Just Another Tour

“Superhappy Erik this is Poormansheli, do you copy?”

I didn’t expect the radios to work from the parking lot up to 5k feet but he copied, we toured and shit was rad. One day I’ll be a verbose blogger again, but today is not that day.

If this kind of view ever gets old to you it’s time to quit life

Can’t tell from this pic but it was WINDY on the summit right before winter moved in. Little funnel clouds were going up Monitor like it was a quarterpipe.

It was full on winter when we set up the tent. This is after the wind/snow had relented some. Perfectly level pitch.

2013/14 Nike tent booties

Waiting for my contact lens to melt out of it’s frozen saline tomb

Lap one and two, nothing crazy just volcanic pow bliss. We were the only two dudes riding on the whole fucking mountain.

I will carry this turn with me over the summer

Pow dance

Helens from Justin H on Vimeo.

Three takeaways from the trip:

1) The Mountain Hardwear Trango 2 tent is smaller than you think.
2) Big Agnes Insulated Q-Core is bomb
3) Getting old sucks

Maritime Goes Intermountain

Did a quick tour with the homey Erik from Superhappywax on Saturday.  Nothing crazy, just a get out and stretch the legs/start working off the Christmas cookies tour, plus this was Erik’s first time on a split so we just did some low angle volcano skipping.  Weather varied between beautiful bluebird and cold to fogged in and flat light (fortunately we had a few beers to help us wait that out).  Snow varied between bulletproof and wind scoured to little pockets of fluff.  The snow was that crazy dry ultra abrasive/shining like diamonds in the sun stuff, not your typical PNW conditions.  I think this is what the the Utahrado folks ride on the usual.  Only saw five others on the mountain all day.  Good times, good times.

Nothing like breaking in a pair of boots on a tour. Shout out to the homey drex from nwbroweather! Still owe ya

 

Erik adjusting to skiboarding

 

It was sorta blue early on

 

Who knows?

 

Alaska?

 

 

Nature’s topo map

 

Waiting out the flat light

 

St. Helens 30 years ago

It’s the 30 year anniversary of St. Helens and you’re about to get blasted by the media talking about it. St. Helens always had a bit of a personal touch to me, not just because we had to wear masks over our face when it was raining ash, but because my dad was on the mountain for weeks after running S&R. When he’d come back home his clothes just smelled of something, death and sulphur maybe? He and his crew were some of the first people on the mountain post-eruption, and he took a ton of pics (that I thought I had scanned) but sadly the only one on this computer is the one below.

St. Helens S&R

Found this video below from a KOMO reporter, kind of nuts.

And yeah, permits for the mountain were full for today, and if you’re looking for a weekend permit you’re hosed til September 19th. You can always try going at midnight to avoid the permit situation.

TR: Mt. St. Helens at midnight

After a 100 degree day, a half dozen and change Rainier and a pitcher or two of Bridgeport IPA the suggestion was floated to start our hike at midnight or so instead of 4 AM so that we’d miss most of the following day’s heat. Genius suggestion, undoubtedly, though I didn’t account for my buzz and inability to function well on a Tuesday when I last slept on a Sunday, and I thought I’d be laughed at for throwing it out there. I was right, I was laughed at, but then they came around, we finished dinner, had a few more cans of Yakima Valley hops refreshment named after another Cascades volcano, packed up and headed to Climbers Bivouac.

Not a lot of photos in this TR as my camera bag harness is in storage and I only have an ultrawide angle lens at the place I’m currently staying, but here are a few in case you’re considering the trip yourself.

Climbing permit

Climbing permit

Headlamps and stars lit the route. Had hopes of spotting a sasquatch, but had to settle for satellites orbiting and shooting stars every couple of seconds. Squatch-free, but still not a bad way to spend a sleepless night.

The Milky Way

The stars are projectors

Rest stop number 1. We figured when we got about halfway up we’d take 30 minutes to drink some water, have a quick snack, and get 10 minutes of shut eye. I popped off the boots, climbed into my Phantom 32 bag (lovin’ this bag so far just based on the pack space it DOESN’T take up) and actually got a few minutes of sleep before a shooting star was so bright that it actually woke me up.

Rest stop

Rest stop

At around 3 or so the night went from pitch black to subtly lit from the east. This view of Adams and the distant light was with us for awhile. Would have loved to have had my good lens to take a few shots of this and blow one up for the wall.

Mt. Adams is watching you

Mt. Adams is watching you

Rest stop #2. Everyone still giddy with anticipation, lack of sleep and exertion yet to kick in

Rest stop #2

Rest stop #2

Mt. Adams again, an hour or so later. There wasn’t much you could see to take pictures of, so I just took a lot of Adams.

Mt. Adams again

Mt. Adams again

This picture had potential with a different lens as there was just one lonely star left above some random, unnamed peak

Oh look, Mt. Adams!

Oh look, Mt. Adams!

By now the sun was starting to rise and St. Helens was kicking off a shadow.

Mt. St. Helens shadow

Mt. St. Helens shadow

Two of our five dropped out about 1000 vertical feet from the summit. Lack of conditioning and false expectations of the hike’s exertion had taken it’s toll, and the ashy/pummicey last mile or so drove home the final nail. This is the other two that stayed with me reaching the post-1980 summit

Reaching the summit

Reaching the summit

Rainier, Adams and St. Helens fangs

Decent view

Decent view

Looking into the gaping mouth of St. Helens

Looking into St. Helens

Looking into St. Helens

The strangest thing about being on top of St. Helens was that there was no sulfur smell. Every so often on the hike up you’d catch a subtle sniff on a breeze, so I expected the top to be a full-frontal sulfur assault on my nasal passages. No dice. There were little rockfalls going off all around the inside of the crater, which was cool as you really got a feel for how St. Helens is an active living, breathing volcano. Right about the time this picture was taken looking into the St. Helens sarlacc pit there was a loud crazy rumbling/loud boiling/generally ‘shit is about to hit the fan’ sound coming from inside the mountain that you could feel. We all looked at each other with a ‘what should we do’ look.

“Should we run?”
“Fuck it, if we stay here at least we can watch the rocks get spit out and try to dodge ’em.”

The sound went on for a bit, and finally way down in the crater below we saw some MASSIVE boulders make a run across a snowfield and come to rest. The sound was just the rock avalanche, thankfully, but I admit there was a moment where I pondered the irony of my dad running medevac on St. Helens back in the day and his son getting snuffed out on the same mountain 30 years later.

Good hike overall, but mostly just to tick off the box next to St. Helens. I don’t think I’d do the hike again in the summer as it’s kind of boring overall. My hiking preferences tend to be spots that end at a cool mountain lake for swimming and fishing, this hike is pretty much hiking and scrambling over a barren landscape. I would DEFINITELY do St. Helens in the winter though.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there, especially those taking an active role in their child’s life to install a sense of personal responsibility (rare these days) , respect for others, and especially a respect, love and appreciation of the outdoors and the planet on which we live. If the current generation of kids aren’t taught to see past the excess consumption and wastefulness that is shown so often to their demo by way of MTV and other influential media sources there won’t be too many more generations on this spinning ball of soil and water.

Dad (far left), hours after St. Helens erupted, running evac/S&R

Dad (far left), hours after St. Helens erupted, running evac/S&R