Climbing Mt St Helens (Summer Route)

6/1/2013 Under Construction

 Permits: Permits are required to climb above 4,800ft from April 1st through October 31st. From May 15th to October 31st, the peak climbing seasons, there is a limit of 100 permits a day. This chart summarizes the details:

 April 1 - May 15thPermit Required  No limit to the number of permits issued
 May 15 - October 31Permit Required      Limited to 100 permits per day, permits sell out rapidly for weekends and holidays
 November 1 - March 31No Permit Required Not many people want to climb at this time of year

Permits can be purchased online through the Mt St Helens Institute. Advance sales start in February and rapidly sell out for weekends and holidays. Permits are currently $22 as of summer 2011.
 Conditions and weather: The best place to check for current conditions and the recommended route is the Mt St Helens Climbing Report; a summary of the reports can be found in the News section of this website.
 Maps and References:      Green Trails No 364S
 Camping: Mt St Helens is National Forest Land, you can camp anywhere; it's easy to find campsites. If you want developed camp sites, those will be tougher in peak season, and will cost money. This page has a list of developed campgrounds in the area.

Until this page is complete, I suggest this video of my summer climb in 2012; it includes a map of the route and useful information. Expect anywhere from a 3.5 - 7 hour ascent depending on your fitness level. Do not think you will get down quickly, the same lava rocks you struggled over on the way up are just as difficult on the way down. 

This picture shows the differences between the summer (in red) and winter (blue) routes. As you can see, the winter route is longer and includes additional elevation, but you don't have to do the rock-hopping in the winter so getting down is much faster.

The summer route starts at Climbers Bivouac and the winter route starts at the Marble Mountain Sno-Park, but they both converge at Monitor Ridge and end up at the same summit point.