What a way to have fun! Take off early from Portland (20Sept2016) and climb Mt. St. Helens! It’s hardly light as we set off through the two and a half miles of spruce forest. Note how the size of the trees decreases as we gain altitude and enter the lava fields. Then we’re out on the scree, rocks and pumice for 10,000 stairsteps upwards for the next 4000 feet.
Now we climb, up, up, up for the next two hours until we near the seismic monitor on the mountain where we will eat breakfast. More steps, the moon begins to wane above Ken as we clamber over boulders. David poses next to one of the winter climbing markers. We search for the best way through this tangle of mountain debris. Mt. Adams to the East looms 70 miles away.
Now it’s lunch time and we scoff down liquids, PBJ sandwiches, mountain mix and candy bars. Then it’s on up the mountain with more boulder clambering as clouds begin to rise on Mt. Hood. Ken and David pose before Mt. Adams, we look across the remnants of a once mighty glacier with only a few crevasses remaining in the ice field – almost gone! Ice crystals coat the rock from last night’s rain at lower elevations – still frozen solid at mid-day.
The last flat place before the final scree/pumice leading to the rounded summit could be a moonscape if you pasted in the astronauts and took out the distant trees!
The summit at last 4 and a half hours after our start! Right to left – Rick, David and Ken all looking pretty happy! Only 3 and a half hours down to go! Look at that last picture!
The Mt. St. Helens Crater with new mount forming below us 1000 feet down in the basted out remains of the once perfect cone mountain. Beyond is Spirit Lake with tree skeletons – the burial site of the old codger, Harry Truman who refused to leave his cabin prior to the eruption. Beyond in the mists the massif of Mt. Rainier is barely visible contrasting slightly with the clouds.
What was the title? Ouch! My Thighs! But look again at the top and the scenery and the smiles on the faces of the 3 guys and you see we had one heck of a great time!
Well worth it!