Really enjoyed it - why else would we do it, right? But I hated the scree on the way down... next time I am going only when there is snow.
Wow, what a mountain!! This was an amazing trip for me. I had finally climbed higher and longer than I ever had. This was one of the most demanding things I have ever done but well worth the suffering. The Wintun glacier route is fairly easy until you hit the glacier itself then it is 1100 ft of 45-55 mixed hard ice and snow and a quick scramble to the summit pinnacle. A slight case of AMS, likely thanks to our SWS mountain goat of a guide, I returned to our camp and immediately felt better. A long car ride out from the trail head and we were at the hotel lounging in the hot-tub.
A great climb for beginners: took a group of novices up during great weather. The icy chute up through the redwall was exciting for all. Windy on top of course. The glissade down the snowfield was a hoot.
Climbed once in June 97, and twice in July 97.
lots of soft snow - right from the parking lot. camped at (where is?) lake helen. early next morning, the snow had hardened enough to use crampons (much better than postholing mid calf deep as the day before). great views of the glaciers from the top. was fun glissading back (glissaded almost the whole way back to the horse camp - as much as the soft afternoon snow would allow).
On a warm day in July we started out of the parking lot before dawn. The conditions looked quite good and we opted to hike the Cassaval Ridge route. As the sun came up we were quite happy for our decision, as we watched Avalanche Gully fill up with people. Doing the summit pyramid was a rush....!!! and then we descended Avalanche Gully with a retreat to Shasta City for the Buffet Dinner there. A wonderful, and high milage day.
Climbed to Helen Lake on Sat. with my brother and camped under a sky full of bright stars. Heard rock fall most of the night so decided not to start climbing until sunrise. Chose the snow field (what remained of it) to the left of the heart and made the summit by 10:00am. Only people we saw were three climbers heading up misery hill on our way down. Awesome weekend!
Both times I went up with a friend. One time a my friend got sick. So I soloed to the top in a freak hail storm. The other time we hit a storm on top where we couldn't even walk. We had to crawl above Red Bluffs. I can see why John Muir went to the steam vents to stay warm.
Pretty much the end of the season, snow ascent to the right of the heart, we opted for the third chimney up through the red banks (all on loose scree). Six people summitted on that day, and we saw them all! Hung out at the top for about 30-45 mins and enjoyed a nice glissade down to Helen Lake after! Trip Report and Pictures
A lot less crowded than Avalanche Gulch
Climbed the east side. Did not summit due to hitting exposed ice @13700' with no belay equipment. Still a great 2 days on the mountain.
Another single day solo climb. It was full moon, so I started early. Left Bunny Flat at 10:30 pm on Saturday. Perfect conditions, didn't see anyone else on the route. There was strong wind above 13,000', probably about 40 mph. I summited at 7:45 am on Sunday. Found a perfect, sheltered from the wind and very comfortable spot on the summit and enjoyed it for about 45 min. Came down Avalanche Gulch and got back to the car at noon.
A warm-up climb before a trip to Rainier next weekend.
We left Bunny Flat at around 2 am. My friend wasn't feeling too well that day and half way up the Gulch he decided to turn around. I summited at around 10 am. Perfect weather, NO WIND. Glissading on the way down was awesome.
Finally made the trip to this mountain and it was worth it! I had been wanting to climb Shasta since 1993. Very hard climb for me but it felt great to stand on the summit.
Wonderful snow climb and an awesome glissade. It was a bit wet but 4,000+ feet of glissading is awesome!
Other than that, it was amusing for a Colorado 14er veteran to watch the California rental crowd suffering like this was Everest. :) On the other hand, my respect goes out to those sea level dwellers who summited. Good job!
Partner: Steve Reynolds
Summit bitterly cold with some wind also; feet went numb there; coldest summit I've ever been on. Many fumeroles. Dramatic rime on summit pinnacles.
Drove down with my buddy Steve from Seattle early Saturday morning. Started hiking up about 12:30 pm and got to Helen Lake about 5:15pm after taking about an hours worth of rests on the way up. Great weather so far. Set up camp and talked to the ranger who said a thunderstorm was rolling in the following day and suggested an early start. So, we started climbing about 3:30 am and enjoyed the low angle snow slopes below the Heart.
A climber in front of us dropped a crampon and while he was putting that back on, Steve went left and I went right. He headed up the couloir most were going through and I headed to the right edge of the Red Banks and traversed around the back side onto the glacier before rejoining the hike up to the base of Misery Hill. And what a misery it is, loose scree in hot sun by then. Steve looked at me at one point and said "It sure is good I like this $hit." Slow going took us to the icefield before the summit pinnacles. Quick rest below the final rock and we were up taking summit pictures with no storm in sight.
The glissade down made the trip for me. What took us 3-4 hours in the morning only took us 20 minutes and we were back at Lake Helen. 3000 feet on our butts with snow flying out from the bobsled-like tunnels. Super fun. Broke camp and were back at the car by 2:30 pm on Sunday. Burgers at the Hi-Lo Cafe in Weed on the way home!
7/18/15 Avalanche Gulch again as a final training run for a bigger trip coming up. Much less snow that 12 years ago. Hiked up to Helen Lake in about 3.5 hours. Got maybe an hour or so of sleep. Up at 2 am, going by 3 am. Hooked up with 4 other guys from camp for most of the time. Line went right of the Heart and then into one of the chimneys in the Red Banks where it was steeper and icy. Didn't want to fall there. Then it was just fighting altitude to the top from there. No more penitentes in the snowfield above Misery Hill. Quick break at the summit and then back down where it was bogged down back down the chute in the Red Banks. Snow was softer though and you could almost get a decent foot into to. Not much snow to glissade this year. Did a little bit though. About 6.5 hours up from camp and then back down in about 3 to camp. Back to car in another 2.25. Then a long drive back to Portland.
Climbed solo my first time up. I have wanted to climb this mountain for a long time and the drive down from Seattle was well worth it.
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.