Wednesday, October 10, 2007

In the Shadow of Mt St Helens

So we decided to climb Mt St Helens. Now I have already completed a trek of approximately 9 mi total distance which gained about 4300 ft in elevation. But this was task ominous any way you looked. Consider this: the summit stands at 8,363 ft above sea level. The path to it is about 5 mi which consists three parts: about 2 mi of trails through the forest, then about 1.5 mi of boulders and rocks and last but not the least remaining path largely covered with volcanic ash which is quite slippery. Then to add to the complications, on Sunday, when we decided to climb, the weather looked bad even by the Northwest standards. The day would start with freezing temperatures, high about 41 and 70% chances of rain along the day. But our platoon (squad really) was up for the task.

We stayed about 30 miles West of the Climbers Bivouac on Saturday night. Sunday early morning at about 6 AM, we set out for Jack's Restaurant, while it was still drizzling. The accident on I-5 North just across our hotel didn't do any good to our morals. The road was foggy and when we reached Jack's to collect our permits, we were not encouraged at all. See these faces, they surely don't look like happy faces, do they?

Or they do. Of course this was from previous night where we had a small impromptu party with BK burger meals and beer (I had water, as usual). I digress. Here's the photo while we prepare for the trek:

We had initially hoped that the rain might subside and we will be able to see the actual scenery around but no, it didn't. But we were able to spot few gems:

After about an hour and half, we reached this point beyond which the climbing permit is required.

I thought if we make past this board, I'd be able to justify to some extent the $22 spent on the permit :-) After a brief halt, we proceeded. But the wind and rain was too much for us. The snow on rocks had started thickening too. I will let few more photos do the talking now:

After about four hours of strenuous trek, we finally returned to the base. Look at us. Just look at us, drenched to our cores:

Now after some time we stopped at Yale Lake and I posed in my pajamas. (Refer to my previous photos for explanations)

* All photos courtesy my friend Paul (the one in red jacket).

Finally, the title is dedicated to the superb documentary called In the Shadow of the Moon. Inspiring stuff, go see it.

signing off,


Mahesh said...

निखिल, सही pics आहेत. मी Mt St. Helens ला मागच्या वर्षी गेलो होतो, पण ती ट्रीप फारच अभ्यासु type होती. म्हणजे, आम्ही view point पर्यंत गाडी घेऊन गेलो, ’view' बघीतला, त्याच आवारात असलेल्या त्यांच्या auditorium मध्ये एक (paid)informtaive film पाहुन परत आलो. त्यामुळे Mt St. Helens चं सुंदर असलेलं भव्य-दिव्यपण अनुभवता आलंच नाही. ह्या trek बद्दल google वर विशेष माहिती नाही मिळाली. तु मला जरा tips देशील काय? मी vancouver, WA मध्ये आहे. तुमच्या trip बद्द्ल वाचुन Mt St. Helens पुन्हा एकदा खरया अर्थाने explore करावसं वाटतय... :)

nku said...

Thanks Mahesh. Try this link for more information: