If you’re interested in mountaineering and live in the Pacific Northwest, climbing Mount St. Helens is a great way to get started. Although the volcano eruption in 1980 reduced its height by around 1,370 feet, it is still an impressive 9,677 feet tall.
Climbing Mount St. Helens is doable for anyone with prior hiking experience, but scrambles (using hands and feet) are required in some sections. It’s important to be properly prepared before attempting to climb the mountain.
Permits are needed year-round, but the number of daily climbers is limited from April 1st to October 31st. To try and get a permit during this time frame. You can visit recreation.gov one month before you want to climb – for example, if you’re looking to climb in August, you would go online on July 1st. As of 2022, permits cost $18 each after fees.
If you’re new to mountaineering, it’s best to attempt the climb later on in summer when most of the snow has melted. This way, there will be less gear and technicality involved. However, if you’re looking for a more challenging climb with snow and ice. It’s possible to do so at any time of year – just be sure to check the forecast and pack accordingly!
It will take you approximately 9 hours to complete the Monitor Ridge Route if you start at Climber’s Bivouac, including a 4-hour climb to the top. Bring plenty of snacks and water, as your body will need the energy and hydration to make it to the top.
Climbing Mt. St. Helens
Climbing Mt. St. Helens has three stages to it. The first stage starts with a 2-mile hike through the forest which provides some moderate elevation gain. Stage two consists of climbing up giant boulders and generally using your hands and arms for support; this is about another two miles until you reach the summit of Mt. St. Helens where there will be hard volcanic ash everywhere, which makes walking difficult due to how loose it is underfoot. Luckily, if you’ve reached this point then all that’s left is an easy ascent towards the top which requires only a short amount of time and effort because it’s so steep!
Working one’s way up the volcanic ash and stone took quite a bit of perseverance. Heading down your knees, you might enjoy but your knees might get weak due to hectic climb. Stepping around boulders will make it surprisingly easy and nonetheless there are plenty of handholds for balance so it’s just the matter of taking some time to get used to. Climbing St. Helens provides you confidence to climb Mera peak, Lhotse, and Everest base camp trek.