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Mount Saint Helens Summit via Ptarmigan Trail

HARD 63 reviews
#2 of 17 trails in

Mount Saint Helens Summit via Ptarmigan Trail is a 7.6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Stevenson, WA that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

7.6 miles 4307 feet Out & Back

backpacking

birding

hiking

ice climbing

nature trips

rock climbing

snowboarding

snowshoeing

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

snow

no dogs

A summit pass is required above the timberline, so get one and get your slog on! In the summer, a nice and tough hike. In the winter, a snowshoe/climb. All St. Helens trips start out at the Lone Fir Resort the night prior to hiking to pick up the permits. The weather forecast should be checked prior to climbing. It's best to start early morning at the climbers bivouc. The climb rises steadily as you go up in altitude. The wind and the altitude can affect many climbers but as with all physical activity being in shape to attempt this climb is a must. At the summit, you have amazing views as long as there are no clouds. glisading makes the trip much faster coming down as long as there is enough snow. Great trip overall. recommend climbing in spring or early summer right around the time that the Climbers Bivouc opens. Although strenuous, this non-technical climb is suitable for people in good physical condition who are comfortable scrambling on steep, rugged terrain. Most climbers complete the round trip in seven to twelve hours. While climbing to the crater rim is permitted, entry into the crater is strictly prohibited. Mount St. Helens is an active volcano in southwest Washington State and the central feature of the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. Mount St. Helens is a popular climb for both beginning and experienced mountaineers. Although people are able to climb Mount St. Helens year-round, late spring through early fall is the most popular season.


10 days ago

hiking

Attempted two times. First attempt we left too early in Spring. Lots of ice and snow on the rocks.
Only came close (less than 500') from summit. Altitude sickness prevented me from completing.
(Was living at 100' above sea level, Rancho Mirage, CA, at the time and could not acclimate to thin air)
Will return to finish after my great Rockies attempts! High star rating for the fact we were hiking on a volcano that erupted within 30 years of our attempt.


11 days ago

Incredible. Strenuous. Bring enough water and then bring some more.


16 days ago

hiking

Summit - unsuccessful. Overnight hike - grand success. We started from the lower parking area due to snow, so the first couple miles was just on the road. Toilets at the trailhead. Trail up to about 5000' was lovely. Very easy, sometimes a little difficult to spot the trail markers, but we never got lost. Overnighted at about 5200' (just above snow line at the time). One of our group wasn't feeling well in the morning, so we didn't make summit, but did get above snow line and got to use crampons. Fun, fun hike. Hiking pass is required if you go above 4800' and they are limited.


18 days ago

Epic.


1 month ago

hiking

Looks like my post from May didn't go through. amazing hike, even with poor visibility and weather. Be better prepared for glissading than I was! Elevation and snow towards the end were killer, tracking poles would have helped a ton.


1 month ago

hiking

Challenging, but not as hard as I anticipated- especially if you go when there still snow on the mountain and you can glissade part of the way down! Amazing views!


1 month ago

hiking

This was a climb! Going up and coming down! Boulders and pumice. Absolutely exhausting! I saw couple people tap out but a majority made it. There was low clouds at the beginning but half way through monitor ridge it broke through. Saw Mt. Hood, Adams and for a bit, Jefferson! The top was clouded over, but the crator open for minute after waiting 10min. don't know if I would do it again. It was rough. But I'm happy to cross it off my list!


1 month ago

hiking

Great. The weather was horrible on top for July, gale force winds and freezing temperatures.


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1 month ago

hiking

Amazing the clouds lifted in the crater as we summited. Spirit lake was beautiful.


1 month ago

hiking

absolutely amazing views!


2 months ago

geocaching


2 months ago

hiking

June 5, 2016. She was rough & tough. It is a scramble to the top as you are pretty much making your own path through the rocks. The snow is much easier that the loose lava dust and ash. This is the toughest hike I have been on and probably the most rewarding!


2 months ago

Lots of bouldering on the trail. We had a lot of fun. We took a group of 7th and 8th grade kids up the trail. Most of the group made it up but we had a few that didn't.


2 months ago

hiking

I bought a permit from someone on Craigslist for June 10, 2016. The night before weather forecast was heavy snow so I was going to cancel the trip but when I checked the weather in the morning it was clear so I headed off and after logging in the wet climbers log I headed off at around 11:30 AM. Right away 4 climbers were heading back with the bad news that they only got to the first sets of rocks where the visibility was so poor they turned back. They were from Seattle and had camped there the night before. I pressed on and made it past the GPS receiver station to about 7,200 feet when the weather went bad to worst. Wind gusting 25-30 knots and I could only see 10 feet ahead due to blowing snow. By this time I had four upper layers on to include down and Gortex shell. I had two lower layers and thick Gortex gloves. I was also the only human soul up there. The smarter ones stayed home or turned back earlier. I took the snow route and glissaded down using my hiking poles. I already regretted not bringing my ice ax and crampons at the start of the trail but using my poles to glissade made my regret worst. But I HAD A BLAST going down. MSH reminded me of Mt Fuji which I climbed eight times in a year during 2012/2013 seasons. They are volcanos so no surprise they are similar. I will be back again; hopefully next time the weather is better. The take away from me is be prepared and be prepare to abandon your climb so you can live to climb another day.


2 months ago

hiking

It was great. Made it to shoulder of the volcano


3 months ago

Fun


3 months ago

An extremely difficult hike, but the entire thing is scenic. Absolutely spectacular views all the way up. We left before sunrise, so it was an incredible thing to watch from the mountain. Layers are a must as well as gloves to keep yourself from tearing up your hands. The downside for me was that the very top is basically sand and it was incredibly hard on my knees on the way back down. I thought the hike back would be easier, but it definitely was not because of how hard it was on the knees. All in all, it's definitely worth tackling at least once in your lifetime.