CLIMBING MOUNT SAINT HELENS

The first time I heard of Mount Saint Helens was when I was 10 years old. It had just erupted and my family and I were getting ready to move to Seattle from Detroit, Michigan. It was both excited and frightened. The wild west coast was something with mountain ranges and oceans and erupting volcanoes. Twenty years later I was living in Portland when I first climbed Mount Saint Helens. My friend Jim and I drove to Cougar, Washington, and went to the local bar and grill where they held a lottery for permits to climb the mountain. Nowadays you can go online a purchase the permit; ahh technology. We won the lottery, got our climbing permits, and slept the night in his Jeep, which sucked because Jim neglected to tell me snores a water buffalo. Now I don’t know if water buffalos snore, but I imagine that if they did they would sound like Jim. The next morning we headed out on the trail with spirits high. The hike was about 5 miles and gained 4,500 feet. The trail wove through the woods until we got to a huge field of boulders. Hopping from boulder to boulder for awhile it finally thinned out. Next came the pumice and ash. It was slow going. You would take one step and slide back half a step. It was overcast and snowing. We kept going for what seemed like an eternity. Suddenly we pushed through the clouds and it was bluebird sky. It was a gorgeous day on top of the mountain. We could see Jefferson, Hood, Rainier, and Adams poking out over a sea of clouds. We sat for awhile soaking in the view and headed down. Looking back it was one of the best days of my life. I highly recommend it.

Andrew and Dan ascending.

Recently I was talking to two guys from the shop, Andrew and Dan, who climbed Mount Saint Helens back in June. Both moved to Portland a few years ago from New York state. They didn’t know each other, but weirdly attended the same college. Andrew has been snowboarding since he was 8 years old. He loves pizza. His favorite topping; just cheese. He’s a purist. Dan has been skiing since he was 5 and snowboarding since he was 13. His favorite food; chicken wings. Favorite sauce; the time-honored Hot Buffalo. Another purist. Pizza and wings. Classic New York.

Andrew on the ascent.

They camped overnight and hit the trail at 4:00 am. They took the Worm Flows Route which is almost 11 miles and ascends nearly 5,700 feet. Andrew was using his Arbor Coda Splitboard with Burton Hitchhiker bindings. Dan was skiing on Rossignol Soul 7 HD Skis and Marker F12 Tour EPF Bindings. Dan actually hiked up in his Rossignol Alltrack Pro 120 ski boots. They both had Dakine Heli Pro 24L Backpacks loaded with water, snacks, shovels, avalanche probes and Pieps tranceivers. The ascent took them about 6 hours. They were on the summit by noon. It was perfect weather. Blue sky all around. They hung out awhile drinking it all in and then came the fun part. The descent.

Dan at the summit.

Andrew contemplating his descent.

They took their time enjoying the ride down. It took them about and hour and a half to cover about a 4000 ft. descent. For both of them it was their first real big mountain. They both said they had the time of their lives. Cheers Gentlemen.

Dan and Andrew at the summit.

US Outdoor: Registered Burton Spare Parts Dealer

US Outdoor Burton Spare Parts DealerIn case you didn’t know, US Outdoor is a registered Burton spare parts dealer. Yes sir, we have spare parts for your snowboard bindings and boots. If you have a missing screw, washer, strap, ratchet etc. we can get you back on the hill without having to play a warranty waiting game; all thanks to this man, Mr. Sparious Particus, a Greek born handyman and newest member of the US Outdoor family.

Sparious Particus enjoys replacing the nicks and knacks that make up your bindings and boots. As a boy growing up on the shores of Santorini, Sparious found himself repairing beached boats from spare parts that had washed ashore. Inspired by his own design, he grew fond of Frankenstein and became an advocate of spare parts developed by Burton. After years of mixing and matching key components, Sparious set sail for the United States of America on a vessel he built from scratch.

Though he was not well versed in sailing, Sparious safely navigated the nautical abyss that he had spent so many days staring into. He made his way through the mouth of the mighty Columbia River and on down the Willamette until he reached port in Portland, Oregon. He had never felt so alone, but panic was not an option. Sparious had a plan and on he went, down Burnside until he reached Broadway. A quick stop into Mary’s Club (which was not at all what he thought it was) and Sparious found himself at the doors of US Outdoor. And so the story goes. After completing the necessary paperwork, hi-fives and so on, Sparious was welcomed into the family. The rest is history.

Oh yeah, US Outdoor also has spare parts from brands like K2, Ride, Salomon, Union, Sparks R&D, Nike, Boa Lacing and Forum.