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JERRY_SANCHEZ

Mount St. Helens

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Trail to crater rim at Mount St. Helens may be reopened

 

07:08 AM PST on Thursday, March 16, 2006

Associated Press

 

 

 

 

AP

 

Mount St. Helens, in southwest Washington, vents steam over a new coat of snow that fell during several days of blustery, wintery weather.

VANCOUVER, Wash. - A trail to the south rim of the crater of Mount St. Helens, closed since the start of a domebuilding eruption in late September 2004, may be reopened this year, officials say.

 

No decision has been made, but National Forest Service officials began accepting conditional climbing reservations last month, Tom Mulder, manager of the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, told The Columbian of Vancouver.

 

“The public is interested,” Mulder said. “It’s a recreation niche, a learning opportunity, and we want to serve the public well.”

 

The climbing season traditionally begins on May 15, and the number of permits historically has been limited to 100 a day, half by reservation and half by a daily lottery.

 

“Climbers will be taking on the responsibility for exposing themselves to any risk that they may encounter,” Mulder said, “temperature extremes to slippery slopes to things that may fall out of the sky.”

 

Tom Pierson, a local U.S. Geological Survey geologist, tentatively plans to lead a guided hike arranged through the nonprofit Mount St. Helens Institute to the rim in August.

 

“It will be great to see the new view and to take pictures to compare,” Pierson said.

 

If the trail is reopened, climbers could get a close-up look at the relatively quiet oozing of molten rock at the rate of about a pickup truck load per second into the gaping horseshoe-shaped crater from the volcano’s explosive eruption of May, 18, 1980.

 

That blast killed 57 people and removed the top 1,300 feet of the once-symmetrical peak. Most of what was blown away was a lava dome built in quieter eruptions like the current one over the previous 400 years.

 

The trail to the 8,300-foot south rim from Climber Bivouac, as well as other trails above 4,800 feet, have been closed since Sept. 26, 2004, shortly after the most recent volcanic activity began. Officials said they were concerned about the possibility that steam explosions could blast rock out of the crater.

 

Based on the volcano’s behavior since the eruption began, the hazard appears to be low, Pierson said.

 

Despite a few big steam and ash spurts, including one that sent a plume towering to an elevation of 36,000 feet, no rocks have been hurled outside the crater.

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...it would be nice if they'd make up there mind before that May 15th summertime quota of 100 climbers goes into effect...the mother's day ski party there has always been a blast.

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“Climbers will be taking on the responsibility for exposing themselves to any risk that they may encounter,” Mulder said, “temperature extremes to slippery slopes to things that may fall out of the sky.”

 

When are climbers not responsible for exposing themselves to these risks?

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Can we sue somebody because Fischer died? That's absurd, is there not a waiver that they sign that says "Climbing is risky, you may die, sign here if you don't care".

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...it would be nice if they'd make up there mind before that May 15th summertime quota of 100 climbers goes into effect...the mother's day ski party there has always been a blast.

I agree. That said, I don't think that getting a permit will be as hard as it was before Sept 2004. I would really like to have a look at the new domes that have formed. Hopefully, it will be open soon. fruit.gif

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Dude,

Every boyscout troop and annoying climbing club (not mazamaing any names here) will be applying for the permit.

It's gonna be twice as hard to get a permit cuz everyone's all psyched about the dome. Better do it in the winter when you don't need a permit...

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Maybe, but everyone that I have talked to about it in person has said they are not interested in getting blown up. Personally, I think that would be sweet, but that is just me.

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Even if you can't ski or board, I think a snow-covered St. Helens is a nicer trip than a dusty and scree-covered one.

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Sounds promising. I've wanted to get back on the crater rim ever since the activity in 2004.

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