Mount Shasta Climber's Log
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|leedog12||Route Climbed: Avalanche Gulch Date Climbed: June 9th and 10th, 2005|
|What a big, beautiful mountain! Went with a group from Shasta Mountain Guides. This was my 11th Cascade summit and my first guided climb. Turned out to be a very enjoyable and educational experience. I was a little skeptical about a bivy at Horse Camp and having such a long summit day, but the early alpine start seemed to work out well. As we were approaching Red Banks, the weather up high looked really sketchy. However, everything seemed to clear up nicely as we headed up Misery Hill. This proved to be a great climb and a long day (13 hour round trip). Adding to the enjoyment was the fact that this was a weekday climb. On the descent I could see all the weekend warriors heading up the route. Glad we were going the other way!!|
If you're from Oregon (or Washington) and looking for Cascade snow, look no further than Mt. Shasta. It still feels like winter/early spring up there.
|Posted Jun 15, 2005 9:17 am|
|cfirpo||Route Climbed: Avalanche Gulch Date Climbed: June 10, 2005|
|More challenging than expected but a great experience. |
We camped at Helen Lake the night before our summit attempt. Snow storm right at bedtime.
Left at 6:00 AM for the summit. Not many groups heading up. Cloudy around the Red Banks but great weather otherwise.
|Posted Jun 13, 2005 10:32 pm|
|pjc30943||Route Climbed: AG Date Climbed: June 11, 2005|
|Two-day ascent, camped at Lake Helen. |
Conditions: The snow was pretty nice after the recent snow and deep melt/freeze cycle. Snowshoes not needed here early in the day.
Many smaller avalanches visible, starting slightly below Lake Helen, all the way up to Red Banks.
Clear weather on summit night, the snow was great for crampons, all the way up to the summit, with a few exceptions (large unstable "hollow" ice slabs).
Beware of Red Banks. As usual, there was lots of debris; at 8am or so, lots of ice falling. I was hit in the knee with a small baseball-sized ice projectile, and boy did it hurt! Definitely take a helmet now (a few people didn't). Lots of ice from around 12k to the summit.
Mushy snow on descent.
Great, clear weather, a very fun trip! Despite another horrible case of AMS I still made it, albeit in an un-heroic fashion.
|Posted Jun 13, 2005 8:03 pm|
|Vladislav||Route Climbed: Green Butte Ridge - Avalanche Gulch variation Date Climbed: June 4, 2005|
|Elena and I started out from Bunny Flat trailhead at 5 AM (late). Headed up Green Butte Ridge to get our share of splendid views that opened up from there. Stayed on the ridge until slightly above Helen Lake, then crossed into Avalanche Gulch without losing elevation (this might not be possible or could be quite difficult in different weather or snow conditions). Elena descended from here by the standard route and I continued up (not a wise decision considering it was already past 1 PM). I got some relief from the scortching heat in the gulch only after I climbed through one of the chutes in the Red Banks. From here on the wind was steadily getting stronger. Clouds started forming. I reached the top of the Misery Hill in a whiteout. Flags really helped me to find my way in this section. I finally scrambled to the summit at 5:30 PM. Obviously, there was no one there at that time. Now the clouds were mostly below me, racing towards me from the west at 40 mph and breaking like ocean waves at the base of the summit block. Every now and then a part of the view would open up on one side or another only to disappear in a split second. It was as if pictures of other worlds were shown to me, flashed before my eyes, vanishing too quickly, before I could discern any particular features. The beauty of this magical display almost made me forget that I should go back. Alas, I could not linger.|
The way back turned out to be a lot harder than I expected. Snow in Avalanche Gulch had softened so much that it was impossible to glissade. Post-holing with every step from the Red Banks to Helen Lake required a lot of effort. One of the climbing rangers came up to me to make sure I was OK (they are doing a great job of spotting weary climbers). He told me that splitting up the group was not a good idea and that climbing on so late was a big mistake. I totally agreed with him at that point. He asked me whether I had enough food, water, and extra clothing and allowed me to go on. Below Lake Helen the snow was not as bad, I was still sinking with every step but not quite up to my thighs as before. When I reached the parking lot at 9:45 PM I was completely exhausted. Despite reaching the summit I did not quite feel like a conqueror of the Mountain. I felt humbled in a certain way. The Mountain was kind enough to let me go unscathed. I could have paid a lot more dearly for my case of summit fever. As it was, I just had to apologize to very worried Elena who had been waiting for me at Bunny Flat since 4 PM.
