I was in for a reality check and a rude welcome to the Land of the Free when I started trip preparations in early May. Much had to be done to guard against utter failure and I was already late! You see, these days a long list of red tape needs to be negotiate before you can climb volcanoes in Washington State. A Cascade Volcano Pass is required to climb above 4800' on Mt. St. Helens. This is a per person $15 fee based pass which is not refundable and nontransferable and is valid for 24 hours starting at midnight of the date of your climb. Each person needs to have the stub attached to their backpack and visible at all times while above the 4800' mark. From May 15th through October 31 there is also a daily quota of 100 climbing permits issued and a maximum party size of 12 climbers. Advanced reservation for up to 60 permits per day are available by mail and are accepted as early as February 1st. Armed with this information, I clicked frantically on the Internet and found out, to my initial horror, that all weekends, Fridays and Mondays were already booked solid through the entire season, but for the lucky exception of May 20th. I downloaded the reservation request form immediately and sent it that same evening to the listed US address. From that day forward, I verified daily that our date had not filled up in the meantime. Surprised to find a letter from the United States Government in my mailbox only a week later, not yet expecting a response, I wondered was I an al Qaeda suspect? No, I had received a positive confirmation of my reservation.
Several points to remember were listed: (1) There was no purchase of permits possible without providing the reservation number and all permits purchased for my... To see the full trip report you must login as a paid member. Use the Login Page. (message p3)
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