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Closing date announced at Mount St. Helens

Post by Craig Hill / The News Tribune on Oct. 24, 2008 at 11:14 am with No Comments »
October 24, 2008 11:14 am

Johnston Ridge Observatory, the closest observatory to Mount St. Helens, will close for the winter Nov. 9 according to the National Forest Service.

The observatory will reopen in mid-May if weather permits.

The visitor center at Silver Lake, five miles east of I-5 on Highway 504 will stay open for the winter according to a statement from the forest service.

Other viewpoints and trails on the northwest side of the volcano will be open and the Department of Transportation will maintain Highway 504 as far as Coldwater Lake. However, the forest service says visitors should prepare for winter driving conditions, which could include sudden road closures.

The winter climbing season start Nov. 1. Climbers are required to get permits at the Lone Fir Resort in Cougar on the south side of Mount St. Helens.

"It’s important that people come prepared with the 10-essentials including compass, map, extra warm clothing and rain gear," said Peter Frenzen, Monument Scientist, in a prepared statement. "When fog or blowing snow reduces visibility it’s good to have an experienced climber along to lead folks back to the trailhead.

“As wind and snow begin to rebuild the overhanging snow cornices on the crater rim it’s also important to carefully assess how close to go and where it’s safe to look into the crater.”

A climber fell into the crater last winter when a cornice collapsed.

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