... with Caltech Alpine Club on their annual advanced mountaineering trip, on 04-05 Apr' 2009, via the Casaval Ridge (class 4)
Great day on Casaval Ridge. Started at 2:30 am from BunnyFlats and was able to climb on the ridge with just the light of the stars and the cresent moon...epic! Summitted around 10:00 and desended via Avalanche gulch and was at the Trailhead by 1:00. As EastKing mentioned the gulch is icey so don't plan on glissading the whole thing. I used about 4 1/2 liters of water and don't forget the sunscreen and sunglasses! Also snowshoes were absolutley needed on the way out, unless you enjoy 2000 feet of postholing!
We were very lucky to get this peak. It was very icy in the Red Banks area. Lots of blue ice mixed with a dusting of powder. You could not glissade until 1200 feet above Lake Helen. That be said it was great to honor Tom on the summit. Posthole galore below Lake Helen.
Certainly fortunate to catch a break in the weather, we postponed our original start date of Friday 5/28 to Saturday. Good call that was! We made it to Helen and set up among the masses - and the solar oven of UV - and went to bed at sundown for a 1:30 am wakeup call. Our group of 6 made great time up to and through the Red Banks. By Misery Hill, the wind was biting cold, but we kept a steady pace up to the summit by 7 am. Clouds were rolling in as we descended, but cleared by the time we made it back to Lake Helen and camp. Great trip, great group!
Good times and fun turns with Matt and Robin but no summit to be seen. we tried the ridge route but was not meant to be.
Camped near first window ~9800'. Windy and cold, but great snow conditions, firm and consolidated. Catwalk was in great shape. Descended Avalanche Gulch and traversed back to camp.
Route climbed: Hotlam-Bolam Ridge
Date climbed: 21-June-2009
Climbed with Justin and Anastasia, their first time on the Great Snowy One.
Camped at Marine's Camp (10800') on Saturday .. whiteouts, thunder and light snow overnight. Sunday awoke to 0.5 inch of new snow and chilly temps (20's) but clear conditions and good snow cover on the route. Beautiful day to be on the mountain !
Route Climbed: Green Butte -> Sargents Ridge
Date Climbed: 16-March-2009
Camped on Green Butte. Route above 11600' wasn't really in condition, so I did a lot of scrambling in crampons (class 2-3 mostly) and some steep snow traversing on the west (left) side of the ridge. Fantastic views.
Glissaded down Avy Gulch to Helen Lake, then traversed back to Green Butte Ridge and postholed for 2 hours.
Unseasonably warm and calm weather.
Date climbed: 13-April-2008
Route climbed: West Face Gully
Camped in Hidden Valley on Saturday, then did WFG on Sunday. Started around 3:30am, reached gully exit around 8:30. Atop summit ~10-ish.
Partly cloudy weather, very windy from the W or SW above 13500', even on the summit !
Summer trail to Hidden Valley was about halfway melted out above ~8900' and wanded.
Route Climbed: Hotlum-Wintun Ice Chute
Date Climbed: 3-Sept-2006
Climbed with Calvin Kilcrease. Started from high camp around 10000' below Hotlum-Wintun snowfield, got to 13000' and thought about crossing to climber's right into left Hotlum ice gully, but decided to just go straight up instead, since there looked to be a lot of blue ice up there.
Started simulclimbing around 13000' with Calvin in the lead. I led the simulclimbing after about two rope lengths, and then Calvin did the rest. Around 13700' or so we got back on the scree and scrambled to the summit.
The ice was mostly about 35-40 degrees, perhaps 40-45 at the most, with a lot of features. Highly aerated near the surface, but with some digging good ice for screws could be found. Fun easy climbing.
Descended the Hotlum-Wintun Ridge route, which was mostly suncupped and a bit hard above the moraine crossing, but nice and soft for standing glissades back on the Hotlum-Wintun snowfield - fun !
Weather was partly cloudy and breezy at times. Snow was nice and hard in the morning for cramponing. By 11-ish as we topped out the chute I could see meltwater forming on the ice from the morning sun - the chute faces east - glad we started early !
