Mt St Helens summit ridge in snow/ice, 11/30

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TheOtherBob
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Mt St Helens summit ridge in snow/ice, 11/30

Post by TheOtherBob » December 3rd, 2014, 9:12 pm

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It's been awhile since I've posted (fell into some books), so I thought I'd share this one.

After watching the mountain forecasts say all week "Early Sunday through Sunday afternoon are going to be amazing up at elevation," Ebishop and I agreed to go have a look around up at the summit ridge of Mt St Helens.

We left Portland at 3 a.m. and were very pleased to find that the road up to Climbers Bivouac was still open and passable. One note: the climber's register is no longer present at the Lone Fir Resort--there is a big plastic tub up at the TH with the register in it. We weren't sure what caused the change, but now you know too. Anyone know the story or have info about that?

We left the TH at 5:40 and were above the treeline well before sunrise. This section of trail has very little snow on it yet, which disappointed us, because we were armed and ready with snowshoes.
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Here's an example of the current conditions at the base of the climb above the treeline.
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The wind was quite a bit stronger than the forecast led us to believe, which initially slowed and discouraged us a bit, but we eventually got up past the rocky portion of the climb to where the snow and ice started filling things in.
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There were a few other parties up on Sunday, but during the window when we were heading up the ridge, we had the entire Monitor Ridge route to ourselves.
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The party in front of us turned around because not all of them had crampons, and there is an appreciable amount of ice up there right now. Here are some ice formations with Ebishop storming up the ridge in the background.
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For enduring the cold and wind, we were rewarded with views.
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Last edited by TheOtherBob on December 3rd, 2014, 9:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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TheOtherBob
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Re: Mt St Helens summit ridge in snow/ice, 11/30

Post by TheOtherBob » December 3rd, 2014, 9:17 pm

Here is the view out through the breach toward the JRO/Coldwater/Margaret area.
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Final panoram.
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We descended slightly, to get out of the wind on the western side of the ridge, and dug out a shelf in the snow on which stop and eat lunch before heading down. True summit has a good cornice coming on and we'll probably head back up again some time in the next few months to check it out.
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On the way down, we encountered several interesting formations in the snow.
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As an aside, how do you know when it's really cold out?
When none of Ebishop's skin is visible.
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This final panoram from the lower portion of the ridge captures the light dusting on some of the nearby hills.
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... and then we were back to greenery.
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A pleasant day of good memory building.
Happy hiking, happy climbing, be safe!
-Bob

greenjello85
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Re: Mt St Helens summit ridge in snow/ice, 11/30

Post by greenjello85 » December 3rd, 2014, 11:29 pm

Wow awesome climb! Those pano shots came out great. Thanks for sharing

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acorn woodpecker
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Re: Mt St Helens summit ridge in snow/ice, 11/30

Post by acorn woodpecker » December 3rd, 2014, 11:38 pm

Wonderful photos. Looks like you two had a great opportunity with the weather window, despite the bitter wind, which seems like a given on a clear fall/winter day. Seemed like a great time to go up Monitor Ridge to avoid the crowds and enjoy some of the scrambling the route offers before there's too much snow and then the choice is the Worm Flows route.

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Bosterson
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Re: Mt St Helens summit ridge in snow/ice, 11/30

Post by Bosterson » December 4th, 2014, 12:14 am

Great pictures, Bob! Looks like perfect weather up there (aside from the cold). Sorry I couldn't join you guys for that one, next time!!
#pnw #bestlife #bitingflies #favoriteyellowcap #neverdispleased

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Eric Peterson
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Re: Mt St Helens summit ridge in snow/ice, 11/30

Post by Eric Peterson » December 4th, 2014, 5:57 am

Great pictures sir!

Is this some sort of new style of balaclava that Shop is sporting? Or was it really that cold that skin turned blue :D
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miah66
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Re: Mt St Helens summit ridge in snow/ice, 11/30

Post by miah66 » December 4th, 2014, 9:14 am

That sunrise pano is breathtaking! All of your pictures turned out phenomenal! Great adventure!
"The top...is not the top" - Mile...Mile & a Half

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Don Nelsen
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Re: Mt St Helens summit ridge in snow/ice, 11/30

Post by Don Nelsen » December 4th, 2014, 10:53 am

Awesome!! This must be one of the latest dates the road is still open.

Ebishop's outfit is the best, too.

dn
"Everything works in the planning stage".


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TheOtherBob
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Re: Mt St Helens summit ridge in snow/ice, 11/30

Post by TheOtherBob » December 10th, 2014, 7:29 pm

Thanks for the kind words, all!
Eric, she REALLY TURNED THAT COLO--just kidding. ;)

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