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Topoftheworld

Mt St Helens in winter

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I'm thinking of climbing Mt St Helens by the end of March. Are snowshoes or skis a must? If boots are ok, are crampons a must? Just trying to get a feel for the terrain and ascent.

 

If snow shoes are used, how long does it take round trip? If you have camped out mid-way, what's a good location?

 

-Any other tidbits of info would be great.

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how long does it take round trip?

 

About eleven hours if you have to ask. Going light, should be done in less than eight.

 

roughly...

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Watch the weather for a couple of weeks before you go out and look at any trip reports. In March, I have done the Worm Flows in brilliant sunshine and a nice boot pack. I have also seen bottomless snow and endless post holing in miserable conditions or a shiney sheet of ice Excellent adventure. Most likely you will want crampons and an ice ax. If you need them at 7,000' and you don't have them, that's a lot of work for no summit.

 

With a good boot pack, you can walk up the Worm Flows in 4 - 6 hours. The descent can be 3 hours of walking - or 2 hours with glissading (conditions permitting) or a fast hour + of skiing.

 

Keep you fingers crossed for firm snow all the way up, and corn snow developing as you enjoy some lunch on the summit, and great spring skiing/glissading conditions all the way back to the car. March and Spril are my favorite times to climb this mountain on a bluebird day.

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Camping options abound:

 

1) Near parking lot - noisy

2) Below, adjacent to Chocolate Falls in the trees at 3,800'. This is the best spot to be out of the wind. Tree wells are huge in this area and are useful for many purposes.

3) If there is no wind, I see people camping just above Choclate Falls @ 4,000' near the intersection with the Loowit going west.

4) In the last stand of trees at the toe of the flow, 4,500'. This makes the most sens if you are trying to shorten your summit day.

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