Permits to be sold for climbing St. Helens

Permits for climbing Mount St. Helens for the 2011 climbing season go on sale beginning 9 a.m. Tuesday. The permits can be purchased through the Mount St. Helens Institute's website at mshinstitute.org.

About 10,000 people climb the volcano each year. The cost this year is $22 per person – $15 fee and $7 service charge – and are required for climbing above 4,800 feet on the volcano between April 1 and Oct. 31.

Once purchased, permits are available for pickup at Lone Fir Resort in Cougar. The resort also is the location of the climbers register. All climbers must sign in and sign out at the register before and after their climb.

Since 1987, the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monuments has required climbers to have permits year-round. They are free to an unlimited number of people planning their climb from November through March.

From April 1 until May 14, an unlimited number of climbers can attain permits for the $22 fee.

From May 15 until Oct. 31, there is a limit of 100 permits a day to help manage impact on the mountain’s natural regeneration.

During this time, permits are available for advance purchase only, on a first-come, first-served basis, until the daily limit is reached. Weekends and summer dates fill up first but midweek dates are often available. Climbers can purchase available permits online up to 24 hours before the day of the climb.

The permits are good for 24 hours starting at midnight for the date of climb and are nontransferable.

The revenue from the permits helps the monument and the Gifford Pinchot National Forest staff balance the protection of natural resources with visitor safety while enjoying the most active volcano in the lower 48 states, said a news release from the monument.

Details about climbing Mount St. Helens are available online at www.fs.fed. us/gpnf/recreation/mount -st-helens/permit-system. shtml.