|Posted Jun 7, 2005 8:59 pm|
|Rinat Shagisultanov||Route Climbed: Casaval Ridge Date Climbed: May 28, 2005|
|Attempted to climb CR and decided to bail out after finding the bad snow conditions (temps above freezing during the night) and a short, but strong storm cell run through the area during the night May 27-28. Opted to get down from the base camp at 9800 ft. I shall come later in the season.|
|Posted Jun 6, 2005 2:01 pm|
|Brian Kalet||Route Climbed: Avalanche Gulch Date Climbed: June 4, 2005|
|Skied 100 feet from the summit. Trip Report|
|Posted Jun 6, 2005 12:24 pm|
|orandall||Route Climbed: avalanche gulch Date Climbed: June 3, 2005|
|Started at Bunny Flat at 1:30 AM, hit summit at 10:00 AM. weather nearly perfect. Got back to car at 2:45 PM after glissading from Red Banks to below Lake Helen.|
|Posted Jun 4, 2005 12:45 am|
|fat_squirrel||Route Climbed: Avalanche gulch Date Climbed: 5/30/2005|
|Despite the grim weather outlook reported by NOAA and the rangers, our team of five (Claudia H [snow_queen]., Paul B.[number_one], Sarah F.[the_regulator], Jim H.[mountain_dog] and myself [fat_squirrel]) decided to push for Lake Helen Camp on Sunday and hopefully attempt the summit Monday (5/30). We rose above cloud cover at ca. 10,000ft to find blue skies and low wind. Setting up camp was enjoyable, with firm snow that made for great shelter blocks. Eventually, the 30-40MPH winds picked up again shorly after sunset, but died down again sometime around 1:00AM. We departed camp at 3:30AM to find nice, firm conditions and great visibility. We crossed Red Banks via a ramp-like chute relatively close to Thumb Rock. Extreme cold and high wind met us as we topped out, making any long breaks unbearable. We breaked once again in front of Misery Hill, ascended it, and finally saw the summit block shorly before 7:30AM. We were the second group to reach the summit, heading back down shorly after 9:00AM. We were back at camp at around noon, only to find extremely warm temparatures that made for post-holing conditions most of the way down to Bunny Flat. This was perhaps the most challenging part of the climb.|
Overall, what a great experience. I would have not made it if it were not for the awesome team that I had a privilege to be a part of.
|Posted Jun 1, 2005 7:00 pm|
|soslaw||Route Climbed: Casaval/West Face Date Climbed: May 29, 2005|
|Climbed with Shauna and Jim via Casaval to 10.5K then traversed onto West Face. West Face snow was good for cramponing. Conditions deterioated with visibility limited to 15-20 feet as we approached base of Misery Hill. Decided to forego summit and descended via one of the Red Banks chutes as due to poor visibility we did not descend to Thumb rock to take the standard descent rte. Recent slides in the Red Banks had scoured the snow down to very firm condition. Required down climbing face in for the first couple hundred feet. A very long and brutal slog traverse of Avy Gulch due to deep soft snow to reach our high camp on Casaval at 9.8K. A lot of recent avalanche activity from the east side of Casaval into Avy Gulch.|
|Posted Jun 1, 2005 2:34 pm|
|ghoulwe2||Route Climbed: Avalanche Gulch Date Climbed: May 25, 2005|
|Left the comfort of our motorhome at Bunny Flat at 2:00 AM with a nice moon and perfect, clear weather. Our party of 3 (2 skiers and 1 snowboarder) carried instead of skinning The snow conditions are still softer than normal, but still firm enough at that hour for hiking. Anyone not skiing would be advise to take the dreaded snowshoe or risk hours of postholing on the descent - at least now while the temperatures are above normal. There was only 1 tent at Helen Lake when we passed at 6:00 AM. Several soft snow avalanches have run down into Avalanche Gulch from Casaval Ridge - stay to the right while in upper Avalanche Gulch and carry beacons, probes & shovels. Lots of cascading ice particles came down as the sun hit the Red Banks and we were all sorry we didn't have helmets. Summited at noon and had an epic ski descent on velvet corn snow all the way to the base. No wonder Shasta is known as the best ski mountain in North America. I've been skiing it since 1979 and this year finds the best conditions in memory. Glad I had new, fat skis! Passed many parties laboring up to Helen Lake in the tortuous heat - uggh.|
