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eldiente

Mount Saint Helens Conditions?

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Has anyone been to MSH recently? Before this last storm came through, was it possible to ski back to the trailhead or was it dirt? I'm debating skiing up there this weekend, I'd like to think the new snow would soften the upper slopes, but I have concerns that the approach trail might be a few inches of new snow on top of dirt. Any help would be much appreciated.

 

Thanks!

 

-Nate

 

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There was snow and no dirt all the way from the Marble Mtn. Sno-Park as of Feb. 9th. Mostly ice near Monitor Ridge.

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Went up on Saturday ( 2/19) Lots of deep fluffy snow down low, off the trail it was kneed to thigh deep. Unfortunately up high the wind had done some damage to the snow, sort of wind slab type of thing with a breakable crust. In the bottom of there would be nice powder, but on the main bowls it was survival skiing. Snow all the way to the Marble Mt TH, dry road.

 

-Nate

 

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I was up on the 19th and found the bowls to be in fine shape. Top 400 vert from the summit was definitely survival skiing but off the ridge lines, in the bowls, the skiing was almost too deep! My tired legs could barely handle it :) Just remember to pay for your sno park pass for marble mountain TH...my fine was $52 bucks!

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was it indeed due to some shitheads? i hadn't heard that punks were responsible for marble mnt. source? I can think of a great use for the $50,000+ the mnt st helens institute makes yearly off the mandatory non-refundable $5 donation when people pay $21 to climb st. helens. Supposedly that money goes to maintain the climbers trail, most expensive trail in the state, for sure. :P they could rebuild the warming hut with that money.

20110411-144206-pic-531536552_t640.jpg

http://www.columbian.com/news/2011/apr/11/fire-destroys-marble-mountain-snow-shelter/

 

ie the wallowa-whitman visitor center in enterprise burned down last summer..beautiful building--turned out some workers had left balled up paint-thinner rags up against the building when they went for a break.

 

 

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Anyone have any update on conditions at St Helens? I see they have the road gated at the Cougar sno park at this point. I'm taking some people up hiking on 4/30 and wondering what the climb will look like.

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On 3/18/2011, the bootpack was hike-able all the way to treeline, (and made an awesome skin track), the snow at the Marble Mountain Sno-Park was DEEP, and the foot o' pow was taters - considering all the snow lately, I'd bet you're gonna be in for a helluva trip! Snow has been really bi-polar lately! I'll bet plenty of snow at the trailhead in two weeks...

Recommend:

1. Park at Marble Mountain Sno Park

2. Buy a day-pass Sno-Park online, print out at home, for $5 if you don't have one (JasonDowns reports $52 fine!!)

3. Go early - (before 8am) - lots of pissed off RVers there couldn't find a spot, since the lower lot was COMPLETELY UNPLOWED (isn't my pass paying for this service?) - so there was low to NO parking! (We dug for 30 minutes to get my 'burban into a spot)

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Thanks caver. We are snowshoeing it and they got over a foot last week and closed the road to Marble Mountain sno park. Hopefully they will open it back up. Even with all the snow did you get to the crater rim in a day by leaving at 8am?

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Moving steady from Marble Mnt you can get to the rim in a day, leaving at 8am, though I'd leave earlier then you can take a more leisurely pace. Additionally if it is sunny out, the later in the day it gets, the more postholing down low-and snowshoes downhill in sinky snow can suck.

 

They won't open that probably unless the snow melts off--I think they want to prevent people from trying to get there and getting stuck. They are done plowing for the season.

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I was actually just exposing my girlfriends to backcountry skiing, and sleeping in a snow cave - we only toured to the base of the climb (they're noobs on skis), and back. However, last year I climbed to the summit and back, starting late (after 9 I think?) and made it back to the car by dark, but I was skiing down - If you don't want to slop it up in mashed taters I'd say start pre-dawn if you can - depending on fitness, I've heard anywhere from 4-7 hours up, and 1-4 hours down depending on descent style. With slowshoes I'd max your daylight hours - leave by 6 and you'll be on the climb by 8.... of course, then it will be a bit icy.... gonna have to run the gauntlet on the snow methinks....

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My friends keep on bailing on my for the worm route climb due to lack of equipment and funds to do the route at this time. Anyone down for to try an early morning Monday trip next week up to the summit or a Sun night to the t-line and Monday morning push?

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we are looking to go up st. helens via the worm flow route on the 30th. i keep finding snopark permits for what appears to be snowmobiles ($20/day i think), can somebody please post or pm me the link for the $5/day vehicle one. thanks.

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Just confirmed with the Gifford-Pinchot front desk (360-891-5100) that a sno-park pass is NOT required this late in the year. He said as of early April they are not needed. Not even a NW Forest pass is required.

 

Also it sounds like the road from Cougar snopark to Marble Mount snopark will hopefull be opened soon. They will update the info here: http://mshinstitute.org/index.php/climbing/index

 

I'll be up there on the 30th too yapajake.

Edited by parkerm

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from the link above.... "The road is Marble Mountain snow park will re-open to vehicle traffic on Friday, April 22 at noon."

