Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2008 9:46 pm Posts: 25 Location: Eugene, OR
Been itchin to get at Saint Helens for a while and thought we'd seize the opportunity last Thursday as the Climbing Permits are free through March 31. After that $22! Solo, myself and MM (on snowshoes) from Eugene hit the road at 4 am to get a 7:30 am start at the Marble Mountain Sno-Park at only 2700' (!) plenty of snow at the lot.
Road in was crusty 8" deep ruts on the way in and slush on the way out. Weather was calling for 8" of fresh then 39 degrees and partly sunny. sounds pretty damn good for March in the Cascades. The Lodge in the lot was deluxe. The Door said no overnight camping but it would make a fat crash (which is what we probably should have done.)
The approach the the trees was mellow-about 1.5-2 miles of recent skin/snow shoe track.
MM realizing why splits are cooler...(sorry if these are big, photobucket was being a bitch with my sizes)
lunch at 4500' tree line
Skinning up was a slog though very non-technicaland good crusty skinning conditions. We topped out at about 7500' and turned around 800' below the summit because of a pre-agreed turn around time, weather and snow sho-er. Yes, i know not summiting is like chipping onto the green and not putting in, but hey-we still cashed in over 4000' of vert.
The mountin was full of killer natural halfpipes, gullies and nice terrain features-would defintely be worth overnighting and lapping around. The high clouds opened up to some glorious sun-breaks, but came down pretty quick as we approached the summit. descent was very flat light a bit windier, but still lucky. Nice views of nearby Adams and Hood but my cheapo camera didn't exactly make them jump out...
solo in the main S gulley
more Solo in gulley
myself in some open slope betwwen gullies
MM's mad snowshoe descent (um we told him he could ass-glissade, but it corned up to 6-8" of wet powder corn so...no sliding for him---lot of sweet sliding for us. Hey-we are trying to convert here)
A view back at the beauty (red=descent and yes i drew that by hand in photbucket)
All in all a lovely foray into the Washington Cascades. Very little slide activity was seen. Snow seemed very stable. We saw some dropped cornices that led to small point-releases and slides, but nothiing else. Wet powder corn was very warm by the tree line on the way down and prone to wet slides. We probably should have steered clear of the gulley bottoms, but DAMN they were fun. Thanks Mrs. St. Helens
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2009 12:51 am Posts: 58 Location: Mormon HQ.... AKA SLC
I grew up in the shadow of that Volcano.. In Longview, Wa and remember the eruptions as if it were yesterday... Being sent home from school... driving up the Kalama River road to see the eruptions... Climbed it twice since those days... Good one on ya for bagging it on a split!