Mount Shasta Climber's Log
[ Sign the Climber's Log ]
|kdonaldson||Route Climbed: Avanlanch Gulch Date Climbed: May 12, 2001|
|We decided to go in early may to hopefully beat some of the summer crowds and get some good snow/winter like climbing - We did beat the crowds - only about 8 tents maybe at Helen lake - definitely go before the long weekend. We drove up Thursday, and Thursday afternoon we set out from Bunny flats and climbed to around 8000 ft and set up camp on the right side of lower avalanche gulch. Friday we started about 8 am and got to Helen lake around early-mid afternoon. Snowshoes were handy as we started punching through after 9-10 AM. We were in bed by 6 and rose around 2 am to start the summit push. Slight headache, but popping a couple advil did the trick. The moon was out full and no clouds so with the white snow, everything glowed so much we didn't need headlamps! Styrofoam snow conditions making the walk up on cramps very enjoyable. We cut through the red banks, and onto Misery hill at which point the wind started to really get moving and just below the summit ridge we decided to retreat as the winds were now 60 mph + . We literally had to dig in with cramps and axe while laying on the ground to stay in one place and you had to be less than an inch away from someone to hear them. So close, but it turned to be a good decision as the lenticular cloud that was starting to form grew and engulfed the rest of the mountain by noon. We felt strong, and happy knowing that it was weather that had turned us back and not conditioning.|
|Posted Feb 11, 2002 12:25 pm|
|Shawn||Route Climbed: Avalanche Gulch Date Climbed: 6/25/2000|
|We did a 2-day summit attempt, camping just under Helen Lake on Saturday night and Summit attempt on Sunday. The weather both days were just the best they could be, warm during the day, clear skies, and crisp nights, with little wind.|
Alpine start on Sunday morning at 3:30a and eventually getting moving closer to 5a :) We reached Helen Lake and saw most of the folks either still sleeping or just getting up, there was also a large crowd working their way toward the Heart to climb towards Red Banks.
I was still weak from AMS that I got the day before and working slow for the next couple of hours towards Red Banks. Near the top, however, I got off the usual "stairs" beaten into the snow by the groups and started sprinting zig-zag style with crampons and ice axe up to Red Banks, trying to avoid the roped groups going slowly up the stairs.
Once at Red Banks, however, a combination of already battling against AMS and feeling the accomplishment of getting this far while feeling really crappy, along with clouds moving in quickly froma distance, we decided to end the summit attempt. Misery hill was remaining along with the summit plateau snowfield and then the actual summit, about 800' in all --- oh well, another day!
The descent was awesome --- by now, it was perfect glissade weather with sunny skies at lower elevations, softer snow, and thousands of feet of twists, turns, and great speed sliding down the volcano on our butts.
Next time, more time will be taken to get acclimitized to enjoy this beautiful place. This is one great mountain/volcano to play on and we'll be coming back for more and more, especially if you avoid the crowds on the popular weekends.
