- Elevation: 4,665 feet
- Distance: 9.6 miles RT
- NWFP required at Bivouac.
Mary, Jordan, Aaron and I drove to the climbers bivouac for Mt St Helens on Friday after work. It was a lovely, clear evening and a pleasant morning. The northwest had been dry for months now, and warmer than usual so we were expecting relatively good climbing conditions. The hike set out how we expected.
The clouds rolled in shortly after we began the ascent in the scree. And they never let up until we were on our way back down again. This was Aaron and my third time climbing this mountain, and it was by far the worst conditions. I was contemplating turning back, I'm certain Jordan wanted to as well, but Mary and Aaron continued on without hesitation, so I followed in line. Normally, there would be views of Mt Adams and Mt Hood that would be motivating you to continue the ascent. This day, all we saw was white. At times, the visibility was less than 50 feet. The winds increased the higher we got and were relentless. They would howl for minutes without a break. It was very draining physically and mentally. But we climbed on.
When we reached the top, the clouds broke enough to see the lava dome and the rim of the caldera. We hung out there 20-30 minutes maximum and then headed back down.
We got back to camp and decided to spend the night again since it's free and we wanted to enjoy each other's company around the fire again. Despite the poor hiking conditions, it was a great time and challenged us as hikers mentally and physically.
I moved to the Pacific Northwest in August of 2012. I quickly identified myself as a hiker. I want to document my experiences so that I can refer to them for myself and others to provide the best hiking experience. I also hope to learn more about hiking from others comments and recommendations.