Mt. St. Helens

July 12-13, 1975

Mt. St. Helens is always beautiful but this year we found the glaciers with giant crevasses and huge ice blocks all across her northern face making “just being there” inspirational. At Spirit Lake we picked up extra water for our dry camp in the upper parking lot. The campground was full, so we bivouacked just off the upper parking lot. We visited with the many other groups there and found that our 3:00 a.m. departure the next morning would put us in between all the other groups. There appeared to be about ten climbing parties in total. Our route (via Forsythe Glacier) was selected the night before. We left shortly after 3:00 a.m. and by daylight, around 4:30–5:00, we were midway up the Forsythe Glacier. The weather was calm although we did see some lightning flashing to the east. Temperature was moderate, which made for good solid footing. We approached it by going up the trail toward Dog’s Head and cutting across west to the first snow field. We found a solid ice bridge from there onto the glacier. We roped up on two ropes, put on crampons when we first hit the snow. With a zig-zag route around the many crevasses we reached the summit at 9:00 a.m. The weather had been threatening the evening before and some clouds still hung over the valley towards the northwest, but most of the mountains to the south and north were visible poking through the clouds. Our group was second on the summit, following close behind two young climbers from Portland. By this time the view from the summit had cleared and we could see forever. We had a leisurely visit, lunch and rest on the summit until leaving at 11:00 to return via Dog’s Head route, arriving in the parking lot at 1:00 p.m. Both cars were able to leave approximately 2:00 p.m., arriving back in Eugene with our new suntans about 6:00 p.m. We had a very compatible group, comprised of the following members and friends: Ellen Bascom, Tom Bascom, Derell Gottwald, Glenn Meares, Jack Nitzel, Brad Stevens, and leader Rex Stevens.

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