Mt. Saint Helens Skills and Climb COVID-19 UPDATE: AAI is open and operating with new policies and procedures for COVID-19. Click the following links to learn more about AAI's COVID-19 Operating Plans and cancellation policy. Note that AAI requires proof of full COVID-19 vaccination for all trips at least through September 30, 2022. Overview
Climbing Mount St. Helens is a very unique opportunity considering its historical 1980 eruption. The flanks of this Southern Cascade Volcano offer fantastic beginner level ascents while climbing past volcanic debris and lava tube. Mount Saint Helens is considered an ideal peak for those who would like a solid introduction to snow climbing and general mountaineering skills while enjoying stunning views of the surrounding country.
This introductory course will provide participants with a variety of camping, mountaineering, and snow climbing skills. Those who complete the course should be able to climb similar snow routes in the Cascades, the Sierra, the Rockies and the Wind River Ranges.
Mt. Saint Helens Skills and Climb Curriculum
Selection & use of personal equipment
Selection & use of ropes, knots, & harnesses
Selection & use of rock, snow, & ice anchors for belays & intermediate protection
Belaying techniques on snow
Principles of off trail travel & route finding
Use of an ice axe in a variety of positions
The concept & application of the self-belay
Leave No Trace travel, camping, & climbing
An introduction to alpine camping techniques
An introduction to alpine ecology
Map and compass: reading, intersection, & triangulation
Evaluation & prediction of mountain weather patterns
Introduction to alpine cooking
Mt. Saint Helens Skills and Climb Itinerary
On day one, we will meet at a hotel in Seattle early in the morning. After a thorough gear check we will make the drive down to the trailhead at Mt. St. Helens. From the parking lot we will make the approach hike up to our camp.
Once we have established camp, we will cook a delicious group dinner. Breakfasts and dinners on the mountain will be provided by AAI, but will be cooked together by the group.
On the second day of the program we will review snow skills, with a focus on the use of the ice axe and crampons. And though the route is not glaciated, we will also introduce basic roped snow climbing techniques.
On day three we will ascend Mount Saint Helens via the Monitor Ridge. The 8,365 foot summit is actually a corniced ridge that hangs high above an active caldera and lava dome. After we return to the car, we will make our way back to the hotel in Seattle.
Mt. Saint Helens Skills and Climb Details
Max. ratio - 5:1 (climber:guide)
Capacity - 10
Good physical fitness
Ability to carry a 45 - 55 lb backpack for multiple hours
Stamina to hike for over 8 hours (including breaks, and with lesser pack weight)
Ability to cook for yourself on a backpacking stove
Overnight backpacking experience
Permitting notes - Due to its status as a National Monument, there are a limited number of permits available to climb Mt. Saint Helens. Registrations for climbs must be received more than a month before you wish to climb in order to give us enough time to secure the permit. That being said, there is still a chance that there may not be availability on your desired dates. Weekends typically fill up faster than weekdays, so please keep this in mind when planning your trip.
Inclusions - Included in the course cost is group food (breakfasts and dinners while on the mountain) group technical climbing equipment (personal climbing equipment is available for rent at a nominal charge), transportation to the climbing areas from AAI headquarters, all permits and camping fees, and the guide fee.
Exclusions - Not included in the course cost is all personal clothing and climbing gear (including crampons, ice axe, harness, helmet, tent, etc), gratuities to guide, restaurant meals while on the course, snacks, lunches, or travel insurance.
*We run this program on a private basis, please call for more details.
Mt. Saint Helens Skills and Climb Related Courses
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Asia - China
Asia - Japan
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