Climbing Mount St. Helens

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USGS and Forest Service scientists stand at the crater rim of Mount St Helens August 2005Mount St. Helens is an active volcano in southwest Washington State and the central feature of the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. Mount St. Helens is a popular climb for both beginning and experienced mountaineers. Although people are able to climb Mount St. Helens year-round, late spring through early fall is the most popular season. Most climbers use the Monitor Ridge Route from Climbers Bivouac. This route gains 4,500 feet in five miles to the crater rim at 8,365 feet elevation. Although strenuous, this non-technical climb is suitable for people in good physical condition who are comfortable scrambling on steep, rugged terrain. Most climbers complete the round trip in seven to twelve hours. While climbing to the crater rim is permitted, entry into the crater is strictly prohibited. Climbing permits are required.

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Some Cornices (overhanging snow) on the crater rim of Mount St Helens

Cornices (overhanging snow) are unstable and prone to sudden failure. Extreme caution is advised! Do not approach the crater rim unless you can find a wind-scoured area where the surface of the rim is visible. The crater rim is unstable and is subject to frequent rockfall and collapse. Stay back from the crater edge, it is potentially hazardous at any time of year (especially during the period of elevated avalanche danger and rockfall during the spring thaw).

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Mount St Helens Institute (MSHI)

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