North Side of Mt Shasta as of June 1 – 3, 2012
(it was May by a mistake)
The north side of Shasta looks great. Beautiful snowy slopes provide many variations of climbing to the top. Over that weekend the snow itself was not too perfect for crampons, even at night (too warm), so a bit extra effort was needed to adjust to that. However, the wind (especially on Saturday night/Sunday) was the main factor of extra energy consumption. In addition Sunday whiteouts made navigation more challenging. The best day for summit was Friday; Saturday was still OK; Sunday only for experienced or lucky
On Friday I climbed up to ca 11,000 and set up my camp for the next few days. The forecast was not too good and basically worsening every day. On Saturday we practiced crevasse rescue techniques (the main purpose of this trip). On that afternoon the mountain look very inviting but no one wanted to climb; although, a few decided to go at midnight, after the snow hardens. Well, at 1 am (I had no communication with others due to their lower camp) I alone decided to test the wind which was blowing for the last several hours unpleasantly, hoping it to calm down a bit on the east side of HB ridge. However, the collapsing of supposedly hard snow about few inches after each step, the wind not giving up, the big circular cloud above the top, and the worsening forecast for the morning made me to conclude that this trip may become a “bit” more challenging than anticipated (I'm taking easy for a while
) and after 30 minutes went back to the tent. Sunday morning, the first 1 K feet I climbed down in whiteout. However, the wind was much weaker and no clouds around the standard base camp. At the TH, on the other hand, the weather was beautiful, calm and sunny, and the birds were singing so nicely I decided to hang out there for a few hours.
By the way, there was running water along the HB ridge, in some places quite visible strings (e.g. around the standard base camp) and at other places tinier strings. Just listen. I had running water very close to my camp
.Friday morningSaturday eveningSunday morning