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PaulO

[TR] Mt. St. Helens - Monitor Ridge 11/15/2008

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Trip: Mt. St. Helens - Monitor Ridge

 

Date: 11/15/2008

 

Trip Report:

Since it was so pretty a day Saturday and it is FREE now I decided to walk up St. Helens along with 50 or 75 other people.

 

No snow until well up the ridge.

 

IMGA1677.JPG

 

Very clear day.

 

IMGA1682.JPG

 

IMGA1685.JPG

 

Big hole still there.

 

IMGA1683.JPG

 

Was sitting off by myself eating lunch when I saw something I had never seen on any summit. A lady strips down to a bikini for photo opp's with a few guys.

 

IMGA1689.JPG

 

 

 

Gear Notes:

Start late so the runoff drenched scree on the upper part melts before you get there.

Or bring crampons.

 

Approach Notes:

Ptarmigan Trail

 

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It took me 4.5 hours car to summit, but I am getting old....and don't get out enough, 3 hours down. Actually weekend before last there was practically no snow on the trail even way up the ridge. I kept hearing about icy conditions on top from folks descending but by 1pm when I arrived it was pretty well softened up. Looking at her now I would say there is more snow on the upper mountain than when I was there but that may be a good thing because the runoff from the summit snowmelt re-freezing on the water logged upper ash slopes at night was a might slippery before it melted later in the day. Walking on snow would be easier. I would guess the parking lot is still accessible since the 'volcano cam' shot on the other side shows no snow until well above Johnston Ridge which is 800' higher than the 3700' trailhead. Should be a great weekend to go after the weather Thursday/Friday moves by - 10K freezing level and sunny.

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Update on MSH from Climber's bivouac: The road (and woods) to Climbers Bivouac is snow free as of Sunday November 30. There was a little bit of old snow/ice/slush in the wooded areas of the trail and spotty snow most of the way up from tree line to the top.

 

It was perfect climbing conditions for MSH: cool, clear, little wind, no special equipment necessary. Me and maybe 30 others were there to take advantage of the very late season access.

 

The window for access to climber's bivvy is sure to close fast.

 

JJS

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