I ♥ Volcanoes!

Climber’s Trail up Mount Hood! Someday …

I’ve been itching to climb a mountain lately. I guess it’s been only a week since I hoofed it up Mary’s Peak, the highest point in the Oregon Coast Range, but what can I say, mountains are addicting.

The big mountain summer season is only just now beginning. Last year on 4th of July weekend I climbed my first big peak of the season, 13,330-foot Summit Peak, the highest point in Colorado’s San Juan Wilderness.

Mount Saint Helens, in the clouds

This year, I spent the 4th looking up at Mount Saint Helens. What a tease! I stopped by the ranger’s office on my way into Mount Saint Helens National Monument to see if I could get a last minute permit to climb the mountain. Silly me. I was informed that permits sold out in March.

Free campsite in Mount Saint Helens National Monument

View from my office on the 4th of July. I was writing about supervolcanoes! How appropriate…

To be fair, climbing in the Cascades really shouldn’t be spontaneous. These mountains are no joke. Two people have already been killed on Mount Hood this year and last week, a ranger fell to his death on Rainier while attempting to rescue a group of stranded climbers.

Mount Rainier! Notice the tracks switchbacking up the mountain. That’s the Emmons-Winthrop Glacier route, which gains more than 10,000 feet of elevation to reach the 14,411-foot summit.

One of these days, I fully plan on devoting a summer to climbing the big peaks in the Cascade Range: Mount Hood, Mount St. Helens, Mount Rainier, Mount Adams and Mount Baker. I’ve gone bigger than the Cascades – 18,900-foot Cayambe and 19,200-foot Cotopaxi in Ecuador – but not badder.

Me & Mount Baker! The summit is that hump peeking out over my right shoulder.

Yesterday, got a tantalizing taste of Cascade climbing: I made it part of the way up Mount Baker, via the Heliotrope Ridge approach. I turned around partway up the final snowfield. My legs and lungs felt good and I wanted to keep going up and up, but the slope was getting too steep to climb without an ice axe or a belay partner. One of these days!

Mount Baker Snowfield. I made myself turn around at this point. The slope was getting too steep to climb without an ice axe. Notice Dio almost at the top.

View from the snow field, looking north, towards Canada!

Ski mountaineers, going for the summit to ski down. Color me jealous.

Dio says, “Take me with you!”

I’m off to Canada!

Love mountains? Me too! Check out my previous posts Must Love Mountains, The Suffer FestMy Favorite Mountain, Deception Peak and the Collegiate Peaks.

About theblondecoyote

Mary Caperton Morton is a freelance science and travel writer with degrees in biology and geology and a master’s in science writing. A regular contributor to EARTH magazine, where her favorite beat is the Travels in Geology column, she has also written for the anthologies Best Women's Travel Writing 2010 and Best Travel Writing 2011. Mary is currently based in western Colorado. When she’s not at the computer she can usually be found outside -- hiking, skiing, climbing mountains and taking photographs. Visit her website at www.marycapertonmorton.com.
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15 Responses to I ♥ Volcanoes!

  1. ritaroberts says:

    What a fantastic experience,where do you get your energy from Mary? Absolutely love this post and such great pictures. Take care on your next journey. Your dogs are such good company for you and I bet they enjoy every minute.

  2. ritaroberts says:

    Reblogged this on Ritaroberts's Blog and commented:
    A Fantastic journey.

  3. evea192 says:

    I am speechless. There seem to be no end to your adventures.?

  4. Sarah says:

    I was at Mt. St. Helens today! There’s so much to see in that area. I hope to hike around Spirit Lake one day soon! I found your blog a few weeks ago and I’m loving it! You go to so many places I’ve been to and it’s nice to see another perspective on the area. My boyfriend and I keep a small travel blog at heyimoverhere.com.

    Your desert posts have been making me jealous, but we’re heading out in two weeks for a road trip to Utah for Pioneer Day and we’re hitting 12 states on the way there and back to Seattle!

    Safe travels!


  5. What I would give to be in the snow right now! Looks like a great time 🙂

  6. Egon says:

    Some very good pictures for you next calendar

  7. Joni says:

    I’m ignorant about most of theses things, but why would there be a limit on how many people can climb a mountain? Tickets were “sold out”? I learn something new everyday.
    Take care,

    • Permits limit the number of people on the trail- crowds make difficult trails more dangerous for everybody, plus the park service can keep track of how many people are on the mountain and facilitate rescues if somebody doesn’t return when they’re supposed to.

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  9. That’s confirmed it…as we say in England “you’re a nutter!!”

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