|Posted Jan 23, 2002 10:51 pm|
|Nelson||Route Climbed: Avalanche Gulch Date Climbed: May 1973|
|My first mountain. Rented crampons & ice axe, no training, no experience, no smarts. Ever try glissading with crampons on? Got classic AMS, but camped on the summit anyway. Survived, got smarter, and now enjoy myself much more. But, a great mountain to get started on!|
|Posted Jan 13, 2002 6:56 pm|
|RStokes||Route Climbed: Avalanche Gulch Date Climbed: September 9, 2000|
|Went up solo during the week in early September. No crowds and had most of Helen Lake to myself. Sunny weather all day with really strong wind gusts on the summit. Lots of debris falling off the Red Banks with golf ball sized rocks whizzing past me every 5-10 minutes. Climbed up and through a small notch in the center of the Red Banks. Snow was firm early in the morning and was softening up pretty good by late morning. Made the summit by 8:30am and had awesome views in every direction.|
|Posted Dec 21, 2001 4:28 pm|
|Elwood||Route Climbed: Avalanche Gulch (2x) , Hotlum-Bolam Ridge, & Casaval Ridge Date Climbed: June 84, 86, Aug., 2000, & May 2004|
|I've been fairly lucky with good weather on this mountain, & had my share of bad weather too. Ha! My most rewarding climb thus far has been Casaval Ridge! the views from the top are terrific. I really enjoy the whole experience of climbing Shasta, from cruizing around, eating, buying any last minute supplies, & finding a cheap hotel in the town of Shasta to grunting it up the mountain!|
|Posted Nov 2, 2001 2:49 pm|
|steeleman||Route Climbed: Avy Gulch Date Climbed: May 1999 (2x)|
|My second time atop Shasta (first time was in 9/93). This time the winds were calm and the weather beautiful. No complaints (other than some dehydration on the way down). When on the mountain in '93, we got a serious taste of those famous Shasta windstorms.|
|Posted Oct 30, 2001 7:46 pm|
|Zancudo||Route Climbed: Avalanche Gulch Date Climbed: June 6 2001|
|After reading Hammer's description (below) I thought I would put in my two cents worth. I can not over state how strong the wind was, the air temp had to be no more than 20 and with the wind chill, God only knows how cold it was. The nalgene bottles inside my pack were frozen solid. I was ahead of Hammer through the Red Banks, up to the base of Misery Hill. Not knowing the route and being more than a little confused at the time, I waited for him there. We found a little shelter just after reaching the summit plateau and rested there. I could only sit for a few minutes, because I needed to keep moving. It would have been easy to just sit there and die. Crossing the summit plateau there were many piles of frozen vomit, from the climbers before us. It was really strange. Looking out from my glacier glasses, from under all that clothing (I was wearing all of the cloths I brought) it was as if I was watching the whole thing on TV. I was in a kind of dream state I just kept thinking "One foot in front of the other." When we crossed the plateau the wind was blowing so hard that I thought the summit may be unsafe. It is actually fairly protected. But it was still cold. We signed the summit register and bailed.|
|Posted Sep 20, 2001 3:09 pm|
|Hammer||Route Climbed: Avalanche Gulch Date Climbed: June 6 ,2001|
|After failing our attempt in September last year, we decided to take an extra day climbing and do it earlier in the season. My uncle and I decided to go earlier and just spend time on the mountain. I was feeling really strong after doing Mt. Hood the past two weekends and was looking forward in summiting this mountain.|
After our long drive down from Salem, we started from Bunny flats in the early afternoon. Our plan was to go up to around 9000' and stay there a night and wait for our friends to join us the following night. After we got to Horse camp we changed our minds and stayed the first night there so we could check out the Sierra Club Cabin in detail.
The next morning I decided I didn't want to carry my heavy pack so I split the contents in two and took the first half up to where we found a decent place to camp at about 8500'. We set up the tent and dug a snow kitchen and headed back down to Horse Camp. We waited there and watched the people as they came up for day hikes and others on there way up to Helen Lake. Our friends were coming in two pairs and after an hour or so they came into camp. We picked up the rest of our things and moved to our camp.
The next morning we were up and out of camp in a hurry. We wanted to get to Helen Lake as soon as possible so we could beat the rush of people on the weekend. By the time we got there it was already too late. What a mad house! so many tents it is what I would expect of an Everest Base Camp. After searching out an area where to set up tents we ended up waiting for summiters to break down their sites. We bagan the chore of melting/boiling water for our summit bid that night. After a few hours of bullshitting we headed to our tents to sleep. Our plan was to leave at 0300.
