It was at this exact moment, 35 years ago, that the deadliest and most economically-destructive volcanic event in the history of the United States occurred just 60 miles from where I now live. Fifty-seven people were killed. 250 homes were wiped out. 47 bridges, 15 miles of railways and 185 miles of highway…gone. An earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale triggered an eruption and caused a massive debris avalanche that reduced the elevation of the mountain’s summit from 9,677 feet
Everybody thought I was joking when I said I was taking a business trip from Olympia to Vancouver to Yakima to Spokane to Wenatchee to Everett to Bellevue to Tacoma and back to Olympia in two days. The itinerary I had laid out with Google Maps said it was a cinch and I’m the guy who enjoys driving around this beautiful state we call home. Well, I proved to everyone that it was possible…but I may now be paying
I sincerely hope anyone reading this is inspired to climb a mountain of their own. I hope it’s one of the beloved mountains of Washington State, but any mountain that strikes a chord in your heart will suffice. It’s not just something other people talk about. You can do it too. Just make sure you have the right training, the right gear and the right attitude and you’d be surprised how high you can climb.
I was almost five years old when I rode on my father’s back during a hike on Mt. Rainier one sunny Saturday afternoon. During that walk, he paused for a moment while viewing the distant, lofty, snow-capped peak to the southwest, speculating aloud on the possibility of one of the 18 volcanoes in the Cascade Mountain Range ever erupting. It was May 17th, 1980, and the next morning the world would forever be deprived of the last view my
After deciding to climb Mt. Saint Helens in early 2012 and committing myself by actually purchasing the permits back in February, Dad and I had been training for the climb for months as the ascent date approached. It wasn’t until August finally arrived that we fully realized the gravity of the task we were about to undertake and upon reevaluation, found ourselves lacking in several training areas. When deciding to climb a mountain (and having never attempted anything like
It was early February of this year when I decided I was going to climb Washington State’s Mt. Saint Helens and peer into the mile-wide crater of the active volcano. As a native Washingtonian, summiting every snowcapped peak in the state had been on my bucket list for longer than I can remember. Years ago, I asked my father – another native Washingtonian with a love for the outdoors – to join me in climbing Mt. Rainier. At 63,
I’m reading (actually, listening to) a book called The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America by Timothy Egan. In it, Gifford Pinchot comments that Washington State’s Lake Chelan bears a striking resemblance to Italy’s Lago di Como (Lake Como). I thought that was interesting so I put together this little side-by-side comparison thanks to the technological marvel that is Google Maps. What do you think? Does Chelan look like Como?
These were my comments printed in the Vancouver Columbian for their 30-year anniversary special on the eruption of Mt. St. Helens. You can read them on the website here: http://www.columbian.com/news/2010/apr/14/lifelong-interest-started-boom/ I’ll be the first to admit that my memory as described below is slightly inaccurate, as I found out from my father after discussing this article with him, however it is still worth posting due to the special occasion. Enjoy! Lifelong interest started with a boom By Erich Ebel