Mt St Helens:
From the people that summited before noon that day..at least half of the 122 who had permits, our group was the only one that went over to the true summit that day. Most stopped as soon as they reached the crater rim.
To our horror we did see snowmobile tracks at the crater rim just below the true summit. Apparently they are allowed there as long as they have a climbing permit.
The non motorized zone is between Monitor ridge and the edge of Worm Flows. Wish there was a sound barrier as well. Even High up on the mountain I could hear the loud drone of the snowmobile. So much for piece and quiet
Also saw a few skiiers who carried up their ski's with skins firmly attached, Fat ski's with the heavy fritschi plus bindings ! yet skinning up was fine.
J & I had the fasted time at 3 hrs up. Myself took about 5 hrs up and the rest between 4 1/3 to 5 hrs
Skied down at noon and the snow was getting quite mushy and snowballed lower down.
Bottom of Worm Flows
R looking at Monitor ridge
Crater Rim Panorama
S & P approaching Summit of St Helens
A short break at the car, a visit to the APE CAVES
Ape Cave , a drive to Hood River for a Scrumptous Dinner at the Riverside Grill...Would we like bread....didn't have to ask Us twice..yup, bring on the loaves !!! The food was very good.
Arrived at Mt Hood Parking lot at 2200.
Saw one party leaving...they wanted to summmit by 7 am...hmmm.
Some tents went up, I crawled into my bed in the truck..gas guzzlers are good for some things
The Party beside me left at 2400 but returned at 0100..it had gotten windy. I asked them..was it the wind that pushed them back...no contitions were too soft for their liking and too much icefall by report. Someone broke their leg that Day falling after being hit by ice. HMMMMM....
Got up at 0330 and started skiing at 0415 with R and three americans from Tennessee. The faster members of our group were still snoozing. The snow was firm to icy. The best track was just beside the lift on the groomed run. Once at the end of the lifts I had to put crampons on and carry the ski's..did I ever wish I had ski crampons !!!
Dawn on Hood
Hodd's Morning Shadow
R & Illumination Rock
Looking up I saw several teams..they all seamed to be stuck at the traverse to the Hogsback. Only one group of 4 continued. The rest of the groups..roped by the even spacing were lined up nicely right under the traverse playing Human Bowling Pins and didn't move much..that's were the icefall was most dangerous..got to be able to move to avoid the pieces !!!! I was still a long way away from that spot and hoped they'd be cleared out by then, and they did. Met a few on my way up and heard stories of ice falling, and a guy having slid down to the fumaroles from the traverse but was un hurt...too icy they said and too much ice fallling. Saw him walk down the mountain later under his own power. HMM I thought again..
I and J caught up with us at the Devil's kitchen where we left our ski's
Devil's Kitchen. Took it really slow in Old chute to take in the views, take pictures and catch my breath.
Hogsback, Traverse & Old Chute
looking down hogsback from start of traverse
R in Old Chute
J kicking steps up Old Chute
B climbing Old Chute.
We choose to follow the established track traversing right below the rocks, but one could traverse diagonally over from lower down the Hogsback and have more reaction time to ice falls.
Sure enough, "I" must have reached the summit at least 20 min ahead of us, giving him an ascent time of just around 4 hrs. Myself took 5 3/4 hrs. All 7 of us summited between 1000 and 1030 .
St Helen's & Rainier from Hood
The three americans who started at 0415 with us summited just as we left the summit. They had their ski's/boards with them and one of them if not all skied down. The ski down would have been a bit on the crunchy side though.
A beautiful day and nice firm snow for crampons. Yes , the Icefall was a constant drizzle on the traverse of small crystals and some bigger (plum size) pieces that didn't do any damage. The key was to move swiftly through the traverse and not linger in there. Noticed bigger runnels where many of the somehwat bigger ice pieces liked to slither down. In the Old chute only one plate size piece of rime came flying down not hitting anyone. When we got to the Hogsback we were the only ones going up and had the mountain to ourselves and could spread ourselves out...yeah !!!! Ropes, pickets and ice screws stayed hidden in the packs.
Contrary to reports on one american climbing site ( summit Post) that only 4 made it to the summit that day and horrific conditions ....7 canadians and three more american summitted after everyone had turned back from the Hogsback, found beautiful climbing conditions & had a safe climb