The sky was clear and the view was vast. Stuck my finger in one of the fumaroles which resulted in what only can be described for lack of a better term as fart fingers. Smelled like that all day and into the first round of chips and salsa at Shasta City's finest Mexican Restaurant. (Must be the frosty mugs)
In the Banos, I washed my hands of Shasta for this year with designs on the better-looking, more alpine Hotlum Glacier route.
Climbed with Miguel Forjan in white-out conditions. My glasses froze over and I had to take them off for the last 3000 feet of gain or so--good thing there were no views to miss out on that day!
SP member hashfxn and I climbed Casaval. We started from very bottom of the ridge, and ascended straight up to 13.3k, not noticing the easy variation which we were going for.
We did not summit, but nonetheless completed all of the route.
Very poor snow conditions at all elevations led to incredibly slow progress; large snowshoes might have helped, though they would not have eliminated the problem. A party on the WF mentioned encountering similar snow, forcing them to turn around at 11k. They *did* have snowshoes...
A storm moved in that night, with high winds, snow, and whiteout, though Lake Helen only got drizzle. We descended to 13k for an emergency bivy, since 40mph winds and below freezing temps, combined with a whiteout, were not condusive to reaching Lake Helen. Winds increased as the night went on, and we descended the next day.
Excellent glissading conditions on AG at basically any time of day, except below about 9k where snow was too slushy. Postholing to the waist was the rule, not the exception, so be prepared...
First time on Shasta. Perfect blue sky the whole time, a bit of wind above red banks on summit day. Left Helen at 3:30am and summited by 7:45.
Climbed with the U.S. Marines during the Summer Mountain Leaders course. Great trip.
Summitted on what they tell me was the best weather day all year. Clear skies and no wind except on the plateau below the summit. Only problem was it was too nice (warm) and the snow was a little too soft. Post holed some on the way up, and post holed the whole way down. Glissading was not easy. On the upside you never had to worry about going to fast! Very few people on the mountain on a Thursday made it all very pleasant.
Group of six of us made summit on the 4th. Beautiful day; conditions were just about perfect up there with little to no wind. Awesome uninterrupted 2500+ ft glissade from the Red Banks all the way into camp at Lake Helen.
#1 06-25-2005 Climbed with nebben. Misery Hill appropriately named. Experience at summit most enjoyable since the wind was light and variable (an exception, I am told). Clouds during final hour of descent brought the vis down to 100'-200'. A climb I will never forget. #2 07-27-2019 w/ Lana. 1st day climb to Helen Lake; 2nd day climb to summit and descend all the way down and out to Bunny Flat TH. 4+45 to summit from campsite at Helen Lake. Solid snow from Helen Lake to 13,200' on Misery Hill. Several smaller snowfields between there and the summit but no need for crampons past 13,200'. Bluebird day. Nice glissades below the red banks and even below Helen Lake.
Did some skiing. Great conditions still. Snow starts at about 1/4 mile from bunny flat.
Good conditions, although it was very windy and cold on top.
Perfect weather, perfect snow, but the beef jerky I brought nearly made my entire bowels erupt. We felt virtually no wind at the top, which was so damn cool. On the way down, we encountered thunder and deteriorating weather (graupel) just past the Red Banks. I walked/slid on foot with ski poles all the way to the parking lot. I've never been so exhausted after a climb like this before. Bunny Flats - summit - Bunny Flats ~ 13.5 hours.
Thanks to Misadventures for keeping the beer cold and the great food at base camp hot.
1st attempt at this altitude and it was definitely a workout for me, the novice. SMG guided us and our whole gang (all 6 of us) were led up from 50-50 at 3:45 am to the summit at about 10:30am. Not bad for a bunch of hackers. SMG ROCKS! Excellent services and well trained guides. Beautiful day, awesome summit, and great people.
Second attempt; glad to have it done! Snowed in the early evening at Helen Lake on the 10th, then cleared up for and icy night. Left camp at 6am; reached the summit at 11:45. Great snow for cramponing. The summit was clear until mid afternoon. Awesome glissade from the Banks to Helen!
Absolutely perfect snow and weather conditions. Longest glissade of my life. Great climb!
