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St Helens attempt 24 Nov 01


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Well. This time the weather man was right. Those winds up there got downright nasty. The weather during the trip down Friday evening was very nice. Not to cold, pretty clear and it did not look to be changing for the next day or so. That all changed at about 2:00 AM when the winds picked up and the snow started coming down. This wasn't nice fluffy freshiez either. It was that little, tiny, stinging stuff that is just no fun. Anyway, we were up at 5:00 and set to go by 6:00. I figured that even though this was "Little Man's" first attempt and it would be slow, that we should still be able to top out and be back to the trail by dark. I still thought that until we hit the end of the timber. OUCH!! We had to put the snowshoes on just to make it over to Monitor Ridge. The wind was blowing pretty good, but Jr was hanging in there and it looked like the fresh stuff wouldn't be so deep once we hit the ridge and started making our way from cairn to cairn. After dropping the shoes just short of the actual ridge-line, I figured we'd drop over the western side into a nice draw and get out of some of that wind. Not so, says mother nature. By this time the winds were whipping up to nearly 60 mph and a 75lb kid really can't do much other than hunker down and wait this kind of stuff out. Besides the wind, we were still breaking trail in about 2 feet of powder in most places. After about 6 steps on this "protected" side of the ridge, I turned around and motioned for my son to head back over the ridge. Another blast of wind awaited us there. We put our heads down into the wind and pushed back to our snowshoes to see what we were going to do. After digging out a little seat in the snow to get out of most of the wind, we ate and decided to try this trip again another day. So after about a half an hour of sitting around figuring the wind just wasn't going to let up, we put the snowshoes back on and headed out. I got to be the one to cry "no joy" and Junior didn't get turned off of alpine climbing forever. All in all I'd say it was a good trip. Quality time outdoors with my son and a good test of stamina for him. Which, by the way, he did much better than I expected him to. grin.gif" border="0

Trip Notes: The parking lot at the Climber's Bivuoac was fairly clear with only 3-4 inches of snow around, although the roadway was iced over due to melting and freezing again. Some of the younger local hooligans showed up with their loud exhaust and louder music around 10 or so but only stayed long enough to get cold and want to head back. The toilet at the trailhead was locked, but the one just above where the Loowit Trail crosses the trail to Monitor Ridge was open. The trail through the timber had only a few inches of snow on it until we got to the edge of the timber near the end of if. The wind did blow a foot or so of the fresh stuff on it in some of the windward spots. There was about 2 to 2 1/2 feet of powder at the timberline when you make you way over to Monitor Ridge for the rest of the climb. Up on the ridge, it was between 1 1/2 and 2 feet deep or so when we got to our highest point. The wooden posts on the ridgeline looked solid from what I could see and were in no danger of being snowed in any time soon. Currently, there is no "volcano pass" required to climb. You are however, SUPPOSED wink.gif" border="0 to have a trailhead park pass while parking at the climber's bivuoac. We've seen the threads on that though. The choice be yours my friends. There is also an emergency phone located by the toilets at the trailhead.

If anyone heads that way any time soon, take some pix and let us know how your trip went.

--Climb on,,,Kevin

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Only if you count the lews Dru, and they were locked at the bivi site. Unless somebody was in there all night anyway. Nope. Nobody in the lew above Loowit Trail either. Nobody but us poor suckers that had to take a dump in that freezin' a@@ weather.

--Climb on,,,

[ 11-29-2001: Message edited by: rodeo ]

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Myself and a few others are planning to do it this weekend (sun/mon) but if the avy conditions don't improve before sat we will hope for better luck the following mon/tue. Better check those out at present the avy conditions are EXTREME. I am a newby but this doesn't sound good to even me. shocked.gif" border="0

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wow, maybe larson does have a clue...,but aren't there trees all the way to the top of St. Helens. You can built sling anchors at each tree and belay from one to another. Be sure to leave more than one rap ring per anchor for the descent. And dig a pit in each tree well to check the conditions. Instead of carrying the weight of a beacon, just tie long pieces of red tape to your necks. That will help you find your friends dead body before you figure out how use a tranciever anyway. Have fun... rolleyes.gif" border="0

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You don't say if you're doing Worm Flows or Monitor Ridge. The road to the Worm Flows trailhead is plowed, Monitor Ridge isn't.

Assuming Worm Flows, the last tree is about 4800', a good 3500' below the summit. Just set a good anchor on that last tree and then run it out, per Lambones' advice.

Don't forget to note where you exit treeline. Many problems with this in the past. Just after treeline you hook a left across an improbable wadi, then a right back up towards the north. Mark the wadi crossing well, because if you miss it coming down you get into some ugly convex surfaces with lots of deep cracks in the pack.

When you get to the steep part around 6k, bypass it to the left, follow the base of the loose boulder slope and regain the route above the electric antenna deal thing. Even with points or kicking steps the top section of the steep stretch is chewed up, loose, and iffy. Grind it out from there to the top. Expect wind.

Don't fall in the hole at the top. Significant cornice overhang. Crater entry expressly forbidden. 2k drop and big fines if you survive.

Jack's is cool, opens at 7, good coffee, no stove fuel except what others leave behind. The ranger at the TH seems pretty uppity about "proper" display of your sno-park permit. He didn't seem to care about the free "mandatory" climbing permit. Lots-o-sleds at the TH.

Have fun.


[ 02-07-2002: Message edited by: jeffers ]

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