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by Prof. Steve Sieberson
After the 1980 cataclysm the ultimate measure of St. Helens’ reduced state was the fact that the Mountaineers summarily removed it from their roster of significant peaks in Washington. Many years earlier the Seattle club had designated it as one of Six Majors, along with Rainier, Adams, Baker, Olympus and Glacier Peak. The list was created to recognize the accomplishments of a serious climber, and completion of all six ascents was celebrated with the awarding of a Six Majors pin to wear on your Tyrolean hat.
Following the eruption the Mountaineers dropped St. Helens like a hot cinder – they now bestow a Five Majors award. The same thing happened recently to Pluto, which has been downgraded from Planet to Space Lump. If you were lucky enough to climb St. Helens before the spring of 1980, you are part of a vanishing breed. You can claim your Six Majors pin, but be aware that the icy winds of old age are beginning to penetrate your Gore Tex.
Why not see Mount St. Helens for yourself? You need not be a mountaineer to experience the drama and awe of America’s most famous volcano.
We recommend starting in Seattle, Washington, a perfect American destination for the European who wishes to experience something beyond New York and California. Home to Boeing, Microsoft and Amazon.com, Seattle offers a trendy and hip urban environment, and it is increasingly famous for outstanding restaurants and lively night clubs. At the same time, the city is surrounded by water and mountains, affording the visitor easy access to spectacular natural beauty.
Featured image/ Steve Lodefink, CC BY2.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Featured image/Steve Lodefink, CC BY2.0 via Wikimedia Commons
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