Archive for August, 2009

Mt. St. Helens

Sunday, August 2nd, 2009

date hiked: July 6, 2009
distance: 10 miles
elevation gain: 4,500 feet
time: @ 7 hours

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I haven’t blogged in about a year, minus a birthday wish to Tyler. So much has happened. Instead of trying to play catch up…I’ve decided to start fresh. About a month ago I climbed to the summit of Mt. St. Helens with a Mazama team led by George Cummings. In the summer, it’s really a hike…although there was still enough snow that we used an ice axe for portions. We camped at the Climber’s Bivouac (taking the Monitor Ridge route) and woke up at 3 am so we could hit the trail at 4 am. Amazingly, we woke up to wet snow…in July! The weather was awful…but we went for it anyway. We hiked through wind, wet snow, rain, and a thick blanket of clouds until we approached the summit. To describe the Mt. St. Helens climb…there are three stages. The first stage is below timberline. You are in the trees and on a maintained trail. There is even a port-a-potty just about at timberline. The second stage is the boulders. There is no trail. You follow large wooden posts and climb boulders. The third stage is the pumice/ash. The first time I hiked MSH (this was my second time), someone referred to this stage as “the stairstepper from hell”. Three steps forward, two steps back.

But then you’re approaching the summit…as we were. Miracles happen. We were covered in clouds the whole time we were climbing, yet 100 feet from the crater rim, blue sky appeared. I bonked. A kind team member fueled me with some Shot Bloks. We went on. We celebrated our summit because we could see the crater steaming and because it felt so good.

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