Preview: Mount St. Helens Summit Hike
by Intrepid Insider on 07/13/2012 - 12:19 pm
Tag: Intrepid Insider
In May of 1980, Mount St. Helens - a 9,677 ft. strato volcano - erupted, sending ash and debris up to 16 miles in to the atmosphere, with some of it traveling around the globe to other countries. Fifty-seven people were killed and hundreds of homes were destroyed by the debris as it flowed through the area's rivers, flooding much of the surrounding land.
Mount St. Helens now stands at only 8,365 feet above sea level, but is still a very active volcano. Since it's eruption, the mountain has gained in popularity for hiking and climbing and in the summer months, 100 people are allowed to hike to the summit each day.
This Sunday, myself and a group of five other friends will be among that group of hikers. The hike is a long and grueling, but non-technical (no rope or ice climbing necessary) 5.5 miles, with over 6,000 feet of elevation gain. At this time of year, most of the climb will be done on snow, which is a better alternative to the soft, slippery ash encountered later in the summer which makes for a much more frustrating climb. Not to mention, the snow allows for a swift glissade (sliding on one's rear at speeds up to 20 mph) as a means for descent, which can only be nothing but fun as long as it's done safely.
I will have plenty of photos and video to share upon our return and will be sure to share them all. For more information on this hike, check out http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/seasonal-hikes/summer-destinations/mount-st.-helens-hikes