Our party of four camped a few hundred feet below Lake Helen and left around 2:45 am. We stayed to the left hitting a few steeper pitches while avoiding all the other parties, climbing left of The Heart and then right and up through the Red Banks. On to Misery Hill and the Summit at 11:45 am. The standard route was very crowded as was the upper mountain.
Side note: My hydration system leaked in the first 1/2 hour, soaking my extra thermal clothes in my pack and leaving me with a partially filled Nalgene bottle for the entire climb. My advice to climbers is to leave the error prone hydration bladders to the approach hike and only use Nalgene bottles on summit bids.
A classic climb. Three days of clear and hot weather. Surrounded by tents at Helen Lake (approx. 120+ people). We shot lots of video, although not suitable for all ages. The route was pretty straight forward, with some heavy gusts above Misery Hill. This was our second attempt after a huge storm ended our first attempt last year. The summit was worth the wait.
Great weather on a great mountain. Helen Lake was packed so we got up at 2am thinking we would get ahead of the masses. Left camp at 3am and there were already 8 or 9 parties on route.
Route is in good condition. Glissade path through Red Banks is HUGE and ugly.
Awesome day and beautiful weather! Left the camp in Hidden Valley (~9,200') at 6am, reached the top of the West Face (~13,300') at 11:30am, and summited at 1:30pm. This is a one grueling snow route, much more fun than Avalanche Gulch! We took the variation to the right of the steep direct chute above Hidden Valley, which ended with the ridge traverse over ~50 degree snow field. So much for 'bypassing' steep snow :). Snow during the first half of the day was firm and icy which made it an easier ascent with crampons. In the afternoon it turned into 'mashed potatoes' perfect for sliding down and glissading.
All in all, unbelievable experience!
Second time up. Conditions were good, but the temps were a bit cold and the snow icy, making downclimbing to the heart necessary.
Lotsa’ loose rocks. My friend was nailed in the thigh with a huge rock, but fortunately was able to continue to the summit.
I camped at the trailhead Friday night and left for Helen Lake Saturday morning. After starting up from Helen Lake at 3:50 Sunday morning, I reached the summit solo at 9:20.
Snow conditions were perfect through the Red Banks chimneys, though some traversing over loose rock was necessary. Misery Hill was a misery as the altitude took a toll on my speed, but I didn't experience any symptoms of AMS.
Some day-hikers were complaining of headaches and nausea near the summit pinnacle, so those considering a day-hike should take this into account.
Great climb with Miguel, Raph, Alex and Jim. Awesome weather. My 5th summit.
We turned around at 11,000 feet after 14 climbers coming down the ridge said that the snow in the mixed climbing was too hard to penetrate easily with an ice axe and a rope was needed, which we lacked. My group then traversed into Avalanche Gulch at the highest flat point in hopes of camping there and summiting via that route to avoid the mixed climbing. Since we were pelted by chunks of rock and ice, and the snow was windswept to bullet proof ice, we decided to descend and try another day. I might have that day on June 29th as I try to climb the peak via the Cleer Creek route with some members of CHAOS (Cal Hiking and Outdoor Society)
Me and 2 others hiked into horse camp on Friday and spent the night for a 3:30AM summit attempt. The weather was cold and visibility was good. Reached Helen lake by 7:30am and the red banks by 10ish. One of my climbing partners turned back at the red banks. Winds started to pick-up but we able to summit by noon. The decent was harsh! Very slushy! Made it back to horse camp by 4:30.
We (10 of us) started out Friday Night and hiked to Horse Flats - soft snow, Saturday morning hiked up to Helen Lake - it was like walking up a giant slurpee. We had two small Avalanches up near Helen. We started out about 4:45 on Sunday morning. We could not see more then 10 to 15 feet. High winds turned the whole group back before Red Banks. Of course the sun came out when we were on the way down. We will return. We did have a good time. I met Shredder on the way up.
