Sunday, September 30, 2012

More Mount St. Helens Photos

View of Spirit Lake and Rainier
I still can't believe we were able to climb Mount St. Helens on such a beautiful day. The weather was perfect - it was warm but not hot, there was a breeze but it wasn't too windy, there was a lot of wildfire smoke, especially to the south, but that made the view of Rainier all the more special when we got to the top and were able to look north from the crater rim.

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)

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