Mount St Helens Climbing Permit System

Obtaining a permit | Climber's Registration & Permit Seasons | Permit Requirements

Obtaining a permit

Everyone must have a climbing permit to be above 4,800 feet elevation on Mount St. Helens. The permit system has been in effect since 1987. The permit system helps to protect the volcano’s physical and biological features and processes, reduces crowding, and provides climbers with information on climbing conditions, Leave No Trace principles, and safety.

  • Mount St. Helens climbing permits are administered by Mount St. Helens Institute (MSHI) through an on-line vendor. The MSHI on-line vendor is a secure website that accepts all major credit and debit cards. Climbers will be emailed a permit purchase confirmation receipt at the time of purchase.
  • The total permit fee of $22 includes an $5 service charge which goes towards MSHI’s Mountain Stewards Volunteer Program to help maintain and protect the climbing routes. Climbing permits are not refundable. If climbing is suspended by the Forest Service, permit sales will also be suspended
  • From April 1 to October 31 climbing permits are available online by advance purchase only. Do not wait until the day of your climb to purchase your permit.  Unsold permits may be purchased online until 24-hours before the date of the climb.
  • Once you complete your permit purchase through the online vendor, all sales are final. Refunds are not possible. You cannot change climbing dates once your purchase is complete. Please plan accordingly before completing your purchase.

Climbers Bivouac Camping

Camping is allowed at Climber's Bivouac which is the trailhead for the summer climbing route Monitor Ridge. It is a developed site with parking, tent pads, fire grates and toilets, but no running water and no picnic tables. Please pack out all litter. A valid Recreation Pass is required at Climbers Bivouac trailhead.

Climber's Registration & Permit Seasons

All climbers must sign-in and sign-out at the Climber's Register before and after their climb. The Climber's Register is currently located at Climbers Bivouac and Marble Mountain Sno-Park and is accessible 24 hours a day.

NEW 2015-Climbers will need to print their online permits at home and sign in at the trailhead climbing registers. Recyclable plastic permit holders will be available at the climbing registers to display climbing permits. Climbing permits must be carried at all times and displayed in a visible manner by each person while climbing Mount St. Helens. 

Climbing Season - November 01-March 31

  • A permit is required.
  • A permit fee is not charged.
  • Climbing use is unrestricted.
  • On-line registration is not required.
  • You must self-register and pick up your permit at Marble Mtn Sno-Park or at the Climber's Register at Climbers Bivouac when accessable.
  • Snowmobile use is allowed above 4800 feet with a permit provided that it is outside the designated non-motorized corridor (see non-motorized corridor map).

Climbing Season - April 01-May 14

  • A permit is required.
  • A permit fee is charged.
  • Climbing use is limited to 500 persons a day.
  • Advance purchase on-line is required.
  • Snowmobile use is allowed above 4800 feet with a permit provided that it is outside the designated non-motorized corridor (see non-motorized corridor map).

Climbing Season - May 15-October 31

  • A permit is required.
  • A permit fee is charged.
  • Climbing use is restricted to 100 daily permit holders.
  • Advance purchase on-line is required.
  • Snowmobile use is not allowed above 4800 feet.

Permit Requirements.

  • Climbing permits are required year-round.
  • Each climber must display their own hang-tag climbing permit.
  • Permits are valid for 24 hours starting at midnight for the date of climb and are nontransferable.
  • Maximum party size is 12 climbers.
  • Access is limited to protect the volcano’s physical and biological features and processes, and to reduce crowding.
  • Snowmobile use is prohibited in a designated non-motorized corridor along the Monitor Ridge and Worm Flows winter climbing routes.
  • During the limited use season, permits will be available for advance purchase only, on-line, first come, first served, until the daily use limit is reached.  Weekends and summer dates fill up first but mid-week dates are often available.  Climbers can purchase available permits online up to 24-hours before the day of the climb.