Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Ash, the Ice, the Glory

So I decided to climb Mount Saint Helens. I duped my brother-in-law into going with me by claiming that "it's just like Mount Si, just a little higher". When I said it, it wasn't really a lie. That's because I didn't know at the time just how epic this years snow-pack was. So with the normal trailhead snowed in we found ourselves in late June staring in the face of a twelve-mile round trip on solid snow with 5,665 quad-demolishing feet of elevation gain.

I decided to introduce Grant to the alpine start. That's when you get up early in the morning and climb the mountain before the snow gets too slushy. So we camped at the trailhead and got up at 4am to climb. Here's what we saw:

That's Mount Adams. The weather was beautiful. We climbed up the south side to the crater rim. The snow was deep but it was not too hard, not too soft. We had great views the whole way up. Here what that looked like:
Grant seriously kicked my butt, especially near the top when I was running out of energy. There was just one steep part and it wasn't too bad. When we reached the top it was REALLY windy. Grant's hat blew out of his pocket and into the crater. We could see Mount Rainier, Adams, Hood, Jeffereson, and even a bit of the Three Sisters in central Oregon. Here's a little video for you:

That's when the fun began. The beauty of climbing on open snow is you can slide down on your butt. It was like a 4,000ft tall sledding hill. Thus it took us six hours up and two hours down. We were back at the car by noon. Even though it wasn't my original intention, climbing this on snow was a lot of fun.


Missy said...

Wow, that looks like a really fun and incredible experience! Maybe one day I will be in good enough shape to climb a mountain.

Roberts Family said...

That is so awesome that you love doing this kind of stuff! When i finish this years get in shape goal I will definatly have to try. You make it look so fun!