Welcome to SP!  -
Areas & RangesMountains & RocksRoutesImagesArticlesTrip ReportsGearOtherPeoplePlans & PartnersWhat's NewForum

Choosing a route on Shasta

Regional discussion and conditions reports for the Golden State. Please post partners requests and trip plans in the California Climbing Partners forum.
 

Choosing a route on Shasta

Postby markv » Thu Jul 14, 2011 9:43 am

Weather permitting, i'll be attempting my first climb of Shasta on August 1st or 2nd. Yes, it will be solo, no i'm not a troll.

Me: good shape but not a fast climber, some very basic experience (things like going up Hood by myself, Rainier with a group, a couple of more remote glacier climbs), comfortable on high-angle snow but not comfortable on exposed rock. Things like Mt. Muir and Thielsen freak me out. I manage, but i don't like it. I'll be acclimated already from having spent about 10 days in the High Sierra, and i'll be headed up to Oregon, so this is the time to try Shasta. I intend to do this in one day with the very-pre-dawn start. Midnight even if the route time requires.

I've narrowed down my route possibilities to Avy Gulch, W. Face Gully, Clear Creek, or Wintun Ridge, based on going solo and not wanting to do serious rock or anything crevassed. Convince me which one i should do. They all look great from the pics and doable for my skill level. There's a comfort factor to going up Avy Gulch where i'm not truly alone up there, but i keep hearing about accidents on that route so i'm not so sure it's necessarily the safest way to go. Frankly my biggest concern with trying a different route is route-finding in the dark on my own before the sun rises.

I could of course go up one route and down another, and there's even a chance i'll be dropped off and could traverse from an east side route to Bunny Flat.

What say you? (Remember, August 1st or 2nd, so use your best guess on snow/scree conditions). Thanks!!!
markv

 
Posts: 170
Joined: Sun May 30, 2004 5:16 am
Thanked: 2 times in 2 posts

Re: Choosing a route on Shasta

Postby Trawinski » Thu Jul 14, 2011 4:07 pm

Given your time limitations, I would say Avy Gulch is the way to go. I wouldn't worry about all the injury reports. Avy Gulch is as safe or safer than every other route, but the sheer numbers of climbers involved results in a high number of accidents.

If you had a little more time, I would recommend West Face Gully. It's basically the same as Avy Gulch as far as terrain type and steepness, but it's off to climbers left (when looking up from Bunny Flat) and much less congested. However, to get there you need to go from Horse Camp, roughly due north over to Hidden Valley and then up the WFG. A couple weeks ago when I was there, Horse Camp to WFG was all snow and it took much more time than it would otherwise. I'm not sure what the mileage diff is - it may not be that big of a difference. Deb (from SP) did it in a day a few weeks back, but I think her objective was to ski the face, not summit. She can chime in on the feasibility of doing that route in a single shot.

Good luck!
User Avatar
Trawinski

 
Posts: 67
Joined: Tue May 31, 2011 3:47 pm
Location: NorCal
Thanked: 5 times in 5 posts

Re: Choosing a route on Shasta

Postby mrchad9 » Thu Jul 14, 2011 5:51 pm

I've done each of those routes, and I'd do Wintun Ridge if I were you, otherwise WF Gully. Wintun Ridge is nice and scenic and you will likely have the place to yourself, which is great for a solo trip if you are as comfortable as you say you are. There is a trail in the beginning, and then you basically just head up, not difficult to follow at all, and it isn't too steep. The lower part may even be melted out but the scree isn't too loose on route. You can either descend that route or Clear Creek, but I wouldn't go up Clear Creek, no more interesting and more likely to have loose, tedious scree.

WF Gully is nice too, Avalanche Gulch is way too crowded, but if your only goal is to make it up and back then AG might be easiest.

