I approached Mount Saint Helens from the north (it is the side of the mountain which blew out). I was SO BUMMED to find out that both the Windy Ridge overlook and another popular viewing point are temporarily closed (inaccessible due to current road conditions). When I get back to Durham I need to find the pictures I took here years ago. I thought I’d come across them when I started going through and getting rid of stuff in anticipation of moving (which I have decided not to do for the time being).
The mountain erupted May 18, 1980, directly killing 57 people. The blast created a shock wave which was estimated to have reached 680 degrees Fahrenheit and had a ground speed of 200 mph. A local lodge owner’s body was found under hundreds of feet of rock, ash and debris. One photographer’s body was found shielding his camera, so the pictures he had taken were retrievable. Another photographer, Gary Rosenquist, took the, now famous, sequence photos of the eruption that morning. He was spared because the topography deflected the blast, though not by much, from where he was taking pictures.
The mountain’s peak was at 9,677 feet elevation before the eruption. The current elevation is 8,366 feet.
What appears to be smoke on the outside of the rim is actually a cloud. Some of the smoke inside the rim may be from the mountain itself. Mount Saint Helens is still considered an active stratovolcano.