great TR otherwise! Thanks!

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Not sure how to describe it but the final climb to the ridge line which takes you to the crater was overloaded with snow so much so that it made it impossible to get past it. A few people even tried but the excess snow was pretty steep. After several tries, people eventually figured out that they could skirt this 'excess' and get to the ridge line. By then, we were, of course, headed down.

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