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Mount Saint Helens


Simon Boyd, Shawn Riley, and I took a crack at Mount Saint Helens on Saturday December 5. We made it up to about 7000 feet before being turned back by waning daylight and an incoming storm.

We started from Marble Mountain Sno-Park at 8:30 am, a rather leisurely start for this time of year. The weather was excellent nearly the whole day, sunny, calm, and hovering right around freezing. The trail was clear, and the snow surface extremely icy and solid. We had decided to leave the crampons behind, a decision which didn't work out very well; the poor footing slowed us down a lot, and ultimately we may have managed to summit if we had brought them. Starting an hour or two earlier would also have increased our odds of success.

Our turnaround time was 2pm, but we retreated about 1:45. Sunset would be 4:30, and it was evident that a projected incoming storm was forming. We wanted to get down to the treeline, where the navigation was easier, before dark. We had brought glissading tarps, and tried to glissade, but with that rough ice, it was uncomfortable and dangerous. It snowed on us lightly on the descent.

We reached the treeline as expected shortly before dusk, and hiked back to Marble Mountain.

Though we didn't manage to bag a peak, it was a very nice day on the mountain...

Fritz Capell

Santiam Alpine Club


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