LONGVIEW — Sunday was the mother of all climbing days at Mount St. Helens.
A record number of permits — 971 — were sold to climb the Southwest Washington volcano that day. In honor of Mother’s Day, many of the climbers wore skirts or dresses.
“The big draw with Mother’s Day is that everyone wears dresses, both men and women. It’s a fun thing,” said Luke Wakefield, media education coordinator for the Amboy-based Mount St. Helens Institute.
In addition to the nearly 1,000 permits sold for Sunday, another 468 were sold for Saturday climbing, making for a potential two-day total of nearly 1,500 climbers. He said no one knows how many permit-holders actually showed up or reached the summit of the 8,363-foot peak. But reports from the field indicated a crowded climb, and parking near the climbing trailhead and Marble Mountain Snowpark “was crazy,” Wakefield said.
No injuries were reported, he said.
Wakefield said one woman reported on Facebook that she spread her mother’s ashes on the mountain on Sunday. Some men climbed with their daughters.
Mother’s Day is usually the last weekend of the spring without restrictions on the number of climbers. After May 15, the number of climbers is capped at 100 day until late summer.
Climbing the volcano is a lot easier than it used to be. Before the eruption on May 18, 1980, decapitated it, the mountain rose to 9,677 feet. This year’s climbers were aided by the abatement of what had been a severe avalanche hazard in April and almost ideal weekend weather.
Mount St. Helens is one of the most climbed peaks in the world.
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