Avalanche Gulch Climber's Log

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keitasakon - May 29, 2022 2:37 am Date Climbed: May 22, 2022

Spring Avalanche Gulch  Sucess!

This was my second summit, the last time was 5 years ago over Memorial Day weekend with pretty high snow pack from Bunny Flat. I was lucky to have good snowfall in April as it was supposedly bare early April but that all changed and became climbable. However there wasn't as much snow as my last climb 5 years ago. There were barely any snow up to Horsecamp, around which I started to see some snow, then after some rocks/gravel path to plateau around 9000ft it became all snow. as I started my climb saturday morning, Helen Lake was a bit crowded but there were many nice dug in tent sites. There were a LOT of people who came up after me, and there seem to be a lot of beginners who were extremely loud, talking late into the night - please don't do this at a busy camp as people are trying to sleep. I started around 2:45 am and to my surprise, I was one of the first ones up. It was pretty much me and another solo guy up to the summit and a few dozen that were pretty far back behind us. It has been very windy for a couple of weeks but it was very calm at Helen Lake but wind velocity increased as I arrived to Misery Hill. It was semi dark so I went climber's right but that turned out to be a no go as I had to down climb to one slot to the left as far right slot close to thumb rock got me to dead end. Then I continued on the ridge left to Misery Hill, and wind go stronger to a point at the saddle it was a solid sustained 20-30mph with gusts to 40-50mph getting me off balance to a point I thought twice about summiting but I went anyway. I spent minimal time at the summit due to gust, and went down. It was pretty windy all the way down to red banks below which it became pretty calm again, probably because NW wind was shielded. The snow was pretty hard and slowed down my descent as I couldn't really heel stomp until below Helen Lake. All in all a great climb again, wish it wasn't quite as gusty, but it was quite a bit different from my last climb below Helen Lake due to lower snow pack, but plenty above Helen Lake with minimal rock fall risk.


mikekernan - May 26, 2022 11:55 am Date Climbed: Mar 17, 2022

Solo Summit Ski  Sucess!

Had a fantastic day on Shasta! I'd been up there three days earlier which was particularly bad timing on my part (cold snap after a bunch of hot, sunny days) because the mountain was an ice sheet and a lenticular cloud had settled over the top half of the mountain. So after waiting for better conditions I was able to have a great time climbing and skiing from the summit. Stayed more looker's right climbing through the red banks, but then came down the steeper, quasi couloir that's looker's left (skier's right) of the red banks on my way down. Summit ridge/plateau was sastrugi which made for tricky skiing, but I kind of expected that given how windy it was/had been up there.

raoshilpa - Dec 23, 2021 12:22 pm Date Climbed: Jul 28, 2019

Shilpa R  Sucess!

Went with the Portworx, Inc crew, but most importantly my dad, Goutham Rao. Thank you Oksana and Alex for taking us up there!


antsanta - Sep 23, 2021 8:56 pm Date Climbed: May 9, 2021

Almost but not quite

Came up just short. Partner got ES around 11k feet but pushed on until around 13.5k feet. Decided we needed to turn back due to weather and a fast closing summit window. Did it all in one day which was not the best decision. A great learning experience and look forward to being back next year to try again hopefully.


Frenchy - Jun 27, 2020 5:40 pm Date Climbed: Jun 19, 2020

Under the Red Banks  Sucess!

Starting at 3:25 am I started the climb from Helen Lake. The night was perfect and the weather too. The snow had time to freeze back making it easy to walk over and not slide with crampons. Because my partner did not feel well, i went up by myself, as I was moving up the initial slope toward the bottom of the heart i contemplated going left, under the Red Banks, rather than right and over, the classic route.

As i came close to it i opted for left and under. That route is more exposed and more challenging. It is maybe also a little longer and not for people that are using their crampon for the first time. It is a long hike on an inclined slope that get steeper as you get up. It is clearly more technical than the classic route. Your ankles are going to feel it.

Part of the challenge is as you get toward the top of the heart, is to make sure you take the right path under the Red Banks so that you are going up stable snow. I came down the normal route on the right side of the heart and the snow was consistent from top to bottom of the slope, but on the left side this was not the case. As i was getting up and closer to the top, I decide to exit on the left side and up to the ridge. Going straight under the top ridge and out felt more exposed than i wanted. It took me 3.45hours for me from Helen Lake to the top of this route. That day i was the only one to go up that route.

Once out then joined misery hill to the summit plateau. On my way to misery hill, I passed by where last year my friend Rick and I exited the Whitney glacier.

Great day, great climb!


cascadescrambler - Jul 26, 2019 10:06 pm Date Climbed: Jul 29, 1995

Mount Shasta  Sucess!

Avalanche Gulch up. Spectacular glissade down

elindsey - Jul 15, 2019 1:52 pm Date Climbed: Jul 14, 2019

Early Morning Whiteout  Sucess!

