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Trip Report    

Alpine Scramble - Mount St. Helens/Monitor Ridge

Perfect day for this trip on the first weekend after the end of permit quotas!

  • Road rough but passable
  • Started at dawn from Climbers Bivouac after car-camping Sat. night. The approach trail is in good shape, just one down tree easily passed. Overall, a fantastic sunny day scrambling through and over about 2500 vertical ft. of boulders and another 1000 ft. of loose, but stable ash/scree to the summit. A few shallow snow patches on the way up were easily passed or walked on.  No traction devices needed. Not much wind early on, not terribly cold. Wind increased as we ascended, and we were hit with very strong gusts at the crater rim. Ash-covered icy snow along the summit rim, easy to walk along w/o traction. Blowing ash was a little problematic especially on the descent, but we all had eye protection. Excellent views all around, south to Mt. Hood and the Sisters in Oregon were visible. A long day scrambling and then driving home, but worth it.

The unpaved section of road to Climbers Bivouac is rough, but not as bad as what I've read on WTA trip reports. It's 3.5 miles, several holes, and some washboarding. However, high clearance is not needed. Surprisingly, the mountain was not crowded; maybe 100 people, not many more. I anticipated a lot more people up there with the nice weather weekend and no quotas for permits. Someone said they saw two mountain goats.

 

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