Mount St. Helens is the most amazing place I've ever been. Beauty, power... magic. It is one of those places that resets your perspective.
This is what the Lava Dome looked like in the mid-1990s. It has grown a LOT since. Looking down into the caldera and seeing how much the mountain blew into the sky is hard to wrap one's mind around. The mountain is still very much alive - the near constant rock slides make that very clear. Looking eastward as far as the eye can see the landscape still wears the evidence of that fateful day May 18, 1980.
Standing on the rim. Before the morning of May 18, 1980 the mountain was 1,000 feet higher than where I am standing in this picture (circa 1995)
The climb there is not very difficult. Near the top the landscape becomes very abrasive, moon-like almost. Large pieces of pumice are surprisingly light and erode beneath boot treads.
Sadly, a climber fell to his death earlier this week from very near this spot.