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Climbing
Snow/glacier/ice route
Alpine climbing NCCS rating
Class I
Elevation Gain
5,736.00 ft (1,748.33 m)
Distance
10.60 mi (17.06 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The 1908 eruption of Mount St. Helens blew 1,314 feet off of the mountain's summit and created a massive crater over the 230-square-mile devastated blast zone to the north. From the Marble Mountain Sno-Park, climbers seeking the picturesque view from the snow-capped crater rim begin their journey up to the volcanic worm flows. As climbers emerge out of treeline the landscape transforms into snow-covered, scarred slopes of eroding rock formed by lahars, or volcanic mudflows, from the 1980 eruption. From the west ridge flanking Swift Creek, Mount Adams dominates the view to the east with Mount Hood to the south. The route becomes steep as climbers navigate the terrain up to Swift Glacier to merge with the mountain's summer route, Monitor Ridge

Climbers with an alpine start in the dark are rewarded with an impressive display of color as the mountain is washed in alpenglow by the rising sun.  The warmth of the sun's rays motivates the coldest of climbers to push up the wind-blown, icy slope to the summit. Reaching the crater's rim, climbers are rewarded with breathtaking views of the crater framing Spirit Lake and Mount Margaret Backcountry below with Mount Rainier dominating the horizon to the north.

Mount St. Helens is one of the most accessible glaciated peaks in the Cascade Mountain Range, and the summit welcomes over 14,000 climbers on an annual basis. It is imperative to practice low-impact and Leave No Trace as you travel here so future generations may also experience the spirit of this active stratovolcano. Cornices are common around the crater rim, so please be sure to stay back from the edge as the unstable lip can beak away without notice. As always when scaling mountains, be sure to liberally apply sunscreen to battle the intense sun and watch for storms that roll in quickly on unsuspecting climbers.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

Winter parking pass

Open Year-round

No

Open from

November 01 to March 31

Pros

Amazing panoramic views of Mount Hood and Mount Adams.

Cons

Crowds on weekends. Avalanche potential.

Pets allowed

Allowed

Trailhead Elevation

2,629.00 ft (801.32 m)

Highest point

8,365.00 ft (2,549.65 m)

Net Elevation Gain

5,736.00 ft (1,748.33 m)

Address

NF-83
Cougar, WA 98616
United States

Features

Big vistas

Access

Vehicle

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

Yes

Permit self-issue on site

Yes

Primary aspect

South facing

Drinking water

Snowmelt

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Southwest Washington/Mount St. Helens, Washington
Southwest Washington/Mount St. Helens, Washington
Southwest Washington/Mount St. Helens, Washington

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