The Monitor Ridge Climbing Route is the primary route used by climbers during the summer to reach Mount St Helens Summit. It is a non-technical scramble, gaining 4,500 feet in 5 miles. Most climbers complete the round trip in 7 to 12 hours.
The climbing route used in the summer months begins at Climber's Bivouac south of the volcano. At 3,700 feet elevation, Climber's Bivouac has the highest vehicle access on Mount St. Helens. Start on Ptarmigan Trail #216A which climbs 1,100 feet in 2 1/4 miles to timberline at 4,800 feet elevation.
Above timberline, the route generally follows Monitor Ridge, climbing steeply through lava flows and loose pumice and ash. From timberline the route is marked with large wooden posts to about 7,000 feet elevation. The upper 1,300 feet of the route is unmarked and covered with loose, rock, pumice and ash. On your descent, take care to stay on route. A minor detour may put you far off route at timberline.
At a Glance
03/23/2015: Forest Road 830 and Climbers Bivouac are closed for the winter season. <a href="/detail/mountsthelens/alerts-notices/?cid=stelprdb5291050">View the climbing update.</a>
April 1 through October 31 - Climbing permits are sold online, in-advance, on a first-come, first-served basis through the Mount St. Helens Institute.
Climbing Permits are required year-round for each person and each day they will be traveling above 4800 ft elevation, on the slopes of Mount St. Helens.
April 1 - October 31 - Climbing permits are sold online, in-advance, on a first-come, first-served basis through the Mount St. Helens Institute.
May 1 through October 31- A qouta system is in effect with a limit of 100 climbers per day.
From Cougar, WA take Lewis River Road/Forest Road 90 east for 6.4 miles then go left on Forest Road 83. Follow Forest Road 83 for 3 miles then stay left onto Forest Road 81 and go about a mile to Forest Spur Road 830. Go right at Forest Road 830 and drive about .4 miles to the trailhead.