Mother's Day on Helens

05/11/14

Mother's Day on Helens

A trip report for Mount St. Helens Climb (Spring)
Posted by Newman733
Road Issues: Road is great
Trail Condition: Easy to navigate
Bugs: Not an issue
Snow Level: Starts at 5,000 ft

Mother's day on Helens is such a spectacle. I arrived at the cafe to pick up my climbing permit around 5:30pm the night before. The line was long but bearable. This is the last weekend they dont limit climbing permits to 100. The tradition of the Mother's Day climb is that everyone wears a dress during the climb. Gaining in popularity, over 1000 permits were sold for this weekend. Hence the reason I showed up the night before. Once you get your permit, you need to sign in to the log. NOTE: If you do this hike on moms day, make some sort of sign that you can quickly identify your section in the notebook. Luckily I wrote mine in thick magic marker and it narrowed it down to 25% of the entries. Back on the road for a few miles, I arrived at Marble Mountain snopark. To the right is an RV lot and to the left is the car lot w/ toilet. There are a lot of fun people around. I saw corn hole being played, music, and beer. If you are a light sleeper, I suggest ear plugs. All in all, it was pretty mellow. Some people were up at 3am to start the ascent. We opted for a 6:30 departure. The trail was dirt for about 2.5 miles, then the rest of my group skinned up on their skis and split boards. Microspikes worked well for the most part. I only post holed a few times (thank goodness for my fuzzy pink gaiters). If you can find a good kicked in boot path, snow shoes wont be necessary. The top was freezing cold. Going from 80 degrees to what felt like 30 with windchill was quite the shocker. Ate our sammiches, had a brew, and I switched into snowboard boots. We stayed "skiers left" on the way down to avoid the other skinners coming up. The snow was very inconsistent and grabby at times. BUT, I would rather board down that than hike it any day of the week. Got back to the parking lot and there were about 4 Police/rescue vehicles waiting to get a call. I think everyone was safe that weekend, which was surprising considering the hundreds of climbers. Packed up and headed back to the cafe to sign back in on the registry. Found my name in few minutes thanks to that marker. Hope to see everyone next year!
Photo Credit: Main picture by Leigh Noble

Lunch at the crater

On my way down. photo by Kristina Ciari