May '98: Memorial Day weekend, 800 registered climbers, rediculously busy, but clear skies.
May '99: Memorial Day weekend, another 800 registered climbers. Lake Helen had about 75 tents, was yours one of them? On the descent, a young climber lost his axe while glissading from Red Banks and came to a stop 1000' down. Learn to use your axe!
Fun route and great summit. Misty weather but no real problems. Watch the ice in the Red Banks and wear a helmet.
This was the hardest climb I've ever done, and my first 14er. What made the climb great was the people I was with. Shoutout to all the Adventure Treks students in the California Challenge 1 (plus to Liz, Emilie, Liza, and Tim, and Larissa, Ben, Linda, Cait)((Plus Sam and Diana for being brave enouph to stop)). It's your freinds who make the summit worth while! And Plus to all the other peeps who got there too, and those who didn't, you're all amazing.
To people who don't know Adventure Treks is an amazing outdoor program for teens 13-18. We do the coolest things with the coolest people. Interested? Check it out! www.adventuretreks.com
This was a great adventure and although we only got to about 12,000 feet, I enjoyed this climb as much as when I summited 9 years ago via the Avalanche Gulch route.
Roundtrip time was 5 hours longer than last year, but it was fun going to the top with my younger brother. Trip Report
Climb was planned for June 7, 8, and 9th, 2002. Afternoon of 6/8 clouds rolled in. Later in the afternoon snow and high winds (40mph+) started hitting our camp at 50/50 Flat. In the morning (2:00am) the storm had intensified to 50mph+ so a summit attempt was called off. Retreated down the Climber's Gully the morning of the 9th. For those who are interested, this was part of a three day Intro to Mountaineering Course and I will post the details of this in a trip report within the next week or two.
Awesome day! After two days of questionable weather Sunday cleared up very nicely. No wind, cool in the morning and very warm later in the day. Climbed with two good friends, sford and forjan. We all summited by 9:30 AM. My fourth summit.
We started off late in the afternoon because we were waiting to see what the weather would do. As we started out, the wind picked up speed. It got worse as we set up camp. We were so tired we were hoping that the weather would stay bad and give us a rest day, but, at 2:00am the weather was calm and clear, so we ate our breakfast and started climbing. We summited at 12:30pm. As far as we could tell, not only did we have the summit to ourselves, we were the only people on the whole mountain. The ridge was pretty easy, though there was a lot less snow than normal. Having all the chossy boulders covered in snow would have been better. It's true what people say, misery hill is truly miserable!
Snowshoed to window at 10,000ft. Postholed knee deep even in snowshoes. Storm warning broadcast. Made camp. Extremely strong winds throughout the night. Dug out in the morning. White out, heavy snow fall and strong winds prevented further progress. Returned to hot-tub at ground level. Will attempt again in spring.
Windy enough that Rangers were trying to turn use back. Still well worth it.
Synne and I poached this peak. Camped at the tiny saddle at the base of the ridge. A much better route than the avalanche gulch slog. A storm was breathing it's last with strong winds and light snow on the approach to camp.
We woke up at 2:00am, brewed and chewed, and were out climbing before 3:00am. Hustled up the ridge, with a few curious third class steps to crawl over, cluncky plastic boots make this more interesting. Took a rope, never needed it. Got to the summit ALONE at 12:30pm. Just the two of us on a very popular mountain.
Hustled down avalanche gulch, wearily traversed back to camp and collapsed. 3 hours later another storm hit and screamed at us all afternoon\night. Hah! We caught our window and used all of it. This takes some of the sting out of trying Rainier 5x and never summiting due to weather.
This was an intro. to climbing course for my wife and me shortly after we moved to Portland from NYC. Guided 2 night trip to summit with some basic schooling. Enough to get us hooked and started. The weather delivered - NICE. The guides were cool - the clients were a mix. Red banks were cool; summit was nice if a bit windy (loads of people on it).
