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Monitor Ridge Climbing Route

Very Difficult
 4.0 (2)

This is a summertime out-and-back route to Mount St. Helens' crater rim. Permit required.


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Map Key

2.5

Miles

4.0

KM

41%

Runnable

8,278' 2,523 m

High

4,719' 1,438 m

Low

3,580' 1,091 m

Up

21' 6 m

Down

28%

Avg Grade (15°)

78%

Max Grade (38°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Views

All runners must have a permit above Loowit #216: Ptarmigan - June Lake.

Description

This is the primary running route for accessing the South Rim of Mount St. Helens. To do this run you must have a permit, and those run out fast. We started this run at 1:00am and completed it in 4 hours – yes it's that tough. So, what do you get for this hard work? An absolutely amazing view of the crater, dome, and surrounding area. I hear on a clear day you can see Rainier, Adams, Hood, and Portland as well.

In the first 2(ish) miles, you'll steadily gain about 1000 ft through a lovely pine forest. The next 2(ish) miles are tough going, navigating a boulder field while climbing another 2500 ft.

The last mile(ish) is best described as a slog up another 1000 ft on loose dirt, ash, and pumice.

Coming up at night and down in the relatively cool early morning, you'll easily burn through two quarts of water, and wish for a third. Any summer ascent up here should be made with a gallon per person, and from how fast it got warm at 8am, it must be roasting by afternoon.

Be realistic about your fitness – even at a slow pace, this is an extremely challenging run.

Other than heaps of water, I recommend leather or garden gloves to save your hands through the boulder field, as these volcanic boulders can be very sharp! Hiking poles looked like they were helpful, though I didn't have any.

Gaiters are a necessity on this route to prevent volcanic debris from entering your shoes and shredding your feet.

Warm gear is a must for hanging out at the top if you arrive pre-sunrise and need to wait a bit; no matter what time of year, the wind up here is always cold...

Contacts

Shared By:

Chris Flashhard

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 2 votes

#11508

Overall
  4.0 from 2 votes
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Trail Rankings

#550

in Washington

#11,508

Overall
3 Views Last Month
1,779 Since Aug 15, 2017
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Photos

Rainier (left) and Adams (right) from the top of the St. Helens Caldera.
Dec 13, 2017 near Morton, WA
Summit of Mt St Helens, Washington
Jul 30, 2017 near Morton, WA
Crater of Mt. St. Helen's with Rainier in the distance
Jan 10, 2021 near Morton, WA
Lava Dome with steam vent in lower right center.
Jul 10, 2020 near Morton, WA
Summit of Mt St Helens
Jul 30, 2017 near Morton, WA
Looking north. On a clear day Mt. Rainier
Aug 8, 2017 near Morton, WA

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