Mount St. Helens Summit
Mount St. Helens is an active volcano and the central feature of the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. The mountain 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. A climbing permit is required year-round.
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.
At a Glance
|Current Conditions:||05/30/2023: Forest Road 83 is clear to Marble Mountain Sno-Park. Permits via Recreation.gov are required for climbing April-Nov. and are available each month for the following month.
|Reservations:||Between April 1 & November 30 permits are limited in number and purchased online in advance.|
|Permit Info:||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.
|Busiest Season:||Late spring through early fall|
|Closest Towns:||Cougar, Washington|
|Water:||No water at Climbers Bivouac|
|Restroom:||Vault Toilets at Climbers Bivouac & Marble Mtn Sno Park|
|Passes:||$5/day/vehicle or a valid Recreation Pass required at Climber's Bivouac. See Mount St. Helens Map for fee and payment sites.|
|Operated By:||Forest Service|
- Summer: Monitor Ridge Climbing Route
- Access: Climbers Bivouac Trailhead
- Winter: The Worm Flows, Winter Climbing Route
- Access: Sno-Park: Marble Mountain
South Monitor Ridge Photo from the air:
Know Before You Go:
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).
Review Winter/early Spring Climbing Tips
Review all Climbing Preparation and Safety Information including:
- Climbing Safety
- Climbing Essentials
- Active Volcano Hazards
- Hypothermia/Altitude Sickness information.
Mount St Helens Climbing Overview Video:
Map showing recreational areas. Map Information