|View of Spirit Lake and Rainier|
One thing I could not believe about this climb was that there were so many hikers who did not seem very prepared - people without backpacks or even water! Mount St. Helens is no easy day hike - it's a 4500-foot climb up steep boulder fields and exposed pumice slopes that takes anywhere from 7-12 hours. It stressed me out to see so many people who clearly weren't carrying basic supplies. On a long hike like that I always think it's safest to carry enough stuff that you could survive the night if you got lost or were injured (a warm jacket, extra food and water, and a basic first aid kit). It's easy to forget that if you got injured up on a mountain (with all the boulder climbing on this hike it wouldn't be too hard to sprain or break an ankle), it could be a long time before rescuers could get to you, let alone get you back to the trailhead (believe me, I'm married to a mountain rescue volunteer). This late in the season it's not a bad idea to also carry a headlamp since it gets dark so early. Mountain rescue groups spent a lot of time and energy "rescuing" people who simply ended up out after dark without flashlights. Alright, end of rant by the a rescue volunteer's spouse.
It really was an amazing day and quite the experience to stand on the rim of such a massive crater.
|Ryan climbing solo to the real summit (the rest of us just stayed on the lower rim)|