I was sound asleep and then the wind came-not a little but a lot. After some time my alarm went off and I got out of the tent. It was blowing so hard. I knew that our attempt had been thwarted once again. I went around to everyones tent and help reguy them out since they were getting pounded. I decided to give it an hour and reassess then. After an hour the wind had stopped-or so we thought. After a little breakfast we were moving. God I felt strong, and set a pretty hard pace. Next thing I knew I was several minutes ahead of everyone else. I waitied for them to catch up and then the wind started with new fury. We slowly moved up getting pelted with wind blown snow as we went. I had slowed my pace down but was still leaving a couple people behind. It was too windy and cold to stay put for too much time. At the top of the Heart we found some rocks to shelter us and wait for everyone to regroup. Even with the shelter we started getting cold as the wind continued to increase. I waited as long as possible but after everyone that had been waiting had moved on I abandoned my uncle. He was moving so slow that I knew that he would not summit and would probably turning around soon. The sun was coming up and I knew that he was plenty capable of getting himself down. When he turned around, the masses behind us began to do the same. The wind was just too much. Earlier in the day I had decided that I would crawl to the top if I had to but I was not getting turned around again.
The distance between myself and the rest of our group was large and they were moving toward the base of Thumb Rock where the boot track lead. I decided to make up some time and head through one of the Chimneys in the Red Banks. It worked and as one of my friends had traversed over to join me we made up time on the others and actually were at the Plateau at the base of Misery Hill before them. The wind had continued to pick up. The masses of people were not moving up anymore. The little that had came up above the Heart had turned around at the top of the Red Banks. At the base of Misery Hill all of the rest of my friends decided to go back down. The wind had freaked them out a little and they were tired. One of my friends, the one that had been turned around with me the year before, continued on with me. He had the same determination that I had and we were not turning around for nothing. I now know why they call it Misery Hill. I thought it would never end!
As we crested Misery Hill and approached the base of the summit pinnacle, my buddy told me that he was going to tag the summit and come down. No pictures, No summit register, no nothing! The wind was blowing so hard I thought my face was going to fall off. I have never been so cold in my life. We could barely walk upright and when a gust came it would knock you nearly over. As we nearly gained the Summit, my buddy said " this is good enough" and then we saw some other people huddled a few yards away. I talked him into making the true summit. As we moved past the people hiding from the wind we gained the Summit which afforded a little protection from the wind. We took our pictures, unrolled the celebratory Tibetan prayer flags and signed the summit register.
We tried to radio down to everyone but couldn't get through. We only spent a few minutes on top. I was starting to feel pretty shitty with no energy. I hadn't ate anything all day and our water was frozen solid.
As we approached Red Banks we finally radio'd everyone that we had actually summited and were on our way down. Tried to glissade but everything was too frozen and the speed was too much to deal with. Had to walk almost the whole way out. Did get a little glissading in.
Got back to Helen Lake and most everyone was already gone. Tents around us had been thrashed by the wind including the Ranger's. The Ranger had said that the wind had been 80-100 MPH. Incredible- I don't know what that would have put the wind chill factor at but I was cold that day. By now however, the wind was gone and it was getting hot. We broke camp and hiked the long way out. Almost an Epic at least for me.
|Posted Sep 19, 2001 5:13 am|
|brandon||Route Climbed: Sargaents, Cassaval, Av Gulch, Hotlum-Bolum Date Climbed: Many times....|
|The best training mt in the States. Head up on the weekend. Go car to car twice, or summit Sat, sleep at 10 or 11, and summit again Sunday. |
Summit to Lake Helen.... 17 minutes...any other fast times?
