Outdoors

Want a coveted permit to climb Mount St. Helens? Here’s what you need to know

View from the summit of Mount St. Helens.
View from the summit of Mount St. Helens. sglenn@thenewstribune.com

Hoping to stand on top of Mount St. Helens this year? Permits to climb the volcano go on sale March 18.

Climbers need a permit April 1 through Oct. 31 and groups are limited to 12 people.

This year, permits cost $15 per person with a $6 permit fee and can be bought at Recreation.gov.

There are a few changes to the permit process for this season.

When reserving a permit, you must enter the names of all climbers in the group. Each climber is asked to carry identification on the climb.

You will be able to change the members of the climbing group or cancel permits up to 14 days before the date of the climb.

Rangers also will accept a downloaded permit rather than a paper copy.

“Climbing to the summit of Mount St. Helens is a unique way for people to experience and appreciate the beauty of this amazing landscape,” said Rebecca Hoffman, Mount St. Helens Monument ranger.

Last year, so many people tried to buy climbing permits on opening day that the system crashed.

About 11,000 people logged on to the site in an attempt to buy permits, which was more than three times as many as the 3,500 that tried on the opening day of sales in 2017.

When the institute started processing permit sales in 2012, about 12,000 climbing permits were issued. In 2017, the institute issued 20,000.

Mother’s Day weekend permits and summer weekends tend to sell the fastest.

Stacia Glenn covers crime and breaking news in Pierce County. She started with The News Tribune in 2010. Before that, she spent six years writing about crime in Southern California for another newspaper.


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