My first Shasta attempt, with Sebastien and Peter Altherr. Left Horse Camp @ 3.00 (probably my earliest "alpine" start (@ least until then)- ouch! Had uneventful march to summit, Sebastien and I arriving @ 11.20. Albeit a tad cold initially, great weather! Glissaded on the way down upon reaching Red Banks to below Lake Helen. We spoke with this beautiful girl (yousers!) briefly before continuing down to camp and collapsing.
11 August, 2001 (via Hotlum Glacier):
Summited for the 2nd time during glacier travel/crevasse rescue seminar, with Reid's group (R.I.P. Reid), of Shasta Mtn. Guides. Leaving camp (on the N side, ~10,000') @ 4.15, we proceeded up the Hotlum Glacier, going to the W of the upper ice fall. At the base of the headwall, we turned R (W), crossing the large bergschrund to gain 'the Step.' We then went up a steep gully to a notch, joining a steep, icy couloir. A dirt & scree hike to summit plateau ensued. Summited @ 11.23. We descended the Hotlum-Bolam ridge. Nice climb & beautiful day.
13 March, 2005:
Finally completed Casaval Ridge, with Matthias Seeger. After attempting this route 3-4 times before this without success, having been turned back for various reasons, this was extremely satisfying. Leaving Horse Camp @ 3.35 after sleeping 3 hrs & waking up to prepare @ 2.30, we topped out on the route ~ 12.20. Schwiezer Matthias skied down into Avalanche Gulch @ 11,500' or so. Reaching the summit ridge following the Catwalk (~13,400'; we could see the glacier), winds that I estimate were in excess of 90 mph posed a considerable problem. Lying flat to the ground & yelling to communicate, 2' from one another (& having limited success as such), we decided to descend. I've not been in a wind storm of that severity in my life. Probably a good thing, as the monitering station @ Grey Butte showed the storm intensifying for the next few hours. Sorta bummed I didn't get my close 1st 14er winter summit (esp. on Shasta), but excited that I completed Casaval- a lot of fun! Goes to show- you may come to play on Shasta when you like, but she writes the rules, & allows you success (or not).
18 March, 2007:
FINALLY got my first 14er winter ascent- on Shasta via Casaval, too- just the way I wanted! Thanks, Kris, for keeping on going & helping me to do the same. Getting 1 hour (max) of sleep at Bunny Flat the night before (thanks all you obnoxious assholes with your "own agenda"), after an initially promising start from Bunny Flat at 2.47, we arrived as virtual zombies on the summit at 13.45 (we were at sea level less than a day before). Regardless, great day to be up there. Forgetting the snowshoes was a BAD idea- the worst postholing experience I've ever had (probably added 1 - 2 hours to our descent).
The manager of my local climbing shop had guided a group up the prior week and dug a snow cave at 9800, so a shop employee and myself moved into the cave and then went to the top. Casaval is a classic winter route and should not be missed.
My first 14K peak in CA.
Great ski run. Very exciting - lightning storm on summit.
Fun climb, and an even funner glissade.
climbed with four other fellas as a prep for ecuador. I think we left horse camp around 2:00am and summitted around 8:00 in various states of disrepair. Glissading was hella fun and made it all worth it, but better check your arresting skills tho, cause the top part can get pretty steep. Overall . . . NICE!
Rode my bicycle from Olympia, WA, down the Oregon coast, over to Crater Lake, and then down to Shasta. On July 4th I got my permit and rode up to Bunny Flat. On July 5th at 3:00 in the morning I left the Bunny Flat parking lot up to the summit. Summited at about 9:00am. On July 6th, mounted the bike and headed down to ride to the summit of White Mountain near Bishop, CA, but that's another story.
Clear Night. Departed Hiking Cabin at 2:00 AM and reached the summit at 6:30 AM. I bypassed spring hill which saved time and stayed on the snow around the hill. Route was well consolodated throughout the heart (Almost Icy).Very Icy at the red banks. 62 mph wind at the summit. Began to whiteout right as I was descending. Glisaded all the way down a little past Lake Helen and Boot skied the rest of the way. Took only 2 hours to descend to Horse Camp. Overll, great trip.