|Posted Sep 18, 2001 4:30 pm|
|welldressedpig||Route Climbed: Avalanche Gulch Date Climbed: 5/27/01|
|My 1st 14er and it was a great time. We had planned going up Casaval Ridge but due to a lean snow year, we opted for the standard route. A great climb nonetheless and look forward to going back in the future.|
|Posted Sep 7, 2001 10:21 am|
|Bob Burd||Route Climbed: Avalanche Gulch Date Climbed: May 12, 2001|
|Heckuva climb. Trip report here.|
|Posted Aug 17, 2001 2:02 pm|
|John||Route Climbed: Avalanche Gulch Date Climbed: August 11-12, 2001|
|This was an excellent trip late in the season. Due to the low snow pack this year, the Mount Shasta Climbing Route Advisory was already telling people to come back next year, however, the climbing was still very nice. On Saturday afternoon I headed up to Lake Helen and slept in my 20°F bag and bivy (way too warm for the bivy). The next morning Carl, Van, and I started heading up to the Red Banks via the standard Climber's Right of Heart variation with the route going directly up into one of the chimneys. We reached the summit around 12:30pm where we were met by two rangers who were doing their best to scare everyone off the summit. As it turned out, there were lightning storms in local towns and the static was disrupting their cell phone reception. On the way down we avoided the chimneys by heading over to the Thumb Rock saddle, slipping through "the notch," and then slide-stepping down the eternal scree field. I even glissaded a bit at the bottom though the snow is now fairly dirty and not as fun. Although the low pressure system off the coast of Oregon had pushed the jetstream over Shasta for the weekend, we were lucky in that it only snowed for a bit during the morning and the rain stayed to the northeast of the mountain, leaving our route down clear and sunny. Overall this is a mountain with lots of character and amazing views.|
|Posted Aug 13, 2001 10:38 pm|
|Josh||Route Climbed: Avalanche Gulch Date Climbed: August 6-7, 2001|
|This was the fifteenth and final summit of my CA 14er speed climbing tour! Check out the trip report here.|
|Posted Aug 8, 2001 5:11 pm|
|Guilty||Route Climbed: Ski Bowl Date Climbed: July 27. 2001|
|With such a beautiful sunny day I decided to sleep a little longer. I Started at 7:35am from the ski bowl parking lot, stop four times for video shot of the scene, and of people who didn't seem to be enjoying themselves. Made it to the summit in 4.5hrs. I hang out, saw a 7 year old girl on top. Shot some more video and left at 12:30. I arrived in the ski bowl parking lot at 2:35. Met lots of good people and lots of fun glissading!|
|Posted Aug 2, 2001 1:29 am|
|climbhigher||Route Climbed: Avalanche Gulch Date Climbed: July 27, 2001|
|I did this climb solo (my first ever) from Bunny Flat to the summit in 7 hours. The conditions were good - very little wind on the mountain. I left Bunny Flat at 2:30am and made Lake Helen at 4:30am. The snowline started just above the camp at 10,400 ft. By 5am I was working my way up the rockfall littered snowfield toward the Red Banks. There were 2 other groups climbing ahead of me. I wanted to make sure I got through the rockfall area early in the morning. I took the right of the Heart route. Below the Red Banks I decided to go the most direct route up the first (far left) chimney. It looked easier than it was...the top of the chimney got very steep and icy. Not a good place to fall. Later when I was descending I talked to a climber who was resting as his buddy climbed the same route...without wearing crampons!! That is nuts. I made the base Misery Hill after getting out of the chimney (it was full of rocks at the top). My legs were feeling fried from the non-stop climb so I rested. I continued on to the summit at what seemed like a snail's pace - walking 25 steps then resting. There was no need for crampons after the chimney. At 9:30am I made the summit where 5 other climbers were resting in the warm sun. The weather and views were fantastic! I descended via the notch by Thumb Rock as recommended by the climbing ranger (far left side of Red Banks) and walked carefully down the steep red rock to the snowfield. After making a slow descent (my feet were giving me some problems) and not glissading (rocks in the chute) I made it back to the car at 4:30pm. All in all a great climb and my first solo expedition. Final thoughts... going solo is tougher mentally than I thought (something about walking in pitch blackness with a headlamp on for hours with not a soul in sight)...but once I made it to Lake Helen I knew I would reach the summit.|
|Posted Aug 1, 2001 11:44 am|
|rbb7y||Route Climbed: Hotlum-Wintun Glacier Date Climbed: July 15th, 2001|
|Went up with my pops, ivanthedark and a friend from berkeley. The Hotlum-Wintun Glacier route is fantastic fun for intermediate climbers.|
|Posted Jul 28, 2001 3:51 pm|
|Jim Clarke||Route Climbed: Avalanche Gulch Date Climbed: 7/29/98|
|Without a doubt my favorite solo climb of a peak in the lower 48.|
|Posted Jul 23, 2001 6:01 pm|
|keema||Route Climbed: Avalanche Gulch Date Climbed: July 6-7, 1999|
