Barely made it up and down before a storm. Nobody who left camp at Helen Lake after 3am made the summit on that day.
Did it in both 1990 (north side with friends) and in 1992 (solo) on the south side. Fun climb on the north side, crowded grunt on the south side.
Great climb. My friends carried skis and had a 6,000 foot run down the snowfield south of the glacier.
Success. Fun route with good scenery.
Seriously, the weather could not have been better for this trip. Perfectly clear skies, low winds and good snow made for a safe and beautiful ascent. We left Lake Helen around 4:45 and summited at 9:15. A low-wind, high-sun summit made for a nice rest before glissading down to Helen. The forest service rangers had a constant presence, always making sure climbers were safe and having fun (as well as checking for summit passes of course). My husband spoke with one of the rangers at length about an intense winter rescue some years ago. We were blessed to have such excellent weather yesterday.
day 1: drove up early Saturday to spend the day and night hiking around and acclimating an extra day, before attempting the Avalanche Gulch route. day 2: got up to Helen Lake and spent lots of time melting snow. slept early and got up around 2AM on day 3, ate and prepped gear to leave for a successful summit bid around 3:45 AM. snow coverage btwn Red Banks and the Thumb was thin so on Rangers' recommendation we ascended the third chute from the right in the Red Banks. weather was great, a bit windy up near the summit but nothing that kept us from topping out! long day though, as we hiked out and drove the 4+ hours home after summiting. good times.
Got a late start ended up rather sick until 4:00 AM. Beautiful at the summit sunny and no wind. Lots of little sun cups but snow was solid in the early morning.
Took the Hotlum-Bolum and were the only ones on the route for the start of a 8 day climbing trip that turned out perfect. Great snow conditions.
I did two attempts in one week. First one I got turned around because of weather at red banks from horse camp. The second one I got to the top of misery hill from helen lake and turned back due to AMS. Still an awesome mountain and I will be back.
My first but surely not last time on the mountain. Great climb with Rob and Anastasia.
Got disoriented on the approach in the dark--was heading for Cassaval ridge but accidentally gained the shoulder of green butte ridge. Summited via the Green Butte ridge and descended in 14 hours. Very, very windy day; had to hide behind boulders to avoid projectile icefall on the way up. Great climb with great snow conditions, although saw some old avalanche slide paths on the way down.
First time with Barbara and Arnie via AG, summited after light snowfall. Second time with Carter and Mark via AG (Left of Heart), great weather. Third time with Denise to Red Banks via AG, where her ankle gave out. Fourth time solo via Hotlum-Bolam Ridge, at the end of October (Halloween, I believe). Tried up and back in a day, leaving the car at 4:30am and heading up. Once I hit the snow I found perfect styrofoam! Patches of ice here and there, but nothing too worrisome. And nobody else was on the route! Felt as if I had paradise to myself for a day. Alas, on reaching the bench at 13K+ and looking up at the crux (the rock route didn't look too friendly, and while the traverse route looked as if it really amounted to one short pitch of steep, still, the exposure there is pretty dramatic), and suffering slightly from mild headache and queasiness, and with no one around should I biff, I decided to turn around and head back down. But altogether a most splendid day out! I recommend this route heartily, and I'd love to go back and take it to the summit some day.
We we too lazy to carry tent and stuff up the mountain, so we made it in one shot from Bunny Flats. Started at 23, peaked Shasta 7.30. 100 m visibility, well until we passed the Heart on the way back, then it was all sunny again :(
Back at Bunny 12.15. A loooong snow slogging trip. Nice trip, but mountaneering wize not really that interesting.
climbed the west face route, great conditions, solid snow and almost no wind great climb. Then we glissaded from the top of the west face down to hidden valley, quickest decent i have ever done and lots of fun.
NWS weather report looked pretty bad for last weekend, but we headed up anyway. Snow conditions were great on the way up to Helen Lake (consolidated, but not icy). Calm winds Friday night. Woke up at 1am to a whiteout. 2am snow showers. 2:30 clear skies, with the route beautifully lit by the moon.
Route was in good condition. Well-established boot track goes right of the heart and then up the right side of the Red Banks. Left the lake at 4am, summitted at 10:30 (I took up the rear of the group, so we were moving a little slow). Nice glissade on the way down after the Red Banks. Clouds moved in around 11 for whiteout conditions partway down. No lightning the whole trip; heard a couple of thunder rumbles from off in the distance.
There were 2-3 inches of fresh graupel above about 11k, which made the crampons less effective. Avalanche conditions weren't great; there was a a nice consolidated 6-inch crust over a weak layer in several places above the lake. I wouldn't want to be on the slab when it slides.
Things warmed up on the way down on Saturday, which was perfect for descent, but not so good for people coming up (sloshy, wet snow). It went from freezing sleet/snow at the lake on Saturday afternoon to a hot, sunny sauna in 15 minutes. Air temperature was probably 80 or 90 degrees for a while until the clouds rolled in again.
Weather is unstable right now, but you might get lucky like we did and catch a good window.
Anyone have a recent conditionds report for this route? Thanks for any input.
Climbed up to Helen Lake Sunday night, got up too early Monday and summited around 9:30. Was planning on snowboarding down so I took an hour nap around 13,800 feet to let everything soften up. Took 8 minutes to get from partway down misery hill to Lake Helen. The clouds were rolling in and it was uncomfortably hot and humid at Lake Helen, like being in a combination of a tanning bed and a sauna. Took 5 more minutes to get from Lake Helen to Horse Camp. It kills me at this point to do anything but ski descents.
Summited via Avy Gulch with my friend Ben. Fun, exhausting climb. 12 hours roundtrip from Bunny Flat.
with early start comes icy descent, or late start brutal sun and easy descent. We chose the former!
Left Horse Camp at 1AM and got to the summit at around 8:30AM. The route was not as technically interesting as I expected, but it sure was LONG. The walk across the crater tested my will to live. The descent went fast, despite the abundant post-holes. Back to Horse Camp at 11:30AM.