I had been planning of climbing St. Helens in April and even had a permit reserved, but then saw the glorious weather forecasted for Saturday and decided to pull the trigger and go.
I drove down from Tacoma the night before and slept in a motel near Kalama. I arrived at the Marble Mountain snow park at 5:30 AM to find it completely full and had to park about a quarter mile down the road.
After singing in the log and getting my permit I was on the route at 5:50AM following a few skiers. The weather and snow were perfect and I didn't need a wind jacket over my fleece. I had my snow shoes on my back but never used them. I started out in microspikes.
After Chocolate Falls the true climbing began, and Mt. Hood was out. Here many parties began to crampon up, myself included. The first part of the climb is moderate but the mountain just looms in front of you, and you know you have a lot of work ahead.
There were two steeper sections where I was glad to have crampons on:
But the views were worth it:
The Glissading down was AMAZING and it took less than half the time to get down as to summit, though I did detour father than I wanted down the Monitor Ridge, leading to a somewhat spicy side hill traverse to get back to an arrestable slope. I put my micrsopikes back on near chocolate falls where it was no longer possible to get good plunge steps or glissades in.
The only negative part of the day was getting back to the Snow Park and into the narrow trail in the trees and having to let what seemed like a million skiers pass me and have to post hole each time to get out of the way. Took me just under 9 hours car to car, including breaks and equipment changes.
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