Mount St. Helens Climbing Update

In case of a lost or overdue climber please call the Skamania County Sheriff  at (509) 427 9490, in case of emergency dial 911.

[Last Updated: March 31, 2015]

Climbing Conditions and Route Information.

  • Climbing Fees go into effect Friday April 1, 2016 for the 2016 climbing season. Permits are available online only at Mount St. Helens Institute.
  • Climbers Bivouac and Forest Road 830 are closed for the season due to snow. Road is gated  on FR83 at Marble Mountain Sno*Park and FR 81 at  Cougar Sno* Park.
  • Be prepared for changing weather and terrain conditions. Winter climbing condions exsit on Mount St. Helens. Remember to bring a flashlight, carry extra clothing, water and food. Please update yourself with the latest Weather  and Avalanche conditions, before climbing. To reduce your exposure to avalanche potential, avoid cornices, snow loaded slopes and gully bottoms. 
  • November 1st thru March 31st, Winter climbing permits are in effect.
  • Bring at least 3 liters of water for your climb. 
  • Snow above 2500 feet, with 20 inches of new snow at Marble Mt. Sno-Park, snow depth varies as you climb, use caution when traveling over snow covered rocks. Swift Ski Trail is currently snow covered.
  • Ice Axe and Crampons are recommended.
  • Worm Flows Climbing Route, is the most direct route to the summit of Mount St. Helens during the winter/spring season. From Marble Mountain Sno-Park use the Swift Ski Trail, #244 to reach timberline. Cross to the west side of Swift Creek, just above Chocolate Falls (elev. 3,700’). Follow ridges and open slopes to the crater rim. Wooden route marking posts guide climbers from timberline to approximately 4,800’ elevation, 8 to 12 hours round trip.Stay Back from Cornice! 
  • Monitor Ridge Climbing Route is primarily used during the summer season.  Follow the Ptarmigan Trail 216A, blue diamonds mark the trail, to timberline. Wooden posts help guide climbers to 7800ft. then follow the open slope to the crater rim. Climbers can expect 6 to 10 hour round trip climb. Stay Back from the Cornice.

Permits, Fees and RegistrationPermits are required year-round for each person travelling above 4800ft elevation.

  • April 1st through October 31st permits are by advance reservations only through the Mount St. Helens Institute.
    • April 1st through May 14th a climbing quota is in effect and limitied to 500 climbers per day.
    • May 15th through October 31st a climbing quota in effect and limited to 100 climbers per day.
    • November 1 through March 31st permits are self issue and free of charge. Climbers can obtain permits at the Climbing Register at Marble Mountain Sno-Park and weather permitting, Climbers Bivouac. Beginning Dec 1st a Sno-Park Pass is required at Cougar and Marble Mountain Sno-Parks. Passes available at  Cougar Store  and Lakeside Store in Cougar WA.

Volcanic Activity

  • Growth of the new lava dome inside the crater of Mount St. Helens is in a pause state. Please note an eruption could intensify suddenly or with little warning and produce explosions that cause hazardous conditions within several miles of the crater and farther downwind.