Route Climbed: Whitney Glacier
Date Climbed: 25-June-2006
Climbed with Steve Larson, Kris, and Sean Robbins (from CMC). Great company, good conditions, fantastic trip.
Camped Saturday at Marine's Camp (10700') to climber's right of Northgate high camp area. Alpine start on Sunday at 4:30am, traversed lower Bolam glacier (didn't bother to rope up here) to about 10650' overlooking Whitney glacier.
Roped up at 6am, headed out across a minor and well-frozen debris-laden icefall to center of glacier and headed up. Glacier conditions good after about 11000' or so. Around 11500 - 12000' was perhaps the steepest and most heavily-crevassed area (40-45 degrees) but it was short and the snowbridges were still well frozen.
Upper section was mild, and we decided to veer left and head up the 'direct finish' - the backside of Misery Hill. This section was sustained 35-40 degrees. We exited onto the summit plateau around 9:30am.
Descended back to camp via Hotlum-Bolam Ridge and back to cars around 2-ish. Hot weather in general. We were frying Saturday afternoon, but found some bouldering and shade amid the pinnacles. Camp was on dry ground with snow slopes nearby for brewing water. Apparently lots of great bivy / tent sites in that area.
Route climbed: Casaval Ridge (catwalk variation)
Date climbed: 10-June-2006
Started from 10300' high camp on the ridge at 4:25am, atop Casaval Ridge by 8. The catwalk was in fine shape due to a late season snowstorm a couple weeks prior.
Met up with cp0915 and his friend Mark on the summit plateau (they had come up Avy Gulch from Horse Camp). Saw thebeave7's summit register entry from the previous day.
Descended West Face Gully to 11500 or so, then traversed over to lower Casaval back to my camp.
Lots of rime ice above 12000'. Weather was a bit breezy, but otherwise pleasant. Some clouds moved in around 10-ish but the wind died down. Most people I talked to traversed to the west face instead of the going up the catwalk in the mistaken belief that it was melted out.
Route climbed: West Face Gully
Date climbed: 13-May-2006
Went up the West Face Gully from high camp in Hidden Valley with Andrea D. Robert O. made the trip from Bunny Flat with us but didn't go up the route. John organized the trip via CMC initially, but couldn't join us due to illness. Get well soon John !
It was as perfect a day on Shasta as I have ever seen it - cloudless, mild temps, good snow, not much wind at all, and a full moon for climbing. We started at 2am, attained the top of the west face by 7:30, atop summit by 9:30. Met people who had been up Avy Gulch, Casaval and even Sargent's Ridge. The air was clear - Lassen and McLoughlin could be clearly seen.
Downclimbed gully to about 11500', then glissaded a bit. Took the variation to the climber's right of the gully, traversing just above a large pointed rock where the slope was easier and glissaded as much as the slushy snow allowed. Back in camp by 1pm.
Route Climbed: Hotlum-Bolam Ridge to Avy Gulch north-south traverse
Date Climbed: 10-July-2005
Climbed Hotlum-Bolam Ridge with Mark Wetters, ascending to the summit plateau, where we decided that the summit pinnacle (which we had both seen multiple times) was not of much interest. Descended Avy Gulch (car shuttle). Clear but windy weather.
Got a late start from northgate (5am) and had originally intended to go place some pickets, discuss rope handling, etc. after some funky weather Saturday night, but at a break near high camp decided to just go for it when we saw that things were clear. So we carried rope, pickets, and glacier gear up to 14000' and back down again. Miserable postholing on, ahem, Misery Hill, but conditions in the Gulch were dreamy for glissading.
The Thumb Rock route is probably inadvisable right now - almost fell into the Konwakiton moat. Plenty of snow in the chutes through the Red Banks though.
btw Talked to party near northgate who climbed the right Hotlum ice gully, but reported that it was packed with snow - looked it, too.
Route Climbed: Left Hotlum Headwall Ice Gully
Date Climbed: 29-August-2004
Alpine ice seminar with Shasta Mountain Guides. High camp around 12000' was near one of the icefalls and the snowfield between the Hotlum and Wintun glaciers. Spent time reviewing crevasse rescue, running belays, ice screw placement, various ice axe / crampon techniques, and even toproped some crevasses. Final day climbed 6 pitches of 55 degree alpine ice. Great fun and very useful for later adventures ...
