Mount St. Helens is a popular climb for both beginning and experienced mountaineers. Though Mount St. Helens is accessible to climbing year-round, late spring through early fall is the most popular season. Most climbers use the Monitor Ridge Route from Climbers Bivouac. This route gains 4,500 feet in five miles to the crater rim at 8,328 feet elevation. Although strenuous, this non-technical climb is suitable for experienced hikers in good physical condition who are comfortable scrambling on steep, rugged terrain. Most climbers complete the round trip in eight to twelve hours. While climbing to the crater rim is permitted, entry into the crater is strictly prohibited.
Climbing an active volcano has associated risks. These include, but are not limited to; volcanic activity, weather hazards, avalanches, terrain traps, equipment failure, and human error. Before heading into the backcountry for any reason or any length of time, make sure to take the precautions necessary to ensure a safe return.
Climbing Permits are required for climbs between April 1 - October 31. Permits are sold through recreation.gov in March.
Who needs a permit and when? What parking pass do I need? How do I change my climbing permit? Are dogs allowed? Can I fly a drone? Get answers to these questions and more by visiting our FAQ page!
Wind, snow, rain, or sun - Mount St. Helens experiences all kinds of conditions and can vary widely week to week, find out the latest on the climbing route by visiting our Current Conditions page.
Familiarize yourself with the winter route, Worm Flows, out of Marble Mountain Sno-Park and the summer route, Monitor Ridge, out of Climber's Bivouac before you head out on your climb.
See our curated list of clothing and equipment recommended by MSHI guides, volunteers, and past participants.
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