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St. Helens Conditions

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I am heading to St Helens this weekend and curious if anyone has been up in the last few days and knows the condition of the snow pack. Is floatation needed?

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I went up on April 21... a bit dated now, but floatation was certainly warranted then. We had a number of skiers, and two on foot... they were quickly termed "team posthole" and basically pulled an epic to make it up and down the approach. The climb itself was just fine though!

 

Erik

 

http://highpressureadventures.blogspot.com/2012/04/april-21-2012-mt-st-helens.html

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Freezing level will be very high, so the snow will be soft. There will be a huge crowd this weekend, especially Sunday when it is traditional to climb the mountain while wearing a dress. The snow hasn't melted back very much yet.

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Noticed they just put out an avy warning for the weekend, looks like everything is going to be wet and soft with high freezing levels.

 

I was hoping to go up this weekend also and already got my permits, I just don't know how bad the worm flows route is affected by avy danger.

 

Anybody with more experience on that mountain care to comment.

 

Jeb

Edited by jeb013

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what day? fri night into sat AM looks ok. gets progressively warmer after that. Clear nights should help, would expect with the diurnal temp cycling we've had (some seriously big extremes..frost warning tonight/tomorrow AM), you should start the day with a solid crust. Just go early, plan to be up higher around sunrise, not starting then.

 

worms flow has some thing that can help mitigate some avy risk, not that it is carte blanche to bypass good judgement.

 

but a large portion of the route is on a 'ridge' so to speak, so, that benefits somewhat. On the descent i've seen people be inclined to hit a bowl or two here and there to glissade and drop some elevation vs trudging on the bootpack/ridge.. probably would err away from such if you are concerned.

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Thanks Water, always appreciate free advice (even if it is over the internet) :/

 

 

We were looking to leave around 3:30am saturday morning. I think we will go forward and judge the conditions as we go.

 

Jeb

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Couldn't seem to glean it out of the bureau-speak on the USDA Helens site, so thought maybe someone hear can clarify something for me...Does heading up high- but shy of the summit- to ski (some hopefully sweet corn) still require a climbing permit? And if so, any idea how strict enforcement is on, say, a nice Sat in May, pre-quota dates?

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Anything above 4800' requires a permit, so anything worth skiing would need a permit. Don't know about enforcement but mothers day weekend is pretty busy up there which makes it prime for the rangers to try and make some extra income.

 

Jeb

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VANCOUVER, WA – Avalanche danger on Mount St. Helens is very high right now according to http://www.nwac.us/weatherdata/mtsthelens/now/.

 

Climbers are cautioned to prepare for extreme avalanche conditions. Climbers wanting to avoid the potential risks will be refunded the climbing permit fee. To request a refund, please call 360-449-7800 or stop into Monument Headquarters in Amboy, Wash. before climbing.

 

“A climbing ranger will be on the mountain to update climbers and warn climbers as to the dangers involved,” said Monument Manager, Tom Mulder. Signs sharing this information will also be posted at strategic sites including the Climbing Register at Lone Fire Resort and Marble Mountain Sno-Park.

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as a note you cannot get a refund on the mandatory $5 fee you pay to the Mt St Helens Institute when you bought your permit. They keep that (and the $45,000-60,000) generated each year in order to keep the trail nice and safe for you. And protected, since the national monument has been known to let developers put subdivisions in the monument and allows gold miners to dump mercury into the streams when panning for gold.

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There will be rangers out this weekend. This spring I have seen rangers every time that I have been out, a big departure from previous experience. You can go to 4,800 feet without it. There is coverage down to Marble Mountain. It is all pretty mellow skiing below 4,800 feet.

 

The mandatory donation to the MSHI was instituted outside of the prescribed bureaucratic practice. Don't thank them for maintaining the trails. Lots of us locals do far more work. It took a lot of noise a few years ago to get the USFS to put our fee dollars into the program that generates them. The Loowit is still in dire straits, the Blue Lake Trail restoration is horrible, and the loss of recreational opportunities available to the non-mountaineering Joe is still very sad.

 

I was determined to celebrate Mother's Day in traditional style. We'll see - maybe follow the ridgeline and make a decision in the wee hours.

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