Lassen Peak in Winter
We parked at the southern entrance station and skied/hiked/ snow shoed in just under 6 miles (we cut off over a mile of the regular road with a few steep shortcuts) and pitched our tents at the Lassen Peak Trailhead as the sun was setting. There were no other climbers at the base and that made for a lovely change from the somewhat chaotic start of the hike in- apparently Lassen Peak on President's Day weekend attracts a LOT of children. Thankfully, most of them only hiked a mile or so up the snowy trail.
We got started around 5am the next morning and pushed an additional 1.5 miles to the summit. The climbing was excellent- the early start made cramponing absolutely perfect. We cut off a fair number of the switchbacks by taking a more direct route up to the main ridgeline (partially because it was dark and having to navigate switchbacks on an unmarked trail is a pain). The terrain was never that steep (40 degrees max), but with hard snow and some big run-outs, crampons and an axe were great.
Later in the day, its possible to skin all the way up to the summit although ski crampons would probably be very helpful. We summited just after 7am, and arrived back at camp around 8:30am. Taking two days to climb this mountain under these conditions was super fun and pretty casual. It seems very possible to do this climb in one day with an alpine start, especially on skis because the 6 miles on the road out is all downhill.
Total Distance: 14.2 miles Time: 1 day for the ~6 mile approach, 1 day to summit and exit Starting Elevation: 6,744’ (southern park entrance) Summit Elevation: 10,336’
If you want more info on this trip, including an equipment list and additional photos, check out the blog post on it here
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