SUMMIT RIM CLIMBS

Climb to the top of one the Northwest's most iconic volcanoes alongside expert guides.

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Difficulty rating
Program Policies
Suggested Equipment List

2019 program dates will be available online in November. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or join our mailing list by emailing info@mshinstitute.org to get the latest updates!


2018 SESSIONS

GUIDED SUMMIT RIM CLIMB

Difficulty: Strenuous, but non-technical

Length: 10-12 miles round-trip

Elevation gain: 4,500 ft-6,500 ft

Duration: Approximately 8-11 hours, depending on the group and the weather conditions.

Permits: Fee includes a climbing permit but not a parking permit.  Learn more about parking at Climbers Bivouac here

This classic climb to the rim of Mount St. Helens offers an amazing opportunity to reach the top of the Pacific Northwest’s most spectacular volcanoes and learn about the area’s natural and cultural history in the comfort of a guided group. Designed for first time climbers or those wishing to learn from our experienced and knowledgeable mountain guides, the Summit Rim Climb provides an unforgettable adventure to those bold enough to climb an active Cascade Volcano!

* Please note, "early" vs "late" season climbs are dictated by the snow and road closures leading up the Climber's Bivouac, the typical summer climbing route. We are unable to accurately predict when snow levels will grant access to this trailhead in advance.

Early Season Climbs: Starting at the trailhead from Marble Mountain Sno-Park in the early morning, we will hike for 2 miles through dense forest.  We'll follow wooden signposts guiding the way until we cross Swift creek and hope to catch a glimpse of Chocolate Falls (elevation 3,700'), a 40-foot waterfall along the cliffs. As we head into a barren landscape of mudflows and rock, we will 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, and marks our next push to the summit. Be prepared for hiking through snow, rock, and ash as we crest the summit rim for incredible views of the other nearby Cascade volcanoes. The typical round trip takes approximately 8-11 hours (6:30am-5:30pm), depending on the group and the weather conditions. This climb is 12 miles with 6,500 ft of elevation gain.

Late Season Climbs: Early in the morning, we will start our day at Climber’s Bivouac trailhead. After departing Climber’s Bivouac (3,700’), we will follow the Ptarmigan Trail (216A) to Kiwi Camp (4,800’). Once at Kiwi Camp, we ascend above tree line and begin following Monitor Ridge up to the rim (8,300’). The majority of the elevation gain (3,500’) is in the last 3 miles where the climb is most strenuous. Ascending rock fields, scrambling over boulders, hiking through scree and ash, as well as snow travel (depending on time of year) are all components of the climb. Descending through the volcanic terrain can be equally as trying. The typical round trip takes approximately 8-11 hours (6:30am-5:30pm), depending on the group and the weather conditions. This climb is 10 miles with 4,500 ft of elevation gain.

PREVIOUS DATES:
 
June 23
June 30
July 1
July 8
July 14
July 15
July 22
July 28
July 29
August 4
August 5
August 11
August 12
August 18
August 19
August 26
September 1
September 2
September 8
September 9
September 15

SUMMIT RIM CLIMB WITH A GEOLOGIST

Difficulty: Strenuous, but non-technical

Length: 10 miles round-trip

Elevation gain: 4,500 ft

Duration: Approximately 8-11 hours, depending on the group and the weather conditions.

Permits: Fee includes a climbing permit but not a parking permit.  Learn more about parking at Climbers Bivouac here

Led by a trained geologist, you will delve into the fascinating and complex geology of Mount St. Helens as you climb to the rim one of the Pacific Northwest’s most spectacular volcanoes in the comfort of a guided group. Your adventure will start on Friday evening as you sit around the campfire and learn about the eruptive history of Mount St. Helens. The next day, the geologist will explain all facets of the geology of Mount St. Helens and answer questions while ascending Monitor Ridge to the rim. This is a perfect opportunity for anyone interested in geology and volcanoes! This climb follows the summer climbing route leaving from Climber's Bivouac.

 

PREVIOUS DATES:

July 6-7
July 20-21
August 24-25