Worm Flows | Winter Climbing Route
Length: 12 miles, round-trip
Elevation Gain: 5,563 ft
Trailhead: Marble Mountain Sno-Park
Parking: Sno-Park passes required between December 1 - March 31, must be purchased in-person at a retailer. Not available online nor at the trailhead.
Permits: Climbing permits required, by advance purchase only, between April 1 - November 30.
Camping: Dispersed camping is allowed on a first-come, first-served basis
Start at the trailhead from Marble Mountain Sno-Park (elevation 2800'). About 2 miles in, leave the forest and pass views of Chocolate Falls (elevation 3700'), a 40-foot waterfall along Swift Creek, heading into a barren landscape of mudflows and rock, where wooden signpost guide climbers from timberline to approximately 4,800 ft elevation. Continue to snake up the jumbled lava flow ridge up to the seismic station. The seismic station (elevation 6,200') is below the snow field that leads up to the crater rim.
The route crests the crater's crescent-shaped rim, on a clear day revealing dramatic views of Spirit Lake and Mount Rainier. Head west along the rim to the true summit, a 1/4 mile away at 8,363 feet. Savor more sweet views before turning around for the return trip, hugging Worm Flow Ridge and retracing your route, back to the trailhead.
Monitor Ridge | Summer Climbing Route
Length: 10 miles, round-trip
Elevation Gain: 4,598 ft
Trailhead: Climber's Bivouac
Parking: Northwest Forest Pass required, day passes may be purchased at the trail head
Permits: Climbing permits required, by advance purchase only, between April 1 - October 31
Camping: Camping in designated areas is allowed on a first-come, first-served basis
Start at the Climbers' Bivouac trailhead (elevation 3700') and follow Ptarmigan Trail (216A) for 2.1 miles, where the route meets the junction of the Loowit Trail. The vault toilet here is out of commission for the season. As the route steepens, remain in the trees for the next half mile before breaking out into the open (elevation 4800'). Save your energy- the majority of the elevation gain is in the last 3 miles to the summit rim. Wooden pole markers usher climbers along the blocky boulders of Monitor Ridge for another 2500 ft of elevation gain. You will pass Monitor Peak (elevation 5994' to the east of the route). A GPS station will appear at 7000', revealing a snake of boulders up the ridge. The final stretch is affectionately called the "Vertical Beach" and is akin to hiking a sand dune to the summit rim.
The route crests the crater's crescent-shaped rim, on a clear day revealing dramatic views of Spirit Lake and Mount Rainier. Head west along the rim to the true summit, a 1/4 mile away at 8,363 feet. Savor the horizon on a clear day and descend on the route you came, following the wooden pole markers back to the trailhead.