|Joel Ward, his brother Dan and I climbed via Avalanche Gulch on July 6 & 7, 1999. We arrived at the Bunny Flat Trail headaround 10:00 a.m. After the usual registartion paperwork was finished and we picked up our potty bags, we were finally on our way. The stroll through the woods to Horse Camp was very pleasant, although a bit dusty as it is a well used trail. We talked to several day hikers along the way. After partaking of the fresh spring water and taking a few pictures at Horse camp, we continued on our way. There was no snow along the trail, although the loose rock and scree made for some slippery spots, until we reached 50/50 flat. It has been a continual uphill trudge so far. Here the trudge was now through soft afternoon snow to reach camp at Helen Lake. The views were fabulous and we drank in the beauty that was all around. After setting up camp we visited with several of the other climbers who were there. I didnit bring my water filter/pump, thinking that we would just melt snow. There was a nice little snow melt stream and a couple of other climbers who brought pumps and let us use them. Thanks!! The sunset was spectacular. Several people went over to Casaval Ridge to watch it. After a restless night, excitement over the the next day, we were up at 5, had a hot breakfast and started out at 6 am. Hind sight tells me we should have started out sooner. We headed up Avalanche Gulch (which is much steeper than it appears), went to the right of the Heart and up through the Red Banks. We kept up a steady pace. Near the base of the Red Banks, we met a group that had left much sooner that us but was having some difficulty. They would race up and then stop to catch their breath. Unfortunately at this altitude that technique doesn’t work well. Dan talked to them about pacing your breathing with your walking. We also met a family on their way down who said they had been “blown off Misery Hill.” They were right. At Misery Hill the winds became pretty strong, but not so much as to hold us back. We stayed right along a line of rocks to the right edge of the hill and that seemed to block the wind a bit. As we reached the summit plateau it seemed as if the ‘fan” had suddenly been turned off. The summit plateau is a big ice field. When we reached the far side and were ready to start up the final climb we could smell the sulfer fron the hot springs here. We finally summited at 1pm. The view was awesome. The number of people at the summit was also quite a surprise. After the usual pictures and visiting we headed back down. As we headed back across the summit plateau we met again the group we had passed at the Red banks. They were doing much better and looked like they were going to make it. We did not follow the same route back down Misery Hill. Instead we circled around near the head of Konwakiton Glacier to the Red Banks The glissade from here was very exhilarating, although the snow was getting a little mushy as we neared camp. We packed up and headed down the hill. I had knocked my water bottle over after we had everything packed and the climbers with the pumps were gone. I was pretty dehydrated by the time we arrived at Horse Camp. I must have downed 64 oz of that cold spring water in no time. Once rehydrated, the rest of the trip was quite pleasant. What an awesome trip.|
|Posted Jul 22, 2001 5:09 pm|
|mconnell||Route Climbed: Hotlum/Bolum Ridge Date Climbed: June 2000|
|Climbed early season just after North Gate opened. Nice, moderate snow climb.|
|Posted Jul 17, 2001 11:53 am|
|scot'teryx||Route Climbed: Avalanche Gulch Date Climbed: June 21-24 2001|
|After weeks of preparation, research, and mental and physical preparation – we found ourselves at the top of California’s 7th highest peak, and 2nd tallest Cascade Volcano at an impressive 14,162 feet! That’s only 249 feet shorter than our locally visited Mt Rainier!|
It was a windy and very cold day, but not even close to the weather that we would encounter on Mt Rainier if we summit this July.
It all started when Dick B thought that Shasta would be a good peak to climb since the altitude and such are similar to the expedition style type of climbing we would be encountering on Rainier. We made our way down the I-5 corridor towards the wonderful Northern California area. As we found ourselves getting further and further south, we noticed how much hotter it really was in other parts of the states! By the time we went over the last highway pass and got our first sights on the giant Mt Shasta looming over the valley, we were totally hydrated (stopped at every single rest stop to fill up water containers) and ready to climb! As we pulled into Shasta City, we learned that it was the celebration of the summer solstice, and warned by locals that there could be some real strange folks up at the trailheads and along the trails. It was a real dry heat, but it seemed to range in-between 95-100 degrees! This was something that I had not experienced since I left the state almost 10 years ago, and never want to relive. The terrain is so plain, so dry, and so featureless, except for the mountain. Mt Shasta is so unique, with Shastina at 12,330 feet on its flanks, and the summit registering in at 14,162 feet.