|Posted May 26, 2005 6:08 pm|
|joosts||Route Climbed: Clear Creek Date Climbed: May 22, 2005|
|Great conditions on the approach on Saturday. We camped above a rock notch on 3100 m. Wind started blowing very hard at 5 PM, and kept on all night. Therefor, we were not able to proceed the next morning at 4 AM as planned. We waited until 8, but the wind kept blowing and the summit had a big cloud around it. Decided to ski down and took off at 9. Snow was a bit too soft already for great skiing, but still OK. Lower on the mountain snow became vry slushy. Beautiful days, next time hopefully to the summit.|
|Posted May 23, 2005 6:38 pm|
|brusy||Route Climbed: Casaval Ridge Date Climbed: May 14 2005|
|Very hard summit day. A lot of snow, kicking steps. No crampons needed. Descent via Avalanche Gulch, very deep wet snow, no fun without snowshoes!! Especially the final slope back to camp on the ridge! Glad to make it before next days rain!!|
|Posted May 17, 2005 6:23 pm|
|Mike N||Route Climbed: Avalanche Gulch Date Climbed: June 15, 2004|
|Great climb. Beware of rockfall...start early before the crowds. Used Sierra Wilderness Seminar guide and it was great.|
|Posted May 14, 2005 1:08 pm|
|jdavies212||Route Climbed: Avalanche Gulch Date Climbed: 5 September 1980|
|I and a group of 3 climbers from Red Bluff, California did it in a long day. Camping the previous night at the then-abandoned ski lift base, we awoke at 4 a.m. for our one-day ascent/descent. My most vivid memories of Avalanche Gulch were dodging the seriously dangerous bowling-ball sized stones that came bounding down the gulch at us. Hindsight would have had us bring hard hats, but those were the foolish pioneer days. |
Several of us experienced some altitude sickness past 13,000 feet, which was further "enhanced" by the rotten-egg steam emitted from the fumeroles at the summit. A quick lunch, a few pictures, and a couple of unceremonial lunches-in-reverse later, we headed back down the mountain.
The last hour was done boulder-hopping in the darkness with our hearts in our throats. The last 2 hours of our descent were done in severe pain--the constant jarring of my big toe into the front of my boot tore the big toe nail off, and I had my "war wound" of the experience to brag about for the next 3 months.
First mountain scaled over 14,000 feet. A highlight of my climbing career up to that moment!
|Posted Apr 23, 2005 8:13 am|
|brusy||Route Climbed: Green Butte Date Climbed: July 3, 2004|
|Also tried Casaval Ridge this winter but the weather turned us down. Will try again in May..|
|Posted Apr 18, 2005 7:06 pm|
|soslaw||Route Climbed: Sargeants Ridge Date Climbed: April 25, 2003|
|Climbed with Andre. Upper section of Sargeants had poor snow and brittle alpine ice, but otherwise an enjoyable rte. One other climber encountered on rte. Shovel glissade from high camp at base of Sargeants down into Avy gulch. Quick trip down.|
|Posted Apr 18, 2005 1:45 pm|
|RModelli||Route Climbed: Casaval Ridge Date Climbed: march 2004|
|I was with another SPer from CA,.|
We started the climb around three and caught up with a couple of climbers on the way.
LAter that morning one of them fell and I helped with the rescue of the OK climber, they turned out ot be brothers. One of them didn't make it, and the other was OK.
I did not reach the summit, I had to climb down and take the guy to the city and climb up again to our camp.
Too tired and the mood was down.
