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January 7, 2021 update
Sunrise: 7:49 am
Sunset: 4:45 pm
The road to Climber's Bivouac is CLOSED. Climbers should depart from Marble Mountain Sno-Park (winter route), which requires a Washington Sno-Park Pass after December 1. The roads will not be plowed until December 1.
Permits are required year-round. After November 1 permits are free, unlimited, and self-issue at the trailhead. Climbers must sign in to the climber's register at the kiosk at the trailhead as their "self-isssue" permit.
There is dispersed camping and pit toilets available at the trailheads, but no running water, and bathroom services may be limited so please bring your own toilet paper, soap, water, or hand sanitizer. Please plan accordingly.
Please climb with your quarantine household, and maintain at least 6 feet of space between yourself and other hikers. Please review our Mount St. Helens and COVID-19 page to learn about open trailheads and sites, expected services, and how to recreate responsibly. Please bring a mask to put on when you pass others on the trail.
The road to Marble Mountain and parking lot are free of snow, but wet and may have some icy patches. A Washington State Sno-Park Pass, purchased in advance, is required to park at Marble Mountain after December 1. Climbers are required to utilize blue bags to pack out all human or pet waste, including toilet paper.
First mile of the trail is patchy on trail until 3500' with continuous snow after that. Snow is packed and frozen hard up with 1/2 inch of granular snow on top up to tree line. At tree line snow becomes deeper and post holing becomes a major issue without snowshoes. High up, snow is crusted with ice and crampons are required, climbers in microspikes or skis and skins will have difficulty on the icy sections. Above 7600' route is covered in thick snow with storm slab avalanches possible on all aspects above treeline. Be aware of your avalanche-prone surroundings. NWAC states "Blowing snow, fresh cornices, and drifts all point towards wind-loaded areas. When you see any of these observations, steer around steep slopes downwind of the clue." High avalanche danger in the near forecast.
A cornice is forming along the summit rim - PLEASE STAY BACK 8-10 feet- to avoid cornice collapse, and there is no safe view into the crater. The true summit is 1/4 mi west of where the route tops out. Do not just follow the "fall-line" on your descent ("fall line" is if you were to roll a ball down the hill, it would travel with gravity and that would take you off-route). Route finding may be challenging in dense cloud or fog; be sure to know the route and carry navigation equipment. Because of icy conditions, glissading is not possible at this time, and skiing is very challenging.
Mountaineering boots with gaiters, crampons, snowshoes, and ice axes are recommended. Skiers and split-boarders should have ski crampons to ascend. With more snow accumulation, backcountry travel becomes increasingly risky and avalanche-prone. Be prepared with avalanche knowledge and equipment, and do not assume other visitors have the same training.
Please check the forecast as conditions can change rapidly.
Latest updates and information can be found online: https://www.fs.usda.gov/giffordpinchot/
The Gifford Pinchot National Forest continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation and evaluate potential impacts. Please remember to review current recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and focus on protecting yourself, your family, and your community.
This conditions report is provided in conjunction with the US Forest Service, and is intended for personal and recreational purposes only. Safe backcountry travel requires preparation and planning, and this information may be used for planning purposes but does not provide all the information necessary for backcountry travel. Advanced mountaineering education is strongly encouraged for winter climbing.
The user acknowledges that it is impossible to accurately predict natural events in every instance, and the accuracy or reliability of the information provided here is not guaranteed in any way. This report describes general conditions and local variations will always occur. This report expires 24 hours after the posted time unless noted otherwise.
See the U.S. Forest Service Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument website for more information.
FIRE: Incident Information System has the most up to date info on all fires (prescribed or wild) around the country, or Northwest Interagency Coordination Center. Visit Washington Smoke Information and AirNow for the latest in Air Quality and forecasting.
WEATHER: Weather.gov point forecasts- Marble Mountain SnoPark (2,700ft) and mid-slope (6,200ft). Mountain-Forecast.com provides forecasts at three different elevations: summit 8,328ft, mid-slope 6,500ft and just above the trailhead 3,200ft.
AVALANCHE: Visit the Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center for the most up-to-date avalanche forecast information during winter months.