Mount St. Helens climbing passes sold out for summer

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LONGVIEW (AP) — Mount St. Helens has become one of the most popular destinations for hikers in Washington state.

The Longview Daily News reports (http://bit.ly/MOSnUr) that every $22 permit to climb Mount St. Helens is sold out through mid-September. Reservations for peak summer hiking days began hitting the 100-people-per-day limit in early spring.

The Mount St. Helens Institute reports that so far 13,934 permits to ascend the volcano have been sold, more than the 13,851 permits issued for all of 2011.

Mount St. Helens Institute executive director Travis Southworth-Neumeyer says the mountain is being rediscovered after closures between 2004 and 2008 due to volcanic activity. It's also not as heavily traveled as other peaks in the state.

Before the closure in 2004, the mountain was attracting upward of 16,000 climbers a year.