COUGAR, Wash. -- A record 971 permits to climb Mount St. Helens were purchased for Mother's Day, according to the Mount St. Helens Institute.
Most of those climbers wore dresses, a tradition dating back several decades.
Climbers and ski mountaineers traditionally honor mom by hiking up Mt. St. Helens on Mother's Day weekend. It's the last weekend of 'winter' climbing conditions before the Forest Service daily limit of 100 permits goes into effect.
The sunny forecast drew record numbers of dress-wearing mountaineers to Marble Mountain snopark where climbers hit the trail at daybreak for the 12-mile round-trip trek, which took most from 7 to 10 hours.
Most hiked up and down but some packed skis or snowboards for the descent from the summit.
For climbers, the winter route on Mount St. Helens includes more total elevation gain than the standard South-side climbing route from Timberline to the summit of Mt. Hood, but is a less technical route and starts at a lower elevation.
The Mount St. Helens institute only tracks permits sold, not used, but confirmed that 971 was a record, easily surpassing the previous record of 667 permits sold on the Saturday of Mother's Day weekend last year.
From May 15th through October 31st, there is a limit of 100 permits per day to climb Mount St. Helens, and many summer weekends are already sold out. Permits for the 2014 season are on sale at the Mount St. Helens Institute website.
May 18 marks the 34th anniversary of the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens.