Climbing Permits

2019 climbing permits will be available February 1st.

Changes are being made to the permit purchasing system in 2019. To stay up-to-date about these changes and more, please sign up for the Mount St. Helens Institute Climber's Newsletter HERE. Information will also be available on our website and our Facebook page.

Everyone must have a climbing permit to be above 4,800 feet elevation on Mount St. Helens. The permit system helps to protect the volcano’s physical and biological features and processes; reduces crowding and overuse; and provides climbers with information on climbing conditions, Leave No Trace principles, and safety.  The permit system has been in effect since 1987. 

  • Mount St. Helens climbing permits are administered by Mount St. Helens Institute (MSHI) through an online vendor. The MSHI online vendor is a secure website that accepts all major credit and debit cards. Climbers will be emailed a permit purchase confirmation receipt at the time of purchase.
  • Climbing permits are REQUIRED year round.
  • From November 1st to March 31st, permits are free, unlimited and available 24/7 through self-registration at the trailhead (usually Marble Mountain during this time of year).
  • From April 1 to October 31, climbing permits are limited to 500 per day (April 1st- May 14th) or 100 per day (May 15th-October 31st) and are available online for $22.00 by advance purchase only. Usually, permits go on sale starting February 1st (or first business day after) each year. Generally, it is unwise to wait until the day of your climb to purchase your permit. If there are unsold permits, they may be purchased online until 24-hours before the date of the climb.The total permit fee of $22 per person includes a service charge which helps support MSHI’s Mountain Stewards, Conservation Corps and other volunteer and youth education programs at Mount St. Helens. Climbing permits are not refundable. If climbing is suspended by the Forest Service, permit sales will also be suspended. 
  • Once you complete your permit purchase through the online vendor, all sales are final. Refunds are not possible. You cannot change climbing dates once your purchase is complete. Please plan accordingly before completing your purchase.

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.

WHO DO I CALL IF I AM HAVING PROBLEMS WITH MY TRANSACTION?

For all permit, climbing, or other related questions, contact the Mount St. Helens Institute at (360) 449-7883 or email climb@mshinstitute.org

WHO NEEDS A CLIMBING PERMIT AND WHEN?

If you are climbing between November 1st - March 31st, you must self register at either Climbers Bivouac or Marble Mountain Sno-Park’s climber registers. There is no fee for permits during this period.

If you are climbing between April 1st - October 31st, you must purchase your permit by clicking the “SEARCH NOW” button. Permits are $22.00. Permits are limited to 500/day from April 1st - May 14th, and 100/day from May 15th - October 31st. You are also required to self-register at either Climbers Bivouac or Marble Mountain Sno-Park’s climber registers.

A National Forest Recreation Pass (parking permits) is required to park at Climber’s Bivouac and is not provided with climbing permits at time of purchase. Climbers are required to display a valid National Forest Recreation Day Pass ($5/day) or National Forest Recreation Annual Pass ($30) on each car parked at Climber’s Bivouac. Day Passes are available for purchase at a self-service pay station at Climber’s Bivouac, at monument facilities, or online through Discover Your Northwest (http://www.discovernw.org/passes

Between November 1 and March 31 climbing passes are available by self-registration at no charge at the Climber’s register. A National Forest Recreation Day Pass is not required at Marble Mountain Sno-Park between April 1 to October 31. A Washington State Sno-Park permit is required from December 1 through March 31, permits may be purchased through Washington State Parks (http://parks.state.wa.us/130/Winter-Recreation). 

More questions about permits or climbing Mount St. Helens?

Check our FAQ page, email us at climb@mshinstitute.org or call us at 360-449-7883.