Mt Shasta Tragedy - Descent Routes
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Potential Descent Routes that Tom and I considered:
Bolam-Whitney Ridge: 100 mph winds made descent dangerous. Even if attempting to descend the leeward side, winds may have been high enough to be dangerous to climb in.
Whitney Glacier: Icefalls could be dangerous to reverse at night due to required rappells and shadows cast by seracs potentially hiding large crevasses.
Whitney Glacier - Bypass: We had not come up this route and as such were wary of descending it since we were unfamiliar with the specifics of the bypass, which closely skirts some very large crevasses. Best descended the next day.
Avalanche Gulch: Deposits us on the wrong side of the mountain (Bunny Flat TH). Considered to be an emergency descent route.
Wintun Ridge: Deposits us on the wrong side of the mountain and on a remote side.
Wintun-Hotlum Ridge: Deposits us on the wrong side of the mountain and on a remote side. Could possibly traverse back to camp, but skirts glaciers and we were unfamiliar with the terrain. Winds could have prevented us from climbing against them even at that lower altitude, stranding us at the base of the route.
Hotlum-Bolam Ridge: May not be protected from the dangerous wind. Gendarmes and cliffs in the top 1,000 ft could make navigation difficult, especially if the gendarmes cast shadows in the moonlight. Best descended the next day.
Bolam Glacier: Could potentially be wind-loaded and as such is dangerous to descend due to the wind slab avalanche hazard.