High on Mount Shasta
An old Air Force buddy of mine and I had just finished Mount Whitney's Mountaineers Route where we got hit with snow each day. We had thought about doing the East Face but the fresh snow and cold changed our minds. My friend then wanted to climb Mount Shasta, a mountain we had been prevented from climbing previously because of storms.
We would pick up a rock climbing friend of mine in Chico and then drive up to Weed
for the night. Coming across I-80 I saw on the map what looked like a short cut through a town called Grass Valley
. Turned out to be the longest way between two places...the road was narrow and of endless hairpin turns and definitely NO Short Cut!
Got to my friends house and he wasn't home and had no knowledge of us coming. After waiting a few hours and with the sun going down we checked the windows. I don't know what got into us but we found a bathroom window unlocked and crawled in. On the table was a shopping bag full of buds and we wondered if we were now part of a sting operation. To be on the safe side we laid out our sleeping bags on the porch outside. Late that night before we got to sleep my friend showed up. We decided to leave very early the next morning but before we went to sleep my friends sampled the contents of the bag.
Since I was the most alert person when the alarm went off I was elected to do the driving. This also allowed them to continue sampling and I don't remember much after that till we were hiking up to Avalanche Gully where we planned on making camp at "Lake Helen". We got there between 9 & 10 am and thought it would be a long time waiting till night and might as well go for it. Got up to Red Banks without any problem and then on to the summit. One of the things I wanted to do was see the hot springs below the summit that John Muir had used to survive a storm long ago. The water wasn't deep enough to bath in but it did seem like it could save your life in survival conditions.
When we climbed down the Red Banks my friend from Chico wanted to "Glissade" down to Lake Helen. We had made good time climbing up because the slope made such perfect cramponing. We thought it too icy for glissading but he still wanted to try it. As he chopped a platform to sit so he could take off his crampons and prepare for launching, the two of us began walking down so we would be in better position to "help him" when he came to rest.
He took off like a dragster in the quarter mile. It appeared he lost his axe trying to slow himself after 50' and we watched him try to retrieve it, as he had no leash on it. He slid (fortunately no tumbles) approximately 1000' and finally came to a stop. As we rushed down to him he was able to put on his crampons and got up to retrieve his axe nearby. Needless to say, his hands were like chopped liver but no other injuries. So ended our first ascent of Mount Shasta.