There was no one else on the entire North side of the mountain except for our small group of 3 climbers!
What a big, beautiful mountain! Went with a group from Shasta Mountain Guides. This was my 11th Cascade summit and my first guided climb. Turned out to be a very enjoyable and educational experience. I was a little skeptical about a bivy at Horse Camp and having such a long summit day, but the early alpine start seemed to work out well. As we were approaching Red Banks, the weather up high looked really sketchy. However, everything seemed to clear up nicely as we headed up Misery Hill. This proved to be a great climb and a long day (13 hour round trip). Adding to the enjoyment was the fact that this was a weekday climb. On the descent I could see all the weekend warriors heading up the route. Glad we were going the other way!!
If you're from Oregon (or Washington) and looking for Cascade snow, look no further than Mt. Shasta. It still feels like winter/early spring up there.
More challenging than expected but a great experience.
We camped at Helen Lake the night before our summit attempt. Snow storm right at bedtime.
Left at 6:00 AM for the summit. Not many groups heading up. Cloudy around the Red Banks but great weather otherwise.
Two-day ascent, camped at Lake Helen.
Conditions: The snow was pretty nice after the recent snow and deep melt/freeze cycle. Snowshoes not needed here early in the day.
Many smaller avalanches visible, starting slightly below Lake Helen, all the way up to Red Banks.
Clear weather on summit night, the snow was great for crampons, all the way up to the summit, with a few exceptions (large unstable "hollow" ice slabs).
Beware of Red Banks. As usual, there was lots of debris; at 8am or so, lots of ice falling. I was hit in the knee with a small baseball-sized ice projectile, and boy did it hurt! Definitely take a helmet now (a few people didn't). Lots of ice from around 12k to the summit.
Mushy snow on descent.
Great, clear weather, a very fun trip! Despite another horrible case of AMS I still made it, albeit in an un-heroic fashion.
Elena and I started out from Bunny Flat trailhead at 5 AM (late). Headed up Green Butte Ridge to get our share of splendid views that opened up from there. Stayed on the ridge until slightly above Helen Lake, then crossed into Avalanche Gulch without losing elevation (this might not be possible or could be quite difficult in different weather or snow conditions). Elena descended from here by the standard route and I continued up (not a wise decision considering it was already past 1 PM). I got some relief from the scortching heat in the gulch only after I climbed through one of the chutes in the Red Banks. From here on the wind was steadily getting stronger. Clouds started forming. I reached the top of the Misery Hill in a whiteout. Flags really helped me to find my way in this section. I finally scrambled to the summit at 5:30 PM. Obviously, there was no one there at that time. Now the clouds were mostly below me, racing towards me from the west at 40 mph and breaking like ocean waves at the base of the summit block. Every now and then a part of the view would open up on one side or another only to disappear in a split second. It was as if pictures of other worlds were shown to me, flashed before my eyes, vanishing too quickly, before I could discern any particular features. The beauty of this magical display almost made me forget that I should go back. Alas, I could not linger.
The way back turned out to be a lot harder than I expected. Snow in Avalanche Gulch had softened so much that it was impossible to glissade. Post-holing with every step from the Red Banks to Helen Lake required a lot of effort. One of the climbing rangers came up to me to make sure I was OK (they are doing a great job of spotting weary climbers). He told me that splitting up the group was not a good idea and that climbing on so late was a big mistake. I totally agreed with him at that point. He asked me whether I had enough food, water, and extra clothing and allowed me to go on. Below Lake Helen the snow was not as bad, I was still sinking with every step but not quite up to my thighs as before. When I reached the parking lot at 9:45 PM I was completely exhausted. Despite reaching the summit I did not quite feel like a conqueror of the Mountain. I felt humbled in a certain way. The Mountain was kind enough to let me go unscathed. I could have paid a lot more dearly for my case of summit fever. As it was, I just had to apologize to very worried Elena who had been waiting for me at Bunny Flat since 4 PM.
Attempted to climb CR and decided to bail out after finding the bad snow conditions (temps above freezing during the night) and a short, but strong storm cell run through the area during the night May 27-28. Opted to get down from the base camp at 9800 ft. I shall come later in the season.