We decided to go in early may to hopefully beat some of the summer crowds and get some good snow/winter like climbing - We did beat the crowds - only about 8 tents maybe at Helen lake - definitely go before the long weekend. We drove up Thursday, and Thursday afternoon we set out from Bunny flats and climbed to around 8000 ft and set up camp on the right side of lower avalanche gulch. Friday we started about 8 am and got to Helen lake around early-mid afternoon. Snowshoes were handy as we started punching through after 9-10 AM. We were in bed by 6 and rose around 2 am to start the summit push. Slight headache, but popping a couple advil did the trick. The moon was out full and no clouds so with the white snow, everything glowed so much we didn't need headlamps! Styrofoam snow conditions making the walk up on cramps very enjoyable. We cut through the red banks, and onto Misery hill at which point the wind started to really get moving and just below the summit ridge we decided to retreat as the winds were now 60 mph + . We literally had to dig in with cramps and axe while laying on the ground to stay in one place and you had to be less than an inch away from someone to hear them. So close, but it turned to be a good decision as the lenticular cloud that was starting to form grew and engulfed the rest of the mountain by noon. We felt strong, and happy knowing that it was weather that had turned us back and not conditioning.
We did a 2-day summit attempt, camping just under Helen Lake on Saturday night and Summit attempt on Sunday. The weather both days were just the best they could be, warm during the day, clear skies, and crisp nights, with little wind.
Alpine start on Sunday morning at 3:30a and eventually getting moving closer to 5a :) We reached Helen Lake and saw most of the folks either still sleeping or just getting up, there was also a large crowd working their way toward the Heart to climb towards Red Banks.
I was still weak from AMS that I got the day before and working slow for the next couple of hours towards Red Banks. Near the top, however, I got off the usual "stairs" beaten into the snow by the groups and started sprinting zig-zag style with crampons and ice axe up to Red Banks, trying to avoid the roped groups going slowly up the stairs.
Once at Red Banks, however, a combination of already battling against AMS and feeling the accomplishment of getting this far while feeling really crappy, along with clouds moving in quickly froma distance, we decided to end the summit attempt. Misery hill was remaining along with the summit plateau snowfield and then the actual summit, about 800' in all --- oh well, another day!
The descent was awesome --- by now, it was perfect glissade weather with sunny skies at lower elevations, softer snow, and thousands of feet of twists, turns, and great speed sliding down the volcano on our butts.
Next time, more time will be taken to get acclimitized to enjoy this beautiful place. This is one great mountain/volcano to play on and we'll be coming back for more and more, especially if you avoid the crowds on the popular weekends.
My first mountain. Rented crampons & ice axe, no training, no experience, no smarts. Ever try glissading with crampons on? Got classic AMS, but camped on the summit anyway. Survived, got smarter, and now enjoy myself much more. But, a great mountain to get started on!
Went up solo during the week in early September. No crowds and had most of Helen Lake to myself. Sunny weather all day with really strong wind gusts on the summit. Lots of debris falling off the Red Banks with golf ball sized rocks whizzing past me every 5-10 minutes. Climbed up and through a small notch in the center of the Red Banks. Snow was firm early in the morning and was softening up pretty good by late morning. Made the summit by 8:30am and had awesome views in every direction.
I've been fairly lucky with good weather on this mountain, & had my share of bad weather too. Ha! My most rewarding climb thus far has been Casaval Ridge! the views from the top are terrific. I really enjoy the whole experience of climbing Shasta, from cruizing around, eating, buying any last minute supplies, & finding a cheap hotel in the town of Shasta to grunting it up the mountain!
My second time atop Shasta (first time was in 9/93). This time the winds were calm and the weather beautiful. No complaints (other than some dehydration on the way down). When on the mountain in '93, we got a serious taste of those famous Shasta windstorms.
After reading Hammer's description (below) I thought I would put in my two cents worth. I can not over state how strong the wind was, the air temp had to be no more than 20 and with the wind chill, God only knows how cold it was. The nalgene bottles inside my pack were frozen solid. I was ahead of Hammer through the Red Banks, up to the base of Misery Hill. Not knowing the route and being more than a little confused at the time, I waited for him there. We found a little shelter just after reaching the summit plateau and rested there. I could only sit for a few minutes, because I needed to keep moving. It would have been easy to just sit there and die. Crossing the summit plateau there were many piles of frozen vomit, from the climbers before us. It was really strange. Looking out from my glacier glasses, from under all that clothing (I was wearing all of the cloths I brought) it was as if I was watching the whole thing on TV. I was in a kind of dream state I just kept thinking "One foot in front of the other." When we crossed the plateau the wind was blowing so hard that I thought the summit may be unsafe. It is actually fairly protected. But it was still cold. We signed the summit register and bailed.
The best training mt in the States. Head up on the weekend. Go car to car twice, or summit Sat, sleep at 10 or 11, and summit again Sunday.
Summit to Lake Helen.... 17 minutes...any other fast times?