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 Post subject: Re: Timberline Trail current conditions?
 Post Posted: July 6th, 2017, 7:51 pm 
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Joined: May 10th, 2009, 4:42 pm
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Location: The Foothills of Mt Hood
retired jerry wrote:
I saw Guy's friend, the lurker, on the Zigzag ridge.


?????
I have lots of Lurker Friends :)

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 Post subject: Re: Timberline Trail current conditions?
 Post Posted: July 6th, 2017, 7:55 pm 
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Location: The Foothills of Mt Hood
mjirving wrote:
The Loowit trail around Mt St Helens is quite spectacular too and lower in elevation. Any opinions from those in the know about its condition? (Of course you can’t camp in the blast zone in the northern 1/3 of the mountain so plan for that) The loop is about 10 miles shorter than Timberline. Very spectacular as I’ve done both multiple times.

Mike (aka GoalTech)


Yeah I Have no current conditions info but would be willing to bet snow would not be an issue. That being said I find the the St Helens Loop harder than the Timberline loop due to the rocky terrain lack of shade and lack of water sources.

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 Post subject: Re: Timberline Trail current conditions?
 Post Posted: July 6th, 2017, 8:12 pm 
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Yeah...offset by 10 fewer miles and 3000 feet less of elevation gain. Longest water carry is really only about 5 miles or so though. More than Hood for sure, but this early in the season there will be quite a bit of water that traduonally dries up later in the summer. More exposed for sure.


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 Post subject: Re: Timberline Trail current conditions?
 Post Posted: July 6th, 2017, 8:32 pm 
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Location: The Foothills of Mt Hood
mjirving wrote:
Yeah...offset by 10 fewer miles and 3000 feet less of elevation gain. Longest water carry is really only about 5 miles or so though. More than Hood for sure, but this early in the season there will be quite a bit of water that traduonally dries up later in the summer. More exposed for sure.


True it is earlier then when I last did it in late July but we had a 10 mile water carry in 85F+ and it would have been longer if it was not for one small surviving snow field.

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 Post subject: Re: Timberline Trail current conditions?
 Post Posted: July 7th, 2017, 1:19 am 
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Yes I'm definitely considering other hikes. Loowit sounds like a safer option to get a full trip in this time of year. On a plane in 30 minutes so will be a gametime decision. Thx Mike for the suggestion!


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 Post subject: Re: Timberline Trail current conditions?
 Post Posted: July 7th, 2017, 4:52 am 
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OKAY Boston, here's the plan...

Here is a link to snow levels. (It has the PCT overlaid for easy reference). Find Mt St Helens and click the upper left to go to the Topo map version. Click the "plus" in the lower right to zoom in. You can see the Loowit Trail around St Helens. It looks to be mostly snow-free according to this, but I also know that snow-free is optimistic on this map, particularly in protected forested areas (fortunately St Helens has little of that). Looks to be covered still on the SW section of the mountain which is where you cross some large rock fields that don't really have a trail anyway and are marked by tall wood posts/cairns. You'd just want to watch your footing as soft/thin snow could be some awkward footing with a rock field underneath (although it sure seams that a rock field would be melted out...but maybe not).

https://www.postholer.com/gmap/gmap.php?trail_id=1&depth=1

On a side note, here is my GPS track from doing Timberline Trail in a day 2 years ago CCW from Timberline Lodge if you decide to do that. Know that there is a new crossing over the Eliot that is not reflected here (it's lower down).
http://gpsfly.org/g/4684

In September of 2013 I did the Loowit CCW. This is the route I'd recommend for you, particularly if you are doing a mid-day start. I don't know if you want to be careful looking at the details of these posts so they don't "spoil" your hike (by seeing what's coming), but it should provide you with a lot of info.

