top of page

Essential when climbing or recreating on the mountain


If you already climb and hike, you already know about the basic Ten Essentials. Never leave the trailhead without them! Below is a list of Mount St. Helens Climbing Essentials. The best thing to do is know your limits and practice good judgement. All climbers are recommended to carry:


  • Climbing Helmet or Hard Hat – Protect your head in the event of volcanic ballistics or rock fall.

  • Dust Mask (N95 type) – Cover your mouth and nose in the event of ashfall or blowing dust. Dust Masks (N95 type) should be available from any large hardware store.

  • Goggles or Sunglasses with Side Shields, Sunscreen – The Sun reflecting off of snow and ash is intense. Avoid contact lenses, as blowing ash and dust can be a problem. And don’t forget a hat.

  • Climbing Boots – Sturdy, comfortable hiking boots and gaiters to keep out snow and ash.

  • Map, Compass, Route Markers – Use them to know where you are and where you are going. Be sure to tell someone at home of your plans.

  • First Aid Kit – You may need to come to your own rescue, or help someone else. Be prepared!

  • Knife – Handy for all kinds of purposes, especially the type with extra tools.

  • Extra Food and Water – Bring at least two quarts of water per person. No water is available at Climbers Bivouac or on the climbing route. Carry plenty of food to snack on all day. Reduce packaging to eliminate trash.

  • Extra Clothing – A beautiful sunny morning can turn into a cold rainy afternoon. Plan ahead! Layered clothing including full rain gear, gloves and hat. Layering allows you to adjust your clothing to different exertion levels and weather.

  • Emergency signal device

  • Emergency Shelter – Yes, you planned to be out on one very long day. Be prepared just in case that longer day turns into something much longer.

  • Flashlight, extra batteries, and bulb – A necessity when the day is short and the trail is long.

  • Be sure to tell a friend or relative where you are going and check in with them you return. Having someone that will notify authorities if you don’t return can help get you the assistance you need when you need it most.



Reminder: Do Not Rely On Your Cell Phone In A Climbing Emergency! Climbers are cautioned not to substitute a cell phone for adequate preparedness, such as carrying the Ten Essentials, and signing in and out at the Climber’s Register before and after your climb.

bottom of page