We started climbing from lake Helen at 2:30am. Almost immediately it became a whiteout and it was hard to find the boot tracks. We started following a group ahead of us but after about an hour we got off track. My partner had all trails the phone app and so we were about to traverse right and find the well established boot track. It took us 3 hrs to get to thumb rock and the bergschrund was barley navigable. From there it cleared and took us. 1 hr 40 mins to the top. Overall great climb but wouldn’t have made it past thumb rock if the weather hadn’t cleared. Also would have taken one of the chutes in the red banks if I were to go again, we just got lucky that it was a late season.

NW Adventures

NW Adventures - May 17, 2019 11:41 am Date Climbed: May 11, 2019

Summit (With Video)  Sucess!

Great route climbed on May 11th. there was a lot of ice fall mid day a climber actually got air lifted out from a fall at Red Banks... but great hike I Made a video along the way check it out!


NorCalNomad - Apr 28, 2019 10:42 am Date Climbed: Apr 27, 2019

Amazing day of climbing and skiing   Sucess!

Camped at Helen. Started about 6:30am. Summited at 12. Had an AMAZING ski down lookers left of the Heart (Perfect corn from 13k to 8k). Good number of people on the mountain but definitely didn't feel crowded at all.


NorCalNomad - Nov 5, 2018 9:46 am Date Climbed: Oct 13, 2018

Only to Misery

Friend and I tried to do a strike mission from sea level to summiting Shasta in under 24hrs.

Started at Bunny Flat around 5am. Got up to Misery at 2pm and turned back due to time and AMS. Got back to the car at 7pm with stopping at 11,200ft to nap for 25minutes and refill water from runoff.

There was enough snow and two solid ice patches in the Red Banks to climb straight up through.

Pretty sure we would have made it if we'd acclimatized since the weekend before we'd both done 4k climbs+descents at altitude under 4hrs, but with at least a day and night at 5-7k before.

ljwoodw - May 30, 2018 3:44 pm Date Climbed: May 27, 2018

One day climb and ski descent  Sucess!

Started around 3:40 at Bunny Flat. Snow started right around Horse Camp. Skinning was a bit of a strugglefest through parts of the gulch and we switched to crampons before Lake Helen. Headwall was filled with people who had likely turned around at the top of the Red Banks. Got hit on the arm by a decent-sized ice ball.

Extremely windy towards the top, especially with skis strapped to our packs. Summitted around 10:40 and started skiing around 13,800 feet. A bit icy up top, but all in all, 6000 feet of glorious descent. Felt the elevation and the morning struggles fade away with each turn.


SuperChthonic - May 5, 2018 6:25 pm Date Climbed: Jun 27, 2010

Crowded route  Sucess!

The few times I’ve done this route I’ve found less climbers equals more fun.


Kristalea - Apr 17, 2018 12:30 pm Date Climbed: Jun 12, 2016

Life Changing  Sucess!

My first mountaineering climb. Great weather. Started summit ascent at 9,400'. Took 16 hours total to make it back to the trailhead.


sgenise - Sep 8, 2017 11:23 am Date Climbed: May 29, 2017


Altitude grabbed me at the top of the red banks! Coming back next year though


Harvest - Aug 2, 2017 3:09 pm Date Climbed: Mar 13, 2017

Red Banks  Sucess!

Red Banks Chimneys variation.


Simkin - Jun 2, 2016 2:36 pm Date Climbed: May 19, 2007

Avalanche Gulch  Sucess!

Clear weather. I think everybody who tried summitted that day. However the next day was foggy and everyone turned back.

Larry Laverty

Larry Laverty - May 21, 2016 5:22 pm Date Climbed: May 18, 2016

Avalanche Gulch  Sucess!

Beautiful, sunny, warm, calm day. Route snow-covered, beginning to end. Hard on the way in, soft on the way out. For a moment, I imagined John Muir on the route during his historic climb.

tarushbali - May 8, 2016 6:14 pm Date Climbed: May 2, 2016

Avalanche Gulch   Sucess!

Lots of snow all the way from Bunny Flat Trailhead. Straightforward climb but is very crowded.

CallMeBrown - Feb 14, 2016 8:13 pm Date Climbed: Sep 25, 2010

Late season Shasta climb  Sucess!

Tristan and I summited via Avalanche Gulch route. Spent night at Helen Lake and left for summit at 330a. Route above Helen Lake was icy and hard. To mix things up, ice climbed through one of the middle Red Banks chutes. Little to no snow above Red Banks made Misery Hill and summit pinnacle straight forward and painless. Down the route and back to car at Bunny Flat by noon.


colinr - Sep 8, 2015 3:47 pm Date Climbed: May 24, 2015

Finally  Sucess!

Finally got around to climbing Shasta. Busy weekend on the mountain, but I enjoyed a fun, scenic, and warm dayhike from Sand Flat, up AG, and then down the West Face Gully.

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