Prior to its eruption on May 18, 1980, Mt. St. Helens stood at 9,677-ft and was a perfectly symmetric cone. The eruption stripped the mountian of 1,300-ft, leaving it at 8,365-ft today. The entire north side of the mountain disappeared as a pyroclastic flow. It was the largest debris avalanche in history. This is a distant view of the mountain's north side, looking into the enormous crater that remains.
We climbed Mt. St. Helens from the south side via the Worm Flows route. After some logistical trouble securing our permits, we were able to finally get them with some generosity from the right people. We started around noon from the TH at 2,700-ft. The skies up high were cloudy, concealing the summit of the mountain. Considering that we had great weather on Mt. Rainier and Mt. Baker earlier in the week, we didn't mind too much. We had already been given a fair share of nice weather in the Cascades.
We had to hike up the first couple miles of the trail. Because we had to do 5,500-ft of vertical to the summit, we tried moving pretty quickly.
Jason and Mark getting ready to skin once we had hit continuous snow
Sarah hoping that the clouds will clear before we get that high
Once above treeline, we were greeted with a great view of the mountain's north side. The summit was still in the clouds, but the clouds had cleared significantly since we started.
Jason working his way up a line of snow
Much to our disappointment, the clouds rolled in before we reached the top. Here's Mark booting up the last 500-ft to the summit of the crater rim. Visibility was kinda poor.
We scurried along the crater rim to it's highest point. Despite our late start, we arrived around 4:30 P.M. Jason had cracked the whip, forcing us to climb more than 1,000-ft/hour. Unfortunately, we never got a view of Mt. St. Helens' enourmous crater, but we were able to smell its sulfur nastiness.
awesome photo of us on the summit of Mt. St. Helens with Mt. Rainier dominating the skyline behind us (It's back there. I promise)
Jason, Mark, and Sarah skiing directly off the summit
Once we had descended a few hundred feet, the clouds thinned, and we began to regain visibility.
Jason posing in front of the Chocolate Falls as we booted a short section between snowfields
Mark pausing for a short breather as we motored down the last section of trail to the car
We got back to the trailhead at 6:00 P.M. on the dot, just 1.5-hours after leaving the summit. While enjoying some beers in the parking lot, Jason tried to dry out his stuff in the evening haze. It didn't work. After we packed up the minivan yet again, Mark took the wheel one last time for the grueling late night drive to Mt. Hood, which we would climb the following day.