July 16, 2004

7/16/04 Mount St Helens WA

After staying with relatives in Salem, I took the train up to Seattle to visit my friends, Ed and Sandi. I met Ed, or EWOS (his trailname) on the Appalachian Trail on our thruhikes in 1998. We traveled most of the AT together. Some of my most memorable moments were on the trail with Ed, even if they were also some of the most grueling. [laugh] Since moving to the Northwest, they have found a love for mountain climbing. The night I arrived, we went straight from the train station to a popular rock climbing area. Needless to say, bike shoes do not make very good bouldering shoes. [smile]

Two days later, after getting outfitted at REI with crampons, ice axe and boots, we headed off Mount St Helens. It was a bit chancy because we had to be up early to get one of the few permits given to climb. It turned out to be a beautiful day and a great hike up. More snow than I imagined in July. What views we had. And as a surprise, we glissaded down the snow as far as we could. Sort of like sledding but without the sled - you just slide down on your butt, using the ice axe as a break. Way too much fun!!!

Taking a rest break on the way up Mt St Helens

Up the snow, but don't slip

Looking down into the crater

Jim, Sandi & Ed on top of Mount St Helens

Ed & Joe take in the view with Sandi looking on

One of my best friends Ed

A rocky climb down

Note: Two months later, Mount St Helens was closed to all climbers because of eruption fears.

"The earthquake swarm that signaled the start of renewed eruptive activity in 2004 began on September 23, just eight days before the first small explosion on October 1 and eighteen days before lava extrusion began on October 11. For the first 2 days, the swarm resembled several others that had occurred beneath the volcano in preceding years."from USGS/Cascades Volcano Observatory

It is now open to climbers again.