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

Need beginner advice -Shasta vs Rainier.

Post general questions and discuss issues related to climbing.
 

Postby mrchad9 » Mon May 03, 2010 8:08 am

You can try Whitney- but getting a permit in advance is going to be an issue- you've missed the lottery window.

I wouldn't recommend cutting your teeth on Shasta or Rainier. If you don't know how to properly use an ice axe and crampons, your life is potentially at risk. Better to try them out in Lassen NP Park somewhere, before a trip to Shasta. Better yet you could book a 1/2-1 day course with a guide service in Mt Shasta City. If you feel comfortable after that and talking to the instructor, you'll be in good position to climb Shasta the next day. And if you don't feel comfortable, there are MANY things to do in the area so your trip isn't wasted.

Definitely don't climb Rainier until you are familiar with glacier travel. Need to know how to use a rope, crevasse rescue, etc... as does your partner. You can book a guide service for Rainier, but I wouldn't recommend it. From the looks of people who did, it seemed like a pretty miserable experience. Getting drug up a mountain like that, following their timeline, by a company only wanting to have a high client turnover ratio... well... there's better things to do with your vacation.
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

Postby billisfree » Mon May 03, 2010 12:03 pm

I suggest you try Colorado. They have 75 peaks over 14,000 ft. It's closer to Texas and most of these peaks are scrambles. That will give you a taste for what it's like to climb 3K to 5K ft in a day. It might suprise you, but Mt Rainier is only a little higher than those Colorado 14000ers.

If you want snow and glacier experience - try Mt. Shasha. It's a safe mountain for learning cramponing and snow camping.

Mt Rainier is heavily crevassed and I suggest climbing a few lesser peaks beforehand.

I took a couple of climbing classes... but in the end, I realize one could easily teach themselves this stuff by reading a few good books. I've climbed Mt Adams with all my fancy equipment... then watched people climb it with nothing more than sweathers and tennis shoes. Oh well...

One thing stands out - DO try to climb with buddy or where others are nearby.
Last edited by billisfree on Mon May 03, 2010 7:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User Avatar
billisfree

 
Posts: 373
Joined: Sat Dec 22, 2007 8:39 am
Location: Portland, Oregon, United States
Thanked: 16 times in 14 posts

Re: Thanks!

Postby bird » Mon May 03, 2010 12:15 pm

stjimmy wrote:Thanks mrchad9. Good advise indeed.

Let me clarify a few things as well. Either trips to Rainier or Shasta would be guided by a service like REI, RMI Expiditions or Alpine Ascents.

Thoughts on any of these guide services?

If you are going guided, go for Rainier. Then you'll either love it and be ready for more, or decide it's not for you. Rainier is spectacular and the guides could get anyone in good shape to the top.
User Avatar
bird

 
Posts: 511
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 10:41 pm
Location: Southampton, New York, United States
Thanked: 22 times in 20 posts

Postby Hotoven » Mon May 03, 2010 3:14 pm

billisfree wrote:I suggest you try Colorado. They have 75 peaks over 14,000 ft. It's closer to Texas and most of these peaks are scrambles. That will give you a taste for what it's like to climb 3K to 5K ft in a day.


+1

This is good advice, you don't have to spend as much money on traveling or gear. And its a good way to get your feet wet for the real thing.
User Avatar
Hotoven

 
Posts: 1861
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2009 8:06 pm
Location: Summit County, Colorado, United States
Thanked: 115 times in 87 posts

Postby Hotoven » Mon May 03, 2010 3:18 pm

billisfree wrote: I've climbed Mt Adams with all my fancy equipment... then watched people climb it with nothing more than sweathers and tennis shoes. Oh well...


hehe, that was me last year you saw. I did it in shorts and my low top GTX hiking shoes. The only thing I regret is getting wet socks and not putting sun block on my legs! :D
User Avatar
Hotoven

 
Posts: 1861
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2009 8:06 pm
Location: Summit County, Colorado, United States
Thanked: 115 times in 87 posts

Postby CClaude » Mon May 03, 2010 3:20 pm

Rainier is a significant step up from the other mountains but if you learn glacier travel, its not that bad, assuming you get a good weather window. It is an amazingly beautiful mountain though.

If you go with a guide service, go with one that will teach you the basics about mountain travel (glaciers, self-arresting, avi's), instead of just concerned about getting your ass up the mountain in a congo line. This way you end up bringing home more then just the experience of the mountain but an experience you can start to apply to other mountains on your own.


