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Which Shasta Route Is Safer Solo?

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Which Shasta Route Is Safer Solo?

Postby deungsan » Wed Feb 27, 2013 3:34 pm

I'm hoping to try Shasta in June. The two routes that appeal to me are Casaval Ridge and Hotlum-Bolam.

Which route will have less objective danger for a solo climber?

Before anyone tears into me, I'll note that I've climbed Shasta a number of times alone via AG and the West Face. (I tried Green Butte once but was turned back by weather.)

Thanks in advance for your opinions.
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Re: Which Shasta Route Is Safer Solo?

Postby mrchad9 » Wed Feb 27, 2013 3:43 pm

I would say hotlum bolum. I've done that solo and all you really have to do is not jump into the bergshrund down below you if it is even open at the edge of the hotlum glacier. I just updated that page you can take a look.

Casaval is ok to solo too but sometimes the conditions around the catwalk and where it meets the ridge at the top can be more difficult than HB. Not to say it would stop most people, but definitely more so than the HB route.

Also a few years ago someone fell on Casaval and ended up a fatality. Just one incident but I think it's been longer since that happened on HB.
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Re: Which Shasta Route Is Safer Solo?

Postby 96avs01 » Wed Feb 27, 2013 5:23 pm

HB is easier, but both are quite doable solo. Since you are looking at June, your option(s) will likely be dictated by access and conditions. There's definitely the possibility of: A) Casaval might be out of good climbing shape by June depending on the snow year, and B) the Northgate trailhead might not be completely accessible by vehicle in June depending on the snow year, and thus additional distance required.
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Re: Which Shasta Route Is Safer Solo?

Postby clmbr » Fri Mar 01, 2013 3:27 am

All correct answers. Overall HBR is less problematic and only the place below the top where you cross the very top of Bolum G. may sometimes in late season be very icy; but mostly in late season and not always. In fact the whole route may be very icy.

CR may look scary sometimes when covered with lots of fresh unconsolidated snow or if ice forms. The main obstacle may be the catwalk, a few feet that may look very narrow, angled and espoused. However, you always have the option to backup a bit and go around (toward Waste Face).

My favorite solo route, however, is Whitney Glacier through Hidden Valley, especially the last (preferably icy) slope, with an easy and convenient approach.

All depends on weather and snow conditions. Just wait till the actual climb time to make the final. June is usually the best time for snow (glacier) climbing.

Solo is good!
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Re: Which Shasta Route Is Safer Solo?

Postby deungsan » Sat Mar 02, 2013 11:57 pm

Thanks, all. Great feedback.

Given the snow conditions so far this year, can anyone guess when the road to the Northgate trailhead will be open?
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Re: Which Shasta Route Is Safer Solo?

Postby deungsan » Tue Mar 12, 2013 5:58 am

Thanks, telewoman.
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Re: Which Shasta Route Is Safer Solo?

Postby deungsan » Tue Mar 12, 2013 6:03 am

clmbr wrote:All correct answers. Overall HBR is less problematic and only the place below the top where you cross the very top of Bolum G. may sometimes in late season be very icy; but mostly in late season and not always. In fact the whole route may be very icy.

CR may look scary sometimes when covered with lots of fresh unconsolidated snow or if ice forms. The main obstacle may be the catwalk, a few feet that may look very narrow, angled and espoused. However, you always have the option to backup a bit and go around (toward Waste Face).

My favorite solo route, however, is Whitney Glacier through Hidden Valley, especially the last (preferably icy) slope, with an easy and convenient approach.

All depends on weather and snow conditions. Just wait till the actual climb time to make the final. June is usually the best time for snow (glacier) climbing.

Solo is good!


I love camping in Hidden Valley. Always wanted to do Whitney Glacier—the write-ups make it sound Himalayan almost.
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Re: Which Shasta Route Is Safer Solo?

Postby clmbr » Tue Mar 12, 2013 5:10 pm

deungsan wrote:
clmbr wrote:All correct answers. Overall HBR is less problematic and only the place below the top where you cross the very top of Bolum G. may sometimes in late season be very icy; but mostly in late season and not always. In fact the whole route may be very icy.

CR may look scary sometimes when covered with lots of fresh unconsolidated snow or if ice forms. The main obstacle may be the catwalk, a few feet that may look very narrow, angled and espoused. However, you always have the option to backup a bit and go around (toward Waste Face).

My favorite solo route, however, is Whitney Glacier through Hidden Valley, especially the last (preferably icy) slope, with an easy and convenient approach.

All depends on weather and snow conditions. Just wait till the actual climb time to make the final. June is usually the best time for snow (glacier) climbing.

Solo is good!


I love camping in Hidden Valley. Always wanted to do Whitney Glacier—the write-ups make it sound Himalayan almost.

I’m not sure why but not many people climb this route, perhaps it is a bit longer than other approaches (regardless of the TH) and people are always in hurry. I like that because I am always alone there.

The most enjoyable solo climbing is when you climb in solitude. It’s a completely different feeling. To achieve that, the best is to climb a route during the week days and/or in questionable conditions. :o
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Re: Which Shasta Route Is Safer Solo?

Postby deungsan » Wed Mar 13, 2013 2:11 am

clmbr wrote:
deungsan wrote:
clmbr wrote:All correct answers. Overall HBR is less problematic and only the place below the top where you cross the very top of Bolum G. may sometimes in late season be very icy; but mostly in late season and not always. In fact the whole route may be very icy.

CR may look scary sometimes when covered with lots of fresh unconsolidated snow or if ice forms. The main obstacle may be the catwalk, a few feet that may look very narrow, angled and espoused. However, you always have the option to backup a bit and go around (toward Waste Face).

My favorite solo route, however, is Whitney Glacier through Hidden Valley, especially the last (preferably icy) slope, with an easy and convenient approach.

All depends on weather and snow conditions. Just wait till the actual climb time to make the final. June is usually the best time for snow (glacier) climbing.

Solo is good!


I love camping in Hidden Valley. Always wanted to do Whitney Glacier—the write-ups make it sound Himalayan almost.

I’m not sure why but not many people climb this route, perhaps it is a bit longer than other approaches (regardless of the TH) and people are always in hurry. I like that because I am always alone there.

The most enjoyable solo climbing is when you climb in solitude. It’s a completely different feeling. To achieve that, the best is to climb a route during the week days and/or in questionable conditions. :o


I hear ya! My favorite Shasta ascent was midweek via the West Face. I saw only 2-3 other people on the mountain.
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Re: Which Shasta Route Is Safer Solo?

Postby Vitaliy M. » Wed Mar 13, 2013 5:03 am

If you want to learn how to jump over crevasses, I heard Hotlum glacier is real good in late summer!
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Re: Which Shasta Route Is Safer Solo?

Postby deungsan » Wed Mar 13, 2013 5:18 am

Vitaliy M. wrote:If you want to learn how to jump over crevasses, I heard Hotlum glacier is real good in late summer!


Thanks for that, but not sure if it was intended as a suggestion or a warning...
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Re: Which Shasta Route Is Safer Solo?

Postby clmbr » Wed Mar 27, 2013 7:30 pm

deungsan wrote:
Vitaliy M. wrote:If you want to learn how to jump over crevasses, I heard Hotlum glacier is real good in late summer!


Thanks for that, but not sure if it was intended as a suggestion or a warning...

This was a joke. But if you were serious about it, the more correct suggestion should be "if you want to practice jumping over crevasses" (definitely not to learn). And make sure you have at least some ice climbing skill, just in case. :lol:
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