Climbing Permits

Want to climb with us? the Mount St. Helens Institute offers a limited number of guided climbs to the summit of Mount St. Helens each year. You can learn more and sign up by visiting this page.


At 8,328 feet high (as measured by USGS in 2009), Mount St. Helens offers climbers a breathtaking view from the crater rim. Although it is not a technical climb, it is strenuous and hazardous due to ice, large boulders, loose pumice, fast-changing weather and volcanism. Climbers should be in very good physical condition, well equipped, informed about volcanic hazards, and have plenty of water and food.

The Mount St. Helens Institute has partnered with the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument to help protect the volcano’s fragile features and to ensure climbers have a safe, low-impact experience on the volcano.

Before climbing Mount St. Helens, please read climbing rules, road and trail conditions, and other important information from the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.

Climbing permits are required year-round on Mount St. Helens. A Climbing Permit allows an individual or group (max size limit of 12) to be in or upon the area defined as the Mount St. Helens Closure Area #2 (PDF) during the 24 hour period designated by the permit.

 

Read more about climbing permit on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest Website. Contact the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument at (360) 449-7800 with questions. 

New in 2021

Starting at 7:00 am PST on March 1, 2021, all climbing permits for the month of April will be available for purchase through Recreation.gov. Additional permits will be made available on the first of each month for the subsequent month, throughout the permit quota season, ending October 31, 2021.

Purchasing a Permit

Climbing permits cost $15 per person per day. A $6 reservation fee is charged per transaction. The purchaser of the climbing permit may make a reservation for up to 12 total climbing group members. The permit purchaser must be included in the climbing group. The permit purchaser must provide the names of all group members at the time of purchase. While climbing group members can be adjusted after the purchase, all members in a climbing group must carry their ID that matches the list of climbers on the purchased permit. The purchaser of the climbing permit becomes the permit holder and must be present on the climb.

Permit purchasers are advised to visit Recreation.gov before March 1 to set up their account and expedite the permit purchasing process.

Quota Season

To reduce crowding and protect natural features, the number of climbers per day on Mount St. Helens is subject to a quota from April 1 to October 31. 

During the quota season, permits must be purchased online in advance. A permit may be printed up to 14 days before your reservation date. Once your permit has been printed, you cannot make changes. Outside the quota season, permits are free of charge and self-issued at the trailhead.

  • April 1 - May 14: 300 climbers/day. Must be purchased online in advance.
  • May 15 - October 31: 110 climbers/day. Must be purchased online in advance.
  • November 1 - March 31: Unlimited climbers. Permit is free and self-issue at the trailhead.

Cancellations/Change of Plans

The purchaser may make changes to the permit reservation up to 7 days before the climb date. No changes may be made within 7 days of the climb date.

 

These changes are being implemented on a trial basis and to provide additional safeguards during the COVID-19 pandemic. Future operational plans will be assessed following the 2021 climbing season.