Well, we did it! Kathy and I climbed the South Rim of Mount Saint Helens. Since it was our first mountaineering experience, we did a guided climb run by the Mount Saint Helens Institute, who were incredibly friendly, supportive, and knowledgeable. They helped to make our climb a great experience. 

You never know quite what the weather will be on the mountain, and all week the forecast called for a 40% chance of rain, so my expectations were calibrated accordingly. But we lucked out with no rain at all, and a clear view into the crater at the top! North of the mountain the clouds were quite thick, and you couldn't see Spirit Lake or the Johnston Ridge Observatory. And by the time we were halfway down, a substantial layer of clouds obscured the top. So timing-wise, things were nearly ideal for us.

I have to say that Mount Defiance and Starvation Ridge were excellent training for this climb. It was challenging, but I was definitely ready for it. The only thing I wished for was a pair of sunglasses with side shielding to prevent wind from blowing sand and ash into my eyes. It was frequently very windy, and the grit got everywhere into my gear.

Overall this experience is one of my life's highlights since moving to the Pacific Northwest.
Mount Saint Helens South Rim Climb - July 19, 2014
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