Monitor Ridge Climbing Route

Area Status: Open
This area is Open
 

USFS Photo - South/ Monitor Ridge Climbing Route-- June 2006

Permit Information

The Monitor Ridge Climbing Route is the primary route used by climbers during the summer. It is a nontechnical scramble, gaining 4,500 feet in 5 miles. Most climbers complete the round trip in 7 to 12 hours.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: 09/25/2014: Open. 2014. Current Climbing Conditions
Reservations: Climbing permits are available on line by advanced reservation only. Please vist the  Mount St. Helens Instititue web site to purchase and reserve your climbing permit.
Area Amenities: Tent camping,Toilets,Parking
Fees A Climbing Permit is required year round to climb Mount St. Helens. Climbing fees are $22.00 per climbing permit from April 1st through October 31st. Please see permit information for more details.
Permit Info:
  • Climbing Permits are required for each person, for each day, traveling above 4800 ft elevation, on the slopes of Mount St. Helens year round.
    • 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.
    • November 1 thru March 31- Permits are free of charge and self issue at the Climbing Registers.
Usage: Medium-Heavy
Best Season: Summer
Busiest Season: Summer
Restrictions: Climbing quota of a 100 climbers per day is in effect May 15th thru October 31st.
Closest Towns: Cougar WA
Water: No.
Restroom: Vault toilet at Timberline
Passes: A Northwest Forest Pass is required. Climbers will be given a pass for their vechile upon pick up of their climbing permit.
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center: Mount St Helens National Volcanic Monument Headquarters and Visitor Centers

General Information

Directions:

This route begins from: Climbers Bivouac off FR 81-830


Recreation Map

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Activities


Climbing

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Mountain Climbing

Recreation areas with activity Mountain Climbing:

The route begins at Climber's Bivouac, located at the end of Forest Road 830, 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 blocky 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.

Please review: Mount St Helens Climbing Information.

Register: The Climber's Registers are located at the Lone Fir Resort, 16806 Lewis River Road, Cougar, WA. (360) 238-5210 and at the Marble Mountain Sno-Park.

Amenities: Vault toilets are located at Climber's Bivouac and near timberline. 

General Info:

General Notes:

It is important for climbers of any Cascade summit to be aware of a few things:

  • Climbing parties should use good judgment and take special care of weaker members and novice climbers (Always think Safety is Item Number One)
  • Be prepared for treacherous slopes (steep, slick, with dangerous runouts), especially on descent, going from the basin at timberline to the crest of Monitor Ridge
  • Before climbing, gain knowledge of competent use of an ice axe or ski poles on all snow slopes, and the ability to self-arrest a fall under any conditions
  • Be aware of receding snow on current glissade paths higher on the Mountain, exposing rock hazards
  • Stay well back from cornices that still remain along the summit rim
  • Prepare for warming temperatures demanding that climbers carry three liters of water at a minimum
  • Know and use proper footwear, clothing, sun protection and sunglasses!
  • Prepare and carry gear for bad weather
  • Carry a first aid kit and being able to use itit is important for climbers of any Cascade summit to be aware of a few things:
  • Climbing parties should use good judgment and take special care of weaker members and novice climbers (Always think Safety is Item Number One)
  • Be prepared for treacherous slopes (steep, slick, with dangerous runouts), especially on descent, going from the basin at timberline to the crest of Monitor Ridge
  • Before climbing, gain knowledge of competent use of an ice axe or ski poles on all snow slopes, and the ability to self-arrest a fall under any conditions
  • Be aware of receding snow on current glissade paths higher on the Mountain, exposing rock hazards
  • Stay well back from cornices that still remain along the summit rim
  • Prepare for warming temperatures demanding that climbers carry three liters of water at a minimum
  • Know and use proper footwear, clothing, sun protection and sunglasses!
  • Prepare and carry gear for bad weather
  • Carry a first aid kit and being able to use it

Amenities

Toilets at Climbers Bivouac and at timberline
Parking at Climbers Bivouac
Tent camping at Climbers Bivouac