Route Climbed: Hotlum Glacier to the Step
Date Climbed: 24-July-2004
Took a glacier travel / crevasse rescue seminar with Shasta Mountain Guides that included a summit climb. Started from the northgate high camp at 4am, roped up around sunrise (5:30-ish), climbed the west Hotlum glacier route, crossed two snow bridges, then up The Step to the rocky area above, and summitted at 11:30. Usual crowds present. Returned via Hotlum-Bolam ridge, which had patches of blue ice exposed, making for a hairy descent. Views of the crevasses, headwall, etc. were excellent. Fantastic weather, though predictably it clouded up in the afternoon. Nice boot-skiing on the low-angle snowfield just above camp. Interestingly, many dragonflies were out in this area.
Route Climbed: Avalanche Gulch
Date Climbed: 20-June-2004
Started at 3am from Horse Camp, arrived at 5 or so at Helen Lake, and the summit by 10. Most folks went up through the Red Banks. Misery Hill was mostly a scree trail. Fantastic weather - only 20-30mph winds on the summit plateau and calm/sunny on the summit itself. The glissade chute through the Banks looked a bit too steep & icy so downclimbed in the softening snow and then glissaded a bit below, which was excellent.
start hiking around 12am from bunny flat trailhead, summit at 1pm, ride my snowboard down, reach parking lot around 5pm. I was Exhausted, but worth it.
I made it to the Sargents/Green Butte junction in January, but low snow made the route too slow-going and technical to continue. This time we had better snow, but a low start (road closure was at 5,000 ft!) This made for a long day between the approach, trail breaking from Bunny Flat, route finding difficulties through the cliffs, and my partner's 'tweaked' leg acting up near the end of the route and really slowing our descent. All in all it was 26 hrs car-to-car, 22.5 miles & 9,400' of gain done on 800 calories of food. Next time I'll bring more snacks for this route!
Even with full snow conditions, I found the traverse through the gendarmes far harder in terms of route finding, steepness, and hazards. Definitely my favorite route on the mountain so far!
Another great climb with my dad. Perfect weather, camped at Helen Lake. Summited 10 am, beautiful views. Clouds came in fast during decent and there was poor visibility on our way back to Helen Lake. Amazing to see how fast the weather changes up there.
Beautiful, but abnormally warm on the mountain. Camped at Helen Lake, left camp at 4:30 am for summit attempt. Made it 3/4 up Misery Hill before altitude sickness gave reason to turn around.
Taken as a Day ascent via Cassaval and as a winter assault via Cassaval --> Avy Gulch --> summit. This mountain will teach you everything you could ever hope to know with all of it's routes.
Via the north side. Got to the top and the wind had cleaned off a lot of the snow.
Climbed with Shredder (Russ Barrett). Done the face, but the anthill is a bit tedious, I usually do the Casaval Ridge, completed solo May, 2007
Climbed twice... something strange always seems to happen. First time I had seen a "labyrinth"!
Excellent conditions late in the season. Firm snow up through the Redbanks and summit plateau. Previous 3 trips were turned back due to avvy conditions or high winds. Would like to return in 2010 in full snow coverage conditions.
Climbed this on my way south moving from WA to CA. Just beat the snow moving in on my way down, closer than I like to cut it.
Bivy on the ridge, what a tremendous climb. Must go back to ski it.
went with my friend James. Struggled up to high camp at completely snowed-over Lake Helen, but then had a really great day the following morning, ascended in about four hours, the weather was great, although pretty windy.
Back in the day, this was a viable route and done in one day. It was snowing when we started, and we were on snow the whole route. We crossed over Green Butte Ridge into Avalanche Gulch and up toward the Red Banks. While still in the clouds, I was a bit nervous about small projectiles whizzing by. You could hear them rather than see them. Just before we reached Misery Hill we broke through the clouds and the views were spectacular. The trip down wasn't as fun as the snow became slushy on the lower slopes. Climbed with my brother-in-law.
Climbed Shasta many times, all on north side routes.