ApproachBegin at the Clear Creek Trailhead at 6,480 ft.
To get there - From McCloud, drive east 2.8 miles to Pilgrim Creek road, you will see a sign that says Mt. Shasta Wilderness; turn to your left and follow that road for 5.2 miles to another sign located on Forest Service road #41N15 at which time you will make another left. Follow that road for 4.9 miles to a 4-way dirt intersection at the #31 road, and then continue straight on road #41N61. Follow the Clear Creek Trailhead sign for 0.7 miles to road #41N25Y. Follow the signs again for 2.2 miles until you reach the trailhead. You can take a more scenic route by taking the Ski Park Highway north of Highway 89 until you run into the #31 road. The #31 road takes you around the east side of the Mountain, crossing Squaw and Mud creek, for 11.5 miles until you reach the intersection of #41N15 and #41N61. Once you’re there just follow the Clear Creek Trailhead signs.
Its difficult finding this trailhead, and you can easily get lost and end up driving in circles. Take care to make the right turns!
Route DescriptionThe beginning of this route is the same as that for the Clear Creek route.
From the trailhead, follow the series of abandoned roads through the trees. Eventually the dirt road/trail fades into a trail and follows a ridgeline that descends gradually to the northeast and drops off SHARPLY to the southwest.
Eventually you will reach a long, narrow clearing in the trees. Continue up this clearing, staying to the southwest (left) side of the clearing. The clearing suddenly widens, and as one begins to see the clearing end, a small strip of trees reappears close to the right. This is near where the Clear Creek route diverges. Follow these about halfway from where they first appear to the end of the clearing, and then cut through them to your right (you should see points where the strip of trees narrow again). If you stayed in the clearing and cut through the trees at the very end of it, you would be going on the Clear Creek route.
The ridgeline above has rocks protruding. To get around these to gain the ridgeline, ascend while traversing north for a few hundred yards. The terrain gets steep here. Eventually the terrain gets steep enough that the easiest line of ascent is straight up the ridge. Take this ascent and you will top out on a broad, flat ridgeline. From here you can already see the summit! It looks close, but it is really much farther away than it appears. The ridge soon narrows, and takes the form of flat portions followed by steeply sloped or 2nd-3rd class scrambles portions.
As one gets higher, the route gets steeper. Stay strictly to the ridgeline to keep on-route and to avoid the glaciers that the ridge runs between. These glaciers can usually be spotted from a distance since the bergschrunds are prominent.
At ca. 10,800 ft (just level with a flat portion farther to the south and the base of the Watkins Glacier), the ridge is somewhat absorbed into the mountain and steepens greatly into a short headwall. Above this, travel up a broad shallow chute between two rock ridges.
Eventually a rocky headwall is reached (ca. 12,000 ft) and one is directed through an opening in the rock ridge to the right. Now you are on the edge of the Wintun Glacier. Keep going up this new broad chute, keeping to the left to avoid getting too far out on the glaciar. Eventually a more prominent ridgeline is gained if one strays to the left, and the ground flattens greatly, with the summit block only a few hundred yards away. This is where the Clear Creek route rejoins the Wintun Ridge route.
Descent options include going back down the Wintun Ridge or the Clear Creek route. I personally enjoyed descending the Clear Creek route since it had opportunities for VERY LONG glissades, but I definitely believe that the Wintun Ridge is a far more scenic ascent route.
Essential GearIce axe, lots of water, and a camera! Crampons and/or snowshoes depending on snow conditions. I did this route in July, and the loose rock wasn't very bad. The slopes get steep enough that they might require a rope in the winter time, but I doubt it.
Take care to stay off of the glaciers that this route skirts!