Spokane man in iconic Mount St. Helens photo recreates it 40 years later

Man With Broom Recreates Photo From Mt St Helens

SPOKANE, Wash.– It’s been 40 years since Mount St. Helens sent ash spewing statewide. As so many powerful images resurface from that time in history, one man is recreating his.

Christopher Pedersen was a 19-year-old living in Spokane when the Washington volcano blew, killing 57 people.

Original Mt St Helens Skater Pic

“All I could see was this black line and pitch black behind it and it was just coming at us,” Pedersen said.

Within hours, inches of ash covered Spokane. A journalist for the Spokesman Review was driving by when he spotted Pedersen in quite the getup. He was wearing shorts and skates as he swept the block near Post and Indiana.

“I was just sweeping up the ash so I could clear the sidewalk and a reporter from the Review went by, slammed on his breaks, jumped out and said, can I take your picture?” Pedersen said.

That photo has become iconic. Countless people saw it when it was first published in 1980 and the paper has republished it in the years since. But, few people know exactly who the man in the mask and roller skates is.

“Everybody sees it and everybody goes, that was you?” Pedersen said. “I say, ya, that was me.”

It was easier to see the resemblance Monday when Pedersen returned to that same block in shorts and skates. His family stood nearby as he posed for the photo. He even brought a small jar of ash from the day Mount St. Helens blew.

“That was the the disaster I thought I’d see of my lifetime,” Pedersen said.

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