If you go with a guide service as a learning experience, make sure that you are learning more then just self-arresting and rope travel. Glacier travel, learning to read glaciers, crevasse extraction,.... will be critical if you decide to expand your horizions beyond Colorado and California. If you want to go to the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, South America,.... if will become crucial.
User Avatar
CClaude

 
Posts: 1544
Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2004 9:37 am
Location: Flagstaff, Arizona, United States
Thanked: 65 times in 39 posts

Postby mrchad9 » Mon May 03, 2010 4:05 pm

dynamokiev98 wrote:If I was you I would take basic Ice axe/crampons use class with Shasta Mountain Guides or whoever else is there on Shasta on friday and climb Shasta by avalanche gulch during the rest of the weekend. This route is very good for begginers, just be careful and follow dozens of people up.

Thats what I would do, and did, when I first started. A day on the mountain, then free to climb it on your own.
CClaude wrote:Rainier is a significant step up from the other mountains but if you learn glacier travel, its not that bad, assuming you get a good weather window. It is an amazingly beautiful mountain though. If you go with a guide service, go with one that will teach you the basics about mountain travel (glaciers, self-arresting, avi's), instead of just concerned about getting your ass up the mountain in a congo line.

The congo lines is what I saw on Rainier. Maybe they have different programs, but that didn't seem to be what most folks were doing. A few years ago I took a 6-day glacier travel class on Mt. Baker, that was a good experience.
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

Postby mconnell » Mon May 03, 2010 4:31 pm

telewoman wrote:http://www.swsmtns.com/mtshastaclinics.html


If you go to Shasta, I would second that suggestion.
mconnell

 
Posts: 7474
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2001 4:28 pm
Location: Divide, Colorado, United States
Thanked: 266 times in 158 posts

Postby ScottyP » Mon May 03, 2010 4:41 pm

My first trip was with SWS and on Shasta. Was a great introduction to the mountaineering world with a good base of instruction. You may also look at http://www.sierramountaincenter.com/about.html
or my favorite guide
http://www.californiaalpineguides.com/

The benefit of using a guide early on is that you learn good habits to then take out on your own. Have Fun! Scott
Last edited by ScottyP on Mon May 03, 2010 5:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User Avatar
ScottyP

 
Posts: 553
Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2008 10:43 pm
Location: santa rosa, California, United States
Thanked: 25 times in 20 posts

Shasta and CO 14ers

Postby blueshade » Mon May 03, 2010 5:03 pm

Shasta is not a hard mountain at all, somewhat strenuous (7000' gain) but not dangerous. If you wait until later in the year you can do it in sneakers if you are careful, crampons if you want to be safer. Easily finished as a day-hike if you move quickly.

However, I also would recommend a Colorado 14er first. A lot closer, a little easier (depending on the mountain), and you can do a lot more of them if that is your desire.
User Avatar
blueshade

 
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 12:06 am
Location: Grand Junction, Colorado, United States
Thanked: 1 time in 1 post

Postby adventurer » Mon May 03, 2010 5:55 pm

As others have said, you need to be properly prepared for Shasta and Whitney. However, IMO either of these, via the normal routes, are a better choice for beginners than Rainier as a starting point.

If you want to look into a guided climb of Whitney, you can contact Summitpost member "The Chief" for info and advice.

Regarding your question on Rainier guide services, I would recommend either International Mountain Guides (IMG) or Alpine Ascents. Also, if you take the Emmons Glacier route, it's a much more beautiful and far less crowded climb than than the normal route on Rainier.

Have fun!
User Avatar
adventurer

 
Posts: 188
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2010 1:24 am
Location: Virginia
Thanked: 104 times in 62 posts

Properly prepared for WEATHER

Postby robertjoy » Mon May 03, 2010 6:11 pm

"Shasta is not a hard mountain at all, somewhat strenuous (7000' gain) but not dangerous. If you wait until later in the year you can do it in sneakers if you are careful, crampons if you want to be safer. Easily finished as a day-hike if you move quickly."

In all the comments about learning the technical basics, self arrest, etc. I find it curious that nobody comments about the possibility of severe weather conditions on Shasta. It is quite possible to find conditions changing as you ascend, and finding yourself (in tennis shoes and jeans?) at 12,000 feet in a 60mph wind with wind chill of ZERO degrees. You may be in a white-out! Conditions on Mt Shasta are not always "tennis shoe compatible".

Mt Shasta is not a hard mountain at all, except on those days when it is.
User Avatar
robertjoy

 
Posts: 58
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2002 11:32 am
Location: Portland, Oregon, United States
Thanked: 6 times in 5 posts

Next

Return to General

 


  • 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.