 

my bad... here's the scoop:

 

Washington Sno-Park Permits

WA Daily Permits are $20. WA Seasonal permits are $40 - both online here.

Note: Washington-licensed vehicles must have a Washington Sno-Park permit, and a one-dollar fee may be charged by retail vendors - JasonDowns reports a $58 fine in 2011 for failure to display permit

 

Oregon Sno-Park permits

OR Daily permits are $4. OR Annual permits are $25, available at DMV offices or at outfitters listed here

Note: Oregon Sno-Park permits are recognized in Washington (cars licensed in Oregon), and the vendors may charge a service fee, usually $1-$2

 

Thanks parkerm - good point, there's only 8 days left in the Sno-Park permit season! (Nov 1 - Apr 30), so its probably a gamble at this point...but I can imagine this conversation: "the guy at the front desk told me I didn't need one...well sir, it clearly says until April 30th, who did you talk to?...uhhhhhh...rolls eyes..."

Edited by caverpilot

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thanks for the info parker m, i'm new to the area and this will be my first time going. caverpilot, looks like i will be calling that number to double check, with or without the fine it seems a little steep just for a day.

Edited by yapajake

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Im heading down tomorrow. Anyone have a recommendation on crampons? I'll have mine ready, but wouldnt mind ditching them if not necessary.

 

Also, with the NW Avalanche center down, any other suggestions to monitor the conditions?

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http://www.nwac.us/forecast/avalanche/current/zone/8/

 

done with regular forecasts but still forecasting when they have special hazardous condition announcements. Which, we're getting for this week.

 

On Thursday,

 

most locations should see continued low freezing levels, mostly cloudy skies and periods of light to occasionally moderate snow. Although the expected cool temperatures and somewhat windy conditions should help limit the negative effects of some isolated and rather brief sun breaks on Thursday, any sunshine should quickly warm, wet and weaken recent snow, producing a rapid increase in the danger.

 

On Friday,

 

light snow showers should give way to some partial afternoon clearing, slight warming, and a few more sun breaks to produce a generally increasing and considerable danger from both recent wind slabs and on more southerly facing terrain at lower and mid elevations. Remember that even small wet loose slides may be very dangerous, especially if terrain traps like cliffs, rocks or trees are involved. Also, initially small avalanches should begin to entrain increasing amounts of wet and weakening near surface snow.

 

However, over the weekend,

 

increasingly sunny skies and significant warming are likely, along with relatively light winds and freezing levels reaching 3-5000 ft Saturday and 7-10,000 ft Sunday. This should allow warming and sun related considerable to high avalanche danger to slowly progress to higher elevations, especially on more wind loaded terrain where recent wind slabs or cornices should warm, weaken and be easier to trigger, and on southeast to southwest exposures where increasingly large natural loose, wet loose and wet slab slides should become likely. As a result, while the clearing skies and benign looking weather may lure BC travelers into the mountains, climbers, skiers, boarders, snowmobilers, snowshoers and other adventurous folks are urged to make conservative decisions and use cautious route selections in the days ahead. Careful local snowpack evaluations are essential during these dangerous avalanche conditions, especially when traveling on sun exposed terrain and on higher elevation lee slopes on the volcanic peaks. The coming weekend is not shaping up to be a safe time to climb or travel on the southerly aspects of the volcanoes! Please ensure that you don't become a new statistic in this late season of abundance.

 

This statement will be updated as warranted.

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I am going up hella early Sun to try to summit. I will be doing some pit tests. I'll let everyone know my results and if it was a go for going past the timberline. Doesn't look like its going to work out though. In regards to crampons, bring them, you will need them for above 7500 feet. I got my new Black Diamond Neve aluminum crampons. Stoked to use them!

Edited by devan

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i was supposed to be heading up tomorrow for a summit attempt and ski descent on saturday but based on the weather we have had recently i am debating putting it off for another week or two. i was really looking forward to it, but am not sure if these are the best conditions for somebody new to the area. any other good reccomendations for places to go climb and ski this weekend?

Edited by yapajake

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Didn't mean to rain the avy news on your parade--seemed worth posting giving you asked about conditions since NWAC stopped regular reports. I do think they'll put another update tomorrow. I've felt this winter and spring has really sucked having generally safe avy conditions along with weather windows greater than 24hr..let alone on weekends.

 

maybe someone else can offer something up but I this is my take:

ski: resort

climb: rock

 

or do some hiking at lower elevations.

 

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With the avalanche conditions, im not sure if we are going either. Depending on what the weather does today, we may go for a early 5am start Saturday to try and get up before it warms.

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we may go for a early 5am start Saturday to try and get up before it warms.

Warming starts when the sun comes up - about 6am.

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With the avalanche conditions, im not sure if we are going either. Depending on what the weather does today, we may go for a early 5am start Saturday to try and get up before it warms.

 

I'm thinking of doing this same thing. To pcg's point, it will start warming at 6 but I would think it would be a few hours before real temperature changes start taking place. I just don't want to be heading up at 10am.

 

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yes, and also we have abandoned all goals of getting to the summit. we will probably still go down there, but if it doesnt look safe, we wont go.

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