- Climbing Grade: Grade II – Gentle to moderate snow in early spring, lava and cinder hike and rock scramble later in the season
- Trip Distance: 9.4 miles/15.7 km (1 day)
- Trip Elevation: 4,600ft/ 1,402 m
- Season: April through October (Monday-Friday only); November – March (Any day)
- Custom Dates Available: Give us a call or send us an email to schedule a trip.
- Cost:$ *Price includes guides, transportation, climbing permits, climbing equipment, meals and tents.
- Client to Guide Ratio: 5:1
- About the Climb: Monitor Ridge is the most popular route on Mount St. Helens. The route was named for the USGS monitors that assess the mountains volcanic activity. Soaring views from the mountain include significant peaks of the Cascade Range like Adams and Rainer, down towards beautiful Spirit Lake, and on clear days can even stretch to the Pacific. This route is largely considered a snow climb in early season and a rigorous hike and rock scramble late in the year.
- Skill Level: While it is not necessary to have previous mountaineering experience, this climb does travel over steep and varied terrain. Depending on the season the route can be a mixture of snow, pumice, and/or talus. Prior physical conditioning will allow you to better focus on learning new skills while enjoying the adventure. Previous hiking and camping experience is recommended.
- Learning Objectives: Our goal at Rare Earth Adventures is to assist participants in gaining the technical skills and knowledge necessary for alpine climbing and mountaineering.
- Ascending fixed lines
- Belay techniques
- Hazard identification
- Ice axe use for self-belay and self-arrest
- Roped glacier travel
- Route selection
- Running belays
- Weather assessment
Day 1: Drive to Cougar, Washington. After checking in and picking up our permits, we’ll drive to the Climbers’ Bivouac at 3,800 ft/1,159 m, and head up the Ptarmigan Trail for about two miles/3.3km. At about 4,700 ft/1,433 m we reach the base of Monitor Ridge and begin our climb toward the 8,365 ft/2,550 m crater rim. The view from the rim is fantastic as we look down 2,000 ft/610 m towards the steaming crater floor.
At the rim we will have lunch and depending on conditions take in the wonderful views that stretch in all directions. Early season climbs offer opportunities to glissade down a significant portion of the ridge. Returning to the Climbers’ Bivouac, we can change clothes, have a refreshing cool drink and enjoy a last look at the mountain before we return to Portland. Climbing Mount St. Helens is an experience of a lifetime.
**Rare Earth Adventures will make every attempt to follow the trip itinerary. However, this itinerary is subject to change due to group dynamics, unsafe weather and/or route conditions, or other reasons beyond our control.