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?
My 1st 14er and it was a great time. We had planned going up Casaval Ridge but due to a lean snow year, we opted for the standard route. A great climb nonetheless and look forward to going back in the future.
Heckuva climb. Trip report here.
This was an excellent trip late in the season. Due to the low snow pack this year, the Mount Shasta Climbing Route Advisory was already telling people to come back next year, however, the climbing was still very nice. On Saturday afternoon I headed up to Lake Helen and slept in my 20°F bag and bivy (way too warm for the bivy). The next morning Carl, Van, and I started heading up to the Red Banks via the standard Climber's Right of Heart variation with the route going directly up into one of the chimneys. We reached the summit around 12:30pm where we were met by two rangers who were doing their best to scare everyone off the summit. As it turned out, there were lightning storms in local towns and the static was disrupting their cell phone reception. On the way down we avoided the chimneys by heading over to the Thumb Rock saddle, slipping through "the notch," and then slide-stepping down the eternal scree field. I even glissaded a bit at the bottom though the snow is now fairly dirty and not as fun. Although the low pressure system off the coast of Oregon had pushed the jetstream over Shasta for the weekend, we were lucky in that it only snowed for a bit during the morning and the rain stayed to the northeast of the mountain, leaving our route down clear and sunny. Overall this is a mountain with lots of character and amazing views.
This was the fifteenth and final summit of my CA 14er speed climbing tour! Check out the trip report here.
I did this climb solo (my first ever) from Bunny Flat to the summit in 7 hours. The conditions were good - very little wind on the mountain. I left Bunny Flat at 2:30am and made Lake Helen at 4:30am. The snowline started just above the camp at 10,400 ft. By 5am I was working my way up the rockfall littered snowfield toward the Red Banks. There were 2 other groups climbing ahead of me. I wanted to make sure I got through the rockfall area early in the morning. I took the right of the Heart route. Below the Red Banks I decided to go the most direct route up the first (far left) chimney. It looked easier than it was...the top of the chimney got very steep and icy. Not a good place to fall. Later when I was descending I talked to a climber who was resting as his buddy climbed the same route...without wearing crampons!! That is nuts. I made the base Misery Hill after getting out of the chimney (it was full of rocks at the top). My legs were feeling fried from the non-stop climb so I rested. I continued on to the summit at what seemed like a snail's pace - walking 25 steps then resting. There was no need for crampons after the chimney. At 9:30am I made the summit where 5 other climbers were resting in the warm sun. The weather and views were fantastic! I descended via the notch by Thumb Rock as recommended by the climbing ranger (far left side of Red Banks) and walked carefully down the steep red rock to the snowfield. After making a slow descent (my feet were giving me some problems) and not glissading (rocks in the chute) I made it back to the car at 4:30pm. All in all a great climb and my first solo expedition. Final thoughts... going solo is tougher mentally than I thought (something about walking in pitch blackness with a headlamp on for hours with not a soul in sight)...but once I made it to Lake Helen I knew I would reach the summit.
Went up with my pops, ivanthedark and a friend from berkeley. The Hotlum-Wintun Glacier route is fantastic fun for intermediate climbers.
Without a doubt my favorite solo climb of a peak in the lower 48.
Joel Ward, his brother Dan and I climbed via Avalanche Gulch on July 6 & 7, 1999. We arrived at the Bunny Flat Trail headaround 10:00 a.m. After the usual registartion paperwork was finished and we picked up our potty bags, we were finally on our way. The stroll through the woods to Horse Camp was very pleasant, although a bit dusty as it is a well used trail. We talked to several day hikers along the way. After partaking of the fresh spring water and taking a few pictures at Horse camp, we continued on our way. There was no snow along the trail, although the loose rock and scree made for some slippery spots, until we reached 50/50 flat. It has been a continual uphill trudge so far. Here the trudge was now through soft afternoon snow to reach camp at Helen Lake. The views were fabulous and we drank in the beauty that was all around. After setting up camp we visited with several of the other climbers who were there. I didnit bring my water filter/pump, thinking that we would just melt snow. There was a nice little snow melt stream and a couple of other climbers who brought pumps and let us use them. Thanks!! The sunset was spectacular. Several people went over to Casaval Ridge to watch it. After a restless night, excitement over the the next day, we were up at 5, had a hot breakfast and started out at 6 am. Hind sight tells me we should have started out sooner. We headed up Avalanche Gulch (which is much steeper than it appears), went to the right of the Heart and up through the Red Banks. We kept up a steady pace. Near the base of the Red Banks, we met a group that had left much sooner that us but was having some difficulty. They would race up and then stop to catch their breath. Unfortunately at this altitude that technique doesn’t work well. Dan talked to them about pacing your breathing with your walking. We also met a family on their way down who said they had been “blown off Misery Hill.” They were right. At Misery Hill the winds became pretty strong, but not so much as to hold us back. We stayed right along a line of rocks to the right edge of the hill and that seemed to block the wind a bit. As we reached the summit plateau it seemed as if the ‘fan” had suddenly been turned off. The summit plateau is a big ice field. When we reached the far side and were ready to start up the final climb we could smell the sulfer fron the hot springs here. We finally summited at 1pm. The view was awesome. The number of people at the summit was also quite a surprise. After the usual pictures and visiting we headed back down. As we headed back across the summit plateau we met again the group we had passed at the Red banks. They were doing much better and looked like they were going to make it. We did not follow the same route back down Misery Hill. Instead we circled around near the head of Konwakiton Glacier to the Red Banks The glissade from here was very exhilarating, although the snow was getting a little mushy as we neared camp. We packed up and headed down the hill. I had knocked my water bottle over after we had everything packed and the climbers with the pumps were gone. I was pretty dehydrated by the time we arrived at Horse Camp. I must have downed 64 oz of that cold spring water in no time. Once rehydrated, the rest of the trip was quite pleasant. What an awesome trip.
Crowded climb on a fourth of July week end. Latecomers had trouble finding a flat spot to camp on at Helen lake. With an early start we were on the summit around 8:00 am; the glissade down was even quicker. Beautiful day for a stroll.