Mount Saint Helens, Washington 2009

Steven Dutch, Professor Emeritus, Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin - Green Bay

My fourth trip to see Mount Saint Helens (the others were in 1980, 1994 and 2003). The webcam at the visitor center showed it totally socked in so I opted to go out to the coast instead.
Above: this bridge, the farthest downstream, was the only Toutle River bridge to survive in 1980. Below: Reworked lahar deposits.
On the next try (number five) the webcam showed possibly clearing conditions, so I drove up to Johnston Ridge, to find it foggy.
Landslide deposits on the back side of Johnston Ridge. Note the dowstream slope.
Dikes and lava flows
Halfway back down the road, the sun broke through. I got this rare photo of a glory, or Specter of the Brocken, from the ground, the only time I have ever seen one. So that alone made the trip worthwhile.
And if that didn't, these scenes of clouds and mountains did.
So I decided to take another shot at the mountain.
Sunset views from Johnston Visitor Center.
Mount Saint Helens comes into view.
And finally, at dusk, a full view.
Next morning was clear, so I skipped the meeting and headed up to the volcano. Here's the first clear view.
Lava flows and dike.
And finally, on my sixth try, a clear, close up view of Mount Saint Helens.
Johnston Ridge Visitor Center at right.
The landslide deposit.
Johnston Ridge Visitor Center
The ridge crest appears to have been sculpted as the landslide swept over it.
A tablet commemorates the victims of the 1980 blast.

Reid Turner Blackburn (photographer who captured images before being overwhelmed), James F. Fitzgerald, Jr., Harold (Butch) Kirkpatrick, Joyce M. Kirkpatrick, Edward Joseph Murphy, Eleanor Jeanne Murphy, Barbara Lea Seibold, Ronald Dale Seibold
Wallace Norwood Bowers, Joel K. Coleen, Ronald Lee Conner, Terry A. Grall, Thomas G. Gadwa, Allen R. Handy, Paul Hiatt, David A. Johnston (the closest observer, who radioed news of the eruption before being hit. The ridge and visitor center are named for him), Robert E. Landsburg, Robert Lynds, Donald L. Parker, Jean Isabell Parker, Natalie Ali Parker, Donald James Selby, Evlanty V. Sharipoff, Leonty V. Skorohodoff
Clyde Andrew Crott, Jose A. Dias, Ellen Dill, William (Bill) Dill, Arlene H. Edwards, Jolene H. Edwards, Day Andrew Karr, Day Bradley Karr, Michael Murray Karr, Bob M. Kasewiter, Gerald O. Martin, Gerald Lloyd Moore, Keith A. Moore, Shirley (Sam) Moore, Richard A. Parker, William Paul Parker, Merlin James Pluard, Ruth Kathleen Pluard, Harry R. Truman (the lodge owner at the foot of the mountain who refused to leave), James S. Tute, Velvetia (Velvet) Tute, Karen Marie Varner
Bruce Edward Faddis, Christy Liann Killian, John G. Killian, Kevin Christopher Morris, Michelle Lea Morris, Fred D. Rollins, Margery Ellen Rollins, Paul I. Schmidt, Beverly C. Wetherald, Klaus Zimmerman

Panorama of the memorial and Mount Saint Helens.

The road to the visitor center.
This is one of the scarier trails around. It's narrow and the slopes are at the angle of repose. Meaning if you fall off, there's nothing between you and your repose.
Looking back along the trail.

Below: looking down. Staying on the trail is highly recommended.
Okay, this is officially scary.
Looking back along the trail.
  Below: a series panning from west to east.

The crater and lava dome
Closeup of the lava dome.
Steam blast craters in the landslide, caused when trapped steam exploded.
Below: various lava flow and mudflow deposits
Pumice clasts on the ground.
Below: Visit from a coyote.
Slight understatement. The steep not so much, the uncomfortable with heights part, very.
Once upon a time most streams in North America were drinkable. But Giardia got into the wild animal population and is now widespread.
Map of Mt. St. Helens and the blast zone.
Looking past the visitor center toward the lava dome.
The road is following the slope of a landslide that topped the ridge and came down the back side.
Landslide deposit in the lee of Johnston Ridge.
Below; Coldwater Lake.
Mount Adams peeping over Windy Ridge. Windy Ridge is the closest vehicle vantage point. It's five miles from Johnson Ridge by trail, three hours and a hundred miles by car. A tiny sliver of Spirit Lake is visible.

Below: Telephoto views of Mount Adams
Left and below: lahar deposits in the Toutle River valley.
The reason nobody can find Bigfoot is he's collecting royalties and staying in a suite at the Mark Hopkins in San Francisco. He can walk around in some places in S.F. and not draw a second glance.

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Created 22 June 2007, Last Update 08 June 2020