Mount St. Helens: 10/10 Would Recommend to a Friend


Mount St. Helens, we WILL be at the top in Summer 2017!

My brother, myself, and a friend were able to secure permits to hike Mount St. Helens on one of the last few days available - Sunday, October 23. The week prior to our hike, we had been checking the weather reports intermittently, and what we saw was less than encouraging. Reports called for rain throughout the weekend, with winds and snow at high elevations on Sunday. Our plan? “Play it by ear,” camp at the climber’s bivouac Saturday night, and make a decision when we woke up Sunday morning. Thankfully by the time Saturday rolled around, the forecast had improved significantly. At this point, Saturday night and Sunday morning called for rain showers with highs near 50 at the base and 30 degrees near the summit. Definitely do-able! 

Photo: Matt Klemsz

Saturday night at 5pm, we arrived at the campground, set up camp, drank some local brews, cooked dinner and a few hours later headed to bed. The morning quickly rolled around and at 4am we were surprisingly awoken by an early-bird crew of enthusiastic hikers setting out to conquer the peak before 10am. Our alarms were set for 6:45am so you can best believe that everyone went back to sleep. 

As anticipated, we were slow moving in the morning and eventually hit the trail around 8:30am. Just a mere ten minutes into our hike, we had to strip off our outer waterproof shells due to overheating and excessive sweating. Now, comfortable and venting body heat efficiently, we motored on, reaching snow-line around 10am. 

Photo: Matt Klemsz

After stopping for a short snack and water break, we continued on. Visibility continued to fall, but the fog kept temperatures high. We passed several groups on our way up, ranging from casual hikers to a group with 30 pound bags, snowshoes, cramp-ons and ski goggles. 

Scrambling up geomorphic rock fields and over snow drifts, we quickly made our way to around 7,000 ft. At this point, we encountered a group on their way down, who warned us that visibility dropped significantly ahead and the snow turned to ice that “...isn't worth dying over.” Bravely, we chose to proceed with caution, knowing that if it conditions got too icy, we would turn back. 

Visibility dropped to around 20 feet and the wind picked up as we continued to climb. The tracks we had been following dwindled down to one or two cramp-on trails. Quite concerning as we had only had our boots and hiking poles.

Photo: Matt Klemsz

We kept climbing for several hundred vertical feet at which point the wind picked up and the fog in the air began to freeze. When we reached 8,000 ft. we decided to turn back, not wanting to risk sliding on our way back down.

The descent back down the mountain was easy going, skijoring and jogging at times. Within two hours we made it back to camp, stopping intermittently to have lunch and take pictures. Upon returning, we consulted the information stand and map, learning that we had been quite close to the top. Bummed? Absolutely not. Rather, we all agreed to return next summer and finish the hike we started. 

Mount St. Helens, we WILL be at the top in Summer 2017! 

Story by Hi-Tec guest blogger, Otto Stefan.

Published: October 28, 2016


Hi-Tec is committed to making rugged, durable footwear for outdoor trails and urban life, authentically inspired by everyday outdoor experience.

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph.

Climbing in 18-Degree Weather to Shoot the Sunrise

Vantage, Washington

One of the things that I love about photography is how the quality of light can make or break a photo. When shooting outdoors it is those early hours in the morning that I love the most.

0 Saves

6 Reasons Why You Should Use a Telephoto Lens for Landscape Photography

When most people start out taking landscape photos, they think they need to get a wide angle lens in order to capture the whole landscape. When I bought my first DSLR, I was one of those people.

0 Saves

Our Hike to Angels Landing: Dangerous? Maybe. Amazing? Definitely.

Angels Landing, Utah

Three weeks before my sister turned 24 she texted me to ask if I wanted to go on a trip for her birthday. She wasn’t sure where she wanted to go but she knew she wanted to be outdoors.

3 Saves