Stunning view of Mount Rainier and Spirit Lake from the summit
Photo by Andy Goodwin 10/9

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October 20, 2019 update

Sunrise: 7:35 am

Sunset: 6:12 pm

The road to Climber's Bivouac is OPEN, though the road condition is deteriorating with many pot-holes. Climbers may choose to climb out of Climber's Bivouac (summer route) or Marble Mountain Sno-Park (winter route). A NW Forest Pass or American the Beautiful Pass is required to park at Climber's Bivouac. Day passes available for $5 cash at the trailhead. A WA sno-park pass is needed at Marble Mountain starting November 1. There are pit toilets available at both trailheads, but no running water. Please plan accordingly. Advanced-purchase climbing permits are required (found at until October 30, and climbers will need to register in the log book at the climber's kiosk at the trailhead before climbing.

The road to Climber's Bivouac is in deteriorating condition, though there is washboarding throughout and many pot-holes. Carry chains and a shovel in case of snow, and please drive slowly for the 4 miles of unpaved road up to the Bivouac to reduce the washboard effect that is caused by driving at higher speeds. Please carpool with your fellow climbers and follow all posted parking regulations to minimize cars and trailers at the trailhead. Woodland Park & Ride and the Cougar Rest Area are both excellent places to meet and carpool from.

The first two miles through the trees has little to no snow on the trail up to Last Chance Bathroom (4,700'). Last Chance Bathroom is closed for repairs, and may not open for the remainder of the season. PLEASE BRING AND UTILIZE BLUE BAGS. Pack out all waste. There is 6 inches of snow around treeline, and 12 inches at the beginning of the boulder section, which may be slick and icy, with a serious risk of post-holing.. Above that, there are snow drifts up to 1-2 feet with an icy crust. Snow covers all of the boulders above 5,000', and can be icy. The use of crampons, ice axe, and gaiters are recommended. Microspikes may prove insufficient in the steeper or icier sections. Extra time and caution are necessary.

There is a large crack on the summit rim where the route tops out. This crack indicates an imminent landslide that can occur at any time. Please stay back ~5-10 ft from the crack! On the descent, take caution- it is easy to descend away from the climbing route. Do not just follow the "fall-line" on your descent. Route finding may be challenging in dense cloud or fog; be sure to know the route and carry navigation equipment.

Please check the forecast as conditions can change rapidly.

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. Visit Washington Smoke Information and AirNow for the latest in Air Quality and forecasting. 

WEATHER: point forecasts- Marble Mountain SnoPark (2,700ft) and mid-slope (6,200ft) 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.

SNOWPACK: Visit these SNOTEL sites for recent snow pack readings on the south side of Mount St. Helens- June Lake (3,400ft) and Swift Creek (4,400ft).


Have a more recent report? We would love to hear from you! Email your conditions update to, photos welcome.