|Posted Feb 24, 2005 8:09 am|
|puddlecruiser||Route Climbed: 12c Hotlum Glacier Date Climbed: Sept. 8, 2004|
|I departed North Gate shortly after 1 am with a full backpack for the solo trip. I ascended the lower flanks of the Bolam Glacier, and traversed over to the Hotlum Glacier in between the middle and upper crevace field. The bergschrund near the Hotlum Glacier headwall prevented access to the upper chute, route 11a, so I circumvented clockwise (east) around the exposed ridge and ascended up the next glacial chute, route 12c. The ice conditions were very challenging up on the chute, because it was completely solid, and every step required hard crampon kicks and ice axe swings to achieve a proper bite. The exposed rock of the ridge assisted in securing quality holds as I ascended the ice. As I neared the summit, I chose to move off the ice and climbed the exposed rock ledge instead. To return in similar ice conditions, a belay with ice screw anchors would be a welcome security in the steep upper chute. I set up an alpine camp at 13, 800 ft, near the summit approaches of route 10, near the sulphur springs, which weren’t as odiferous as they are on some other cascade peaks. I completed the decent the following day along route 10, the Hotlum-Bolum Ridge.|
|Posted Feb 21, 2005 5:40 pm|
|Carbo||Route Climbed: Avalanche Gulch, Casaval Ridge Date Climbed: several times|
|Climbed it first time with a camp at Helen Lake.|
Second time did it in one day from Bunny flat after driving from the Bay Area same day.
|Posted Feb 14, 2005 11:53 pm|
|RangerAJ||Route Climbed: Avalange Gulch Date Climbed: June 13th -15th 2003|
|This was my first attempt at climbimg a mountain just to climb it. I've summitted other peaks while hiking/ fishing |
Since I am a novice, I had experienced company along with me. Or was I with them? whatever. Our group of four consisted of one climber who has 6 of the 7 summits under his belt (Acancogua has eluded him 3 times due to weather), a Shasta specifically experienced climber (2 dozen or so successfull tries, nicknamed the "Shastafarian"), an Army 10th mountain climber and me the fisherman/outdoorsman/hiker. I figured I was in good company.
We car-pooled up from Sacramento on friday and geared up at the bunny flat trailhead. We then hiked to Horse camp to bivy for the night since we had started hiking at around 4:30 and wanted the rest before heading to camp#2 at Helen lake. The weather was beautifull and the forcast looked good. Upon our arrival at Horse camp I found that my ice axe had worked its way loose from my pack somewhere between our camp and the trailhead. (yes, rookie move I know) The Shastafarian offered to accompany me on my search, which I accepted since the sun had begun to set. We followed our tracks back to the trailhead where someone had left a note saying that they had found it and left a # to call and an e-mail address. I called and left a message and hung around awhile waiting for a return call that never came before hiking back to Horse camp in the dark. I didn't mind the extra hiking and enjoyed the view of the sunset.
(the climber who found my axe took it home for safe keeping TO NORTH CAROLINA! and returned it via mail..........4 months later. would have been nice if he left a note saying that he dropped it off in town.)
The Shastafarian made a call to a ranger friend in the area who advised us to look for another ranger at Helen lake.
The four of us strode off in the morning under clear skies and made lots of ground sheding layers in the warming sun. I marveled at the size of the peak from the trail and although it didnt look like the lump at Helen lake was far off, it seemed to take longer that I suspected it would. It was while i was looking at the scenery that I noticed the scattered puffs of clouds in the west but didn't pay them much mind. We arrived to set up camp in the early afternoon and found the ranger to pick up my borrowed axe. (sweet! I can continue!!)
While relaxing in camp and enjoying the view those little puffs started to gather and darken up as they approached us. It looked loke we might get some weather but I though it was nothing too bad. ( I was wrong) As we were gatting ready for some sleep the wind started blowing, and then it started snowing, and the there was a flash of lightning, then another. I had never seen lightning with snow before, interesting. The weather steadily worsened during the night reachingapprox. 60mph winds and lightning strikes to both sides of the gulch. I wasn't worried since I was with experienced climbers and they weren't worried. i was concerned however when I went out to use the "privacy cave" and pondered the possibility of my demise by getting zapped (I was wearing my crampons) while in that position. (not my ideal way to go)
We awakened to 4-6 fresh inches of loose dry snow and winds near 40mph. The summit was obscurred with clouds and after some discussion the experts decided that we'll come back another day. (even though there was a steady stream of folks headed up into the clouds)The mountain will still be here. I vowed that I'd return and dissapointedly packed up(returned the borrowed axe) after taking a few pictures.
I have plans to head back this June with the Shastafarian and a new group of friends. Weather permitting we'll get to the top this time.
I just want to note that I had a great time even though I didn't summit. My group made the decision to not try to summit in those conditions and I agreed. It was amazing how quick a few little puffs of clouds turned into a blowing, snowing, storm.
|Posted Feb 13, 2005 2:03 pm|