We spent the night at the trailhead of Bunny Flats at 6800 feet, which is the general area for climbers to start to ascend the Avalanche Gulch route, which is the most common route, especially with the dry season that they had. There were not that many folks around us, and we found ourselves being the loudest and the most unique of the crowd. With guitar and pick, I began to play the summer solstice song, (we created on the way down there) and then had it choreographed by Bruce M. It was a type of tribal/retarded scenario, but we had the most fun, but I believe that the surrounding campers thought we must have been doing a lot more than just drinking Gatorade! It then got carried a little too far after Dick B thought that pillowcases were tribal headpieces, and I spun my headlamp in the dark as they danced to the tribal beat. You had to be there is all I can say.
We got an early start in the morning and packed our bags after leaving the cars. It was a warm morning and we knew it was going to much hotter, so we all mentally prepared ourselves for some demanding work ahead. The trail and surrounding area was much different than what we have been used to, with the trail having a moisture content of about negative 3, and just dirt and some trees surrounding us which is quite different than Washington State.
The trail then started to gain a little elevation as we headed into Horse Camp. This was our first stop, and where we could get fresh water from the spring. That was some of the best water I have ever had! The Horse Camp is a small building made of stone that houses the Sierra Club. There is generally a caretaker than monitors the area and the restrooms. There is a library inside, and many spots to camp around the area, and it is less than 2 miles up from the trailhead, and only a few hundred feet in elevation gain. From here we headed up the Olberman’s Causeway, which is a trail of large rocks and stones that were built by the original caretaker over the course of ten years! The main reason is to protect the surrounding area I assume, but made for uneasy stepping with all the weight that we were carrying. After about .5 miles, we started climb the gradual ascent of switchback after switchback in gravel and dirt which got us above the tree line. This portion of the trail lasted for about a mile, and it got very hot! We got our first views of the mountain trail from here, and we were just plain excited to get to base camp. We finally reached the 50/50 camp, which is the first base camp that lies right around 9000 feet or so, but we trudged on and finally got on the snowfield, which was a true relief! This portion of the climb has a nickname as well, which is Standstill Hill. Named because it seems like you are getting nowhere, and base camp is just not within reach. Seems very similar to the Muir snowfield on Mt Rainier! We finally reached Helen Lake Base Camp at 10,400 feet sometime that afternoon, and grabbed the first few sites that we saw that had cairn shelters and a fantastic view that faced south into the valley of Shasta City. If we turned the other way, we had a fantastic view of the Avalanche Gulch route, as well as the Red Banks, but you are never able to see the actual summit, as it is a slow ascent after the Red Banks, which places it out of view. The one thing that we all did forget was the Water Filter, but we assumed we would be on snow, but there was running water a few feet next to us. So we boiled water for the next 4-5 hours and got prepared for the summit push the next morning. We decided as a group that we would try and be one of the first groups up, so we set a time of 2am to wake up, and 3am to start walking.
2am came quite quickly, but we all slept quite well due to the warmer weather than what we are used to, so we got ready and prepared for the summit assault. We started walking at 315am and noticed that there were a few other groups ahead of us already. We did not start with our crampons at first as it was a low grade, and there were good steps, but half an hour later we stopped to put them on. We made our way towards the Red Banks which is a large groups of red colored rock formations that give access to Misery Hill via varied width chutes, etc. The chute we ascended was only about 20 feet wide, and seemed like about a 40-degree angle. We thought that we might get some shelter from the wind at this point, but the chutes actually carried the wind at a higher velocity. By the time we reached the top of the Red Banks we were at 12,800 feet, with just a little further to go, but we still had to get past “Misery Hill”. We reached the plateau just before Misery Hill and regrouped inside a small rock shelter that barely kept the 40+ mph winds off of us. It was very cold at this point, even though the sun was trying to poke out of some clouds. I did notice that Joseph was trying to actually climb inside of his backpack to stay warm! We ate a few things, tried to drink some water (my Platypus froze by this time) but I had my good old Nalgene to hydrate me. We started to ascend the scree covered switchbacks up Misery Hill, fighting the full forced winds all the way to the Summit Plateau.
