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.
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.