I recommend starting at the south side at the June Lake Trailhead and going CCW to Pumice Butte which is 7.5 miles on the first day if you do a mid day start. (You could also start at Climbers Bivouac (assuming it's open due to snow) which is a bit further west to make that 7.5 miles a few miles longer if you want a bigger first day and shorter last day). The Pumice Butte overlook site is one of my favorite camp spots ever with its overlook.
http://goaltechhikes.blogspot.com/2013/09/hike-23-mt-st-helens-loowit-trail-loop.html

The second day you go through the Plains of Abraham through Windy Pass and through the blast zone. I recommend taking the short side trail up to Loowit Falls for lunch as it's a cool waterfall and the closest you can legally get to the crater as it's illegal to hike off-trail due to the sensitivity of the volcanic area. You also can't camp in the blast zone so you've got to get through it during the day. You'll cross over the Toutle River to get out of the blast zone. Camp in the area immediately on the other side of the Toutle. This will be a 12.6 mile day.
http://goaltechhikes.blogspot.com/2013/09/hike-24-mt-st-helens-loowit-trail-loop.html

The third day will be 13.1 miles and take you back to June Lake. This is a bit tricky with those lava/rock fields I mentioned as you have to really pay attention to the wood posts/cairns to find your way. A GPS track is certainly helpful to confirm your way through here.
http://goaltechhikes.blogspot.com/2013/09/hike-25-mt-st-helens-loowit-trail-loop.html

Here is my GPS track when I did the loop CW in October 2014 in a day. It is 30.6 miles (according to my GPS) and has 5,900' of elevation gain ranging from 3,000' to 4,900'. For comparison, Timberline Trail is about 10,000' of gain and has a high point of just over 7,000'. I have water sources marked on this map too, but it was late in the year and many were dried up. My "day 3" above was the driest day as I don't recall much if any water on that day that wasn't silty, but my memory is hazy. The other 2 days should be fine, just take advantage of the clear water when you see it as a lot of the water is silty.
https://www.gaiagps.com/public/QkNmEddTUozBPTHjaTMQv1KS/?layer=openhikingmapHD

A Green Trails map of St Helens from REI would be helpful too. You'd want map 364S. It should be about $8 and is a flat, single sheet map that is quite nice.
https://greentrailsmaps.com/maps/map/WA

I use Gaia GPS app in my iPhone which you can use my track if you want, but I imagine you likely have that covered. Feel free to import my track for reference.

I hope this helps, it really is a spectacular hike. Others on this forum may have other advise. My caution is that the snow does look surprisingly still on the edges of the trail so be prepared for that. I know it will be way better than the Timberline Trail on the north side though. Due to it being very early season up there be cautious of the trail conditions as they are pretty loose in places so just use good common sense (my disclaimer! :-)

Let us know what you end up doing and how it goes! Let me/us know if you have further questions...welcome to Oregon!
Mike (aka GoalTech)


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 Post subject: Re: Timberline Trail current conditions?
 Post Posted: July 7th, 2017, 5:48 am 
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Also, in addition to my above comments, it'd be cool to throw in a climb up to the crater rim on the south side of you had time. Unfortunately it's limited to 100 people per day with permits (just the climbing part) which I'm sure are all gone. I think there is a resellers market for those somewhere for people who can't go but I don't know about that, but I'm sure others in this forum do.

Mike


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 Post subject: Re: Timberline Trail current conditions?
 Post Posted: July 7th, 2017, 6:56 am 
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Joined: May 31st, 2011, 7:46 pm
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Location: Chehalem Mountain
mjirving wrote:
I think there is a resellers market for those somewhere

Permits available here...

http://purmit.com/mt-st-helens


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 Post subject: Re: Timberline Trail current conditions?
 Post Posted: July 7th, 2017, 8:30 am 
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Getting back tot he Timberline Trail...

51 inches of snow on the Timberline Trail behind Timberline Lodge as of July 6th, confirmed by Zig Zag RS.


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 Post subject: Re: Timberline Trail current conditions?
 Post Posted: July 7th, 2017, 8:36 am 
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That's about what the drifts were below Paradise Park on the PCT


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