What a feeling! The Summit pinnacle was in view and not that far away! Dick and Joseph were just ahead of me and Alison was just getting up on the plateau behind me. I saw a major photo op with Dick and Joseph ahead of me as they made their way towards the summit pinnacle, so I took out the camera and snapped the image. In a few minutes I was going to conquer this mystical, yet awe-inspiring mountain that has taken a long time to prepare for. It was one of the best feelings I have had in the mountains up until this point.
We re-grouped at the bottom of the pinnacle and headed up the steep scree/ice slope to the summit. At the last few feet before the summit, Dick asked Alison if she would lead us to the top, and a few moments later we were standing at the summit at 14,162 feet! The summit was void of snow, and we all grouped together and took pictures, ate food, and drank water. The crowds then started to show up as there must have been about 20 people up there at one time. We decided to hang out just below the summit at a small area where we could get some sun, and wait for the snow to soften up for the glissade down.
The descent was quite easy and safe, and the snow was still quite hard, with large sun cups that made for easy plunge stepping. Right before the Red Banks we put our crampons back on and descended through the Red Banks one at a time. It started to look like a circus on the route at this point, as there were people up here that did not belong. Some folks had on College sweatshirts; some had crampons that barely stayed on their boots, and some had ice axes that were twice the height of themselves. There were many groups on the side of the route that were sleeping, throwing up, or just trying to catch their breath! As we descended through the Red Banks we noticed that Dick was off to the side of the route nursing an injury. It turned out that he post holed and then lost his balance and stabbed the back of his leg with his other crampon! Alison came down right after that and helped him butterfly it back together and safely prepare it for the descent. It was not too bad, and Dick wound up getting stitches in Shasta City after we got down.
The glissade chute was obvious, as it got to be 1-2 feet in depth at times on the route! The conditions were still icy, but I decided to take the first stab at it, since no one else on the mountain was. All the factors were there to make it one of the best glissades ever, but it was too fast. I had to use my packs hip belt as a fulcrum for my axe as it got real tiring pushing the end down to brake on the icy run. It was real fun because we passed dozens of people on their way down that were plunge stepping the whole way, which must have been a lot of work compared to the path we chose. I found myself going to fast and it was time to self arrest, my pick grabbed the ice and I stopped quite quickly as I lunged in with all my weight. As I got up from the arrest position, I found my boots slipping from underneath me and I started to slide down the chute helplessly without my ice axe, as it was still plunged into the icy hill. My mind was telling me just how much trouble I was in because there was going to be no way for me to arrest without an axe as I gained speed down this chute towards whatever run out there might be below. At the last moment, I felt a hard tug on my wrist and I had stopped! I looked up and noticed that my ice axe leash was the only thing holding me. At this time I was hoping that the knot I tied on the axe was a good one, but didn’t know how long it would hold. My leash was too long for me to actually grab the shaft of the axe and feet were just slipping from beneath me. I started to kick steps in the side of the chute to somehow give me some sort of balance to keep from sliding if the axe did come out of the hill. I could not see anyone as well because the chute was so deep, so I finally got stable and was able to pull myself out of the chute. I saw the rest of the group coming down the hill at this point, and told them of what had just happened. The snow started to soften up below, so we were able to have a much safer glissade down to base camp.
We got to out shelters and passed out on the rocks. Tracy and Bruce were on their way up from Horse Camp, and they had empty packs to help us carry stuff down! That was the second best news we had heard all day (Best news being the summit). I was completely exhausted by the time we got down to the trailhead, and excited to get a shower and a bed. What a perfect way to complete the perfect summit!
|Posted Jul 15, 2001 1:40 pm|