Hotlum Bolam Ridge is very nice too and definately within your skill range.
User Avatar
mrchad9

 
Posts: 4116
Joined: Thu Jul 02, 2009 12:01 am
Location: San Ramon, California, United States
Thanked: 1187 times in 800 posts

Re: Choosing a route on Shasta

Postby jdmorris » Thu Jul 14, 2011 6:58 pm

I agree with Chad that Hotlum Bolam is a good choice for a potentially moderate route with no one else around. You'll want to verify that the forest service roads are clear to the trailhead and that the crevasses are visible and that it is mostly snow with minimal or no ice (although I liked the moderate angle blue ice when I did it I'm sure everything is still buried right now). There is plenty of good beta on this site. Here's a route photo my partner took when I was last over there to give you an idea:
http://www.summitpost.org/hotlam-bolam/302608/c-155586

For West Face Gulley, I'd highly recommend starting the route as if you were doing Casaval Ridge, but then departing the ridge half way to the Hourglass (where you often leave the gendarme area to avoid rocks in lighter-snow years) and heading for the West Face Gulley from there. The long traverse to Hidden Valley and the flat trudge to the start of WFG are demoralizing when you go that way. Also, camping at 10k or 10.5k on Casaval is absolutely gorgeous compared to Hidden Valley which is fairly boring. Descending Avy Gulch will save time with well established glissade tracks and a direct downhill route and the masses of people will be less irritating when you're just cruising downhill.

Regardless of what you choose, have a blast!

JD
User Avatar
jdmorris

 
Posts: 56
Joined: Thu May 05, 2005 7:22 pm
Location: Bay Area, California
Thanked: 5 times in 3 posts

Re: Choosing a route on Shasta

Postby POLUKO » Tue Jul 19, 2011 6:57 am

JD-
That route sounds perfect. What is that section of Casaval like? This would be my second attempt. Thx
User Avatar
POLUKO

 
Posts: 54
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2007 12:18 am
Location: Paso Robles, California, United States
Thanked: 5 times in 5 posts

Re: Choosing a route on Shasta

Postby granjero » Tue Jul 19, 2011 7:44 am

I strongly recommend bringing skis/snowboard if you hit Hotlum-Wintun/Bolam or West Face. Schuss! Shuss!!

*((m
w))*
*((m
w))*
*((m
w))*
User Avatar
granjero

 
Posts: 127
Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 8:47 am
Location: Beneath Akigaibi, Nevada, United States
Thanked: 46 times in 29 posts

Re: Choosing a route on Shasta

Postby jdmorris » Tue Jul 19, 2011 7:18 pm

POLUKO-

Up until ~10k camp it's just an uphill slog on the ridge. From 10k, you head left up a 35* headwall, over 10.5k and cross over to the north side of the ridge where there is more ~35* slope that you side hill for half a mile or so. Eventually you head across the bowl / gully and up whatever chute looks nice to enter the West Face Gully. Rockfall has been minimal in this lower part of the route, even in later day, in my experience. This is the view uphill from 10.5k:
http://www.summitpost.org/joe-and-john- ... 5/c-155538

Good luck!

JD
User Avatar
jdmorris

 
Posts: 56
Joined: Thu May 05, 2005 7:22 pm
Location: Bay Area, California
Thanked: 5 times in 3 posts

Re: Choosing a route on Shasta

Postby Deb » Tue Jul 19, 2011 10:28 pm

jdmorris wrote:POLUKO-

Up until ~10k camp it's just an uphill slog on the ridge. From 10k, you head left up a 35* headwall, over 10.5k and cross over to the north side of the ridge where there is more ~35* slope that you side hill for half a mile or so. Eventually you head across the bowl / gully and up whatever chute looks nice to enter the West Face Gully. Rockfall has been minimal in this lower part of the route, even in later day, in my experience. This is the view uphill from 10.5k:
http://www.summitpost.org/joe-and-john- ... 5/c-155538

Good luck!

JD

That's the way Travis and I ascended and descended in June. We traversed on skis just below Casaval Ridge.....very intimidating! The snow was perfect Father's Day Weekend, I can't imagine it's so good now. :(
User Avatar
Deb

 
Posts: 2986
Joined: Sun Sep 29, 2002 1:57 pm
Location: Bishop, California, United States
Thanked: 161 times in 95 posts


Return to California

 


  • Related topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests

© 2006-2013 SummitPost.org. All Rights Reserved.