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Mt St Helens - Worm Flows

WA Cascades West Slopes South (Mt Rainier)
Posted by bean on 4/3/22 12:01pm

Answering the most FAQs:

  • You can ski from summit all the way to the parking lot still. Thinking this will last until mid-end of April somewhere?
  • On the way up you'll have to carry skis one or two times over rock. 
  • Skiing conditions:
    • Top had icy chicken heads with pockets of wind deposited snow on top of hardpack wind scoured snow. 
    • Middle was corn.
    • Bottom was mashed potatoes.
  • There's a storm coming in Sun-Mon so these conditions might change, but the road to the parking lot was completely snow free.

How were the crowds?

Not bad at all. Plenty of parking available in the TH lot around 9p the night before and pretty quiet throughout. Crowds were thinner probably due to a bad weather forecast for Saturday.

Morning crowd was basically all skiers willing to brave light rain/snow/clouds. Never had back-to-back traffic. In fact it was probably the most quiet/lonely approach through the trees I've ever had lol. 

Afternoon crowd going up was more like a conga line of hikers but still not as dense pre-permit time. Could see a line going up the false summit though. 

I came last March and it was a madhouse. This was nothing like that.

Had the whole worm flows to myself with my friend Jesse years ago on my birthday in January 2015, really nice corn conditions. Hard to motivate to go back and deal with the crowds....

I went up last year on March 31st, which was the last weekend before permits were required. I estimated there were 800 people on the mountain that day. Cars were parked almost 2 miles down the road from the lot. That many people makes the outing a "happening" rather than a ski tour. 

What continues to surprise me is the ratio of skiers to hikers on the volcanoes. Not too many years ago skiers were a rarity (we used to be the cool kids). Now skiers are more than half. 

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2022-04-03 19:01:11