Looking north, the lava dome, Spirit Lake and Mt. Rainier, September 2018. Images © Eric Wuehler

Mount Saint Helens

About ten years ago, a friend of mine — who is really into hiking — said “Let’s hike Mt. St. Helens.” Being naïve I said “Sure.” First up, I am not a “hiker” — I enjoy walking along trails to see nature — waterfalls, vistas, etc, but I don’t hike for the sake of hiking. If it isn’t too strenuous, technical, or long, count me in on your “hike”.

My first summit of Mt. St. Helens with my buddy Scott. So young. So naïve.

The guy on the right, we’ll call him “Scott” — because that’s actually his name — is a “hiker”. He’s climbed pretty much every mountain around here in the PacNW, run (not hiked, run) around Mt. Hood (and others), taken rescue training something-something-something on Mt. Rainier. Anyway, as you probably can tell from his gear vs my jeans and running shirt, he’s a hiking dude, I am not.

Yosemite — Summer 1987

The first year was fun(ish)— probably my first “real” hike since 1987 when I hiked Half Dome as a Boy Scout. (Side note: My dad had a shoulder-mount Panasonic VHS Recorder that we hauled on the backpacking trip. I stumbled across a copy of the video a few years back and edited down and posted to the internet, as was the thing to do at the time…)

I’m not sure how it happened, but every September, every year since, I have been back to hike Mt. St. Helens. Here are a number of pictures I have taken along the way. We didn’t make it up every year (weather got in the way a couple times), didn’t always get the greatest pictures (and some years I have no pictures at all), but it has been fun.

Lava Dome and Mt. Rainier 2010
Me, now pretending to be a hiker, with my nephew — coincidentally also named Scott. 2011.
The “Plate Boundary Observation Station” and a very tiny me. 2011.
Lava Dome. 2011.
2011
On the rim, 2012

After a couple years, we started getting more friends interested in going.

We were turned back due to weather for the first time in 2013— I don’t recall how far up the boulders we made it, but I remember a Forest Ranger coming down the mountain turning people away due to the weather at the top.

Lava dome, Spirit Lake, Rainier. 2014.
2014
People hiking up the final leg. The lava dome is behind me to my left. 2014.
Lots of snow in 2015
2015

Scott — always one for fun ideas — decided in 2015 that we should carry a rock to the top and then throw the rock into the crater. Something about putting all our worries and troubles into the rock and ridding ourselves of them. Very hippie of us.

Scott and I, 2015.
Mt. Adams, 2015
Failed attempt to summit in 2016

In 2016 we were turned around again, this time I remembered to get a picture. This is maybe a quarter mile into the boulders.

We didn’t get far, which was too bad. One of the guys had brought his 360 VR rig and we were going to have really cool VR images. But it was very wet.

Lava dome, Spirit Lake, Rainier and Adams, 2017.
Adams, 2017
I finally joined the “selfie movement”, but probably couple years too late… 2017.

2018

Selfie 2018. Rainier in the distance.
Boulders, looking toward south east I believe. 2018.
Panorama, 2018. Rainier in the distance.
EarthScope, 2018
The placard on the box… 2018
I did not disturb it… Just took a picture. 2018.
This little guy tried to join us for lunch, 2018.
Plant life high in the boulders. 2018.
The last of the boulders, 2018.
It is very steep at the end. 2018.
Not sure if this captures it, but that’s Adams in the distance and the slope is what we’re climbing. 2018.
Looking at the top, then panning toward Adams. 2018.
Not sure how you beat this view. 2018.
Heading back down through the trees. 2018.
Leaving, 2018.

Until next year, Mount Saint Helens…