Beginner mountaineering in California

Regional discussion and conditions reports for the Golden State. Please post partners requests and trip plans in the California Climbing Partners forum.
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new_hiker

 
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Beginner mountaineering in California

by new_hiker » Fri Apr 26, 2019 7:56 am

Hi all-
First I apologize to post in the general forum. I'm having trouble posting in the California region forum.

I'm in the bay area, and would like to try my first snow mountain. I have no snow experience whatsoever. This would be my first experience with Crampons, Ice axes etc. I'm thinking about Mt.Shasta via the Avalanche Gulch, with my friend who is experienced with Shasta and other mountains. From what I read, looks like area just below the Red Banks is the most dangerous part.

Is this a good start, or should I start with something else?

Thanks all for your time.

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cab

 
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Re: Beginner mountaineering in California

by cab » Fri Apr 26, 2019 6:16 pm

Avalanche Gulch on Shasta is a great place for your first crampon experience, especially if you have someone with experience with you to show you how to use your ice axe and give you a short self-arrest class.

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mrchad9

 
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Re: Beginner mountaineering in California

by mrchad9 » Mon Apr 29, 2019 10:00 pm

Before Shasta I did Brokeoff Mountain in winter in Lassen Park... or could do Lassen Peak itself.

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new_hiker

 
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Re: Beginner mountaineering in California

by new_hiker » Tue Apr 30, 2019 3:23 am

Thanks @mrchad9 and @cab.
Planning to try it this season. Are there vertigo inducing portions on the Avalanche Gulch route? I know I have issues with vertigo, and so, I need to be careful with my choices.
Since this is my first ever snow attempt and being at higher altitude (never been over 7000 ft), I would gladly take even an attempt as a success.

Thanks!

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mrchad9

 
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Re: Beginner mountaineering in California

by mrchad9 » Wed May 01, 2019 12:43 am

There are no dropoff areas that would give you an issue... but it is a sustained slope for a couple of thousand feet above camp. If it is hard and icy in the morning it could make some nervous as they take a break, turn around, look down... etc...

The southeast face on Lassen, right of the trail up the ridge, is similar steepness but shorter... you could try it as well.

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fernandoe@yahoo.com

 
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Re: Beginner mountaineering in California

by fernandoe@yahoo.com » Fri May 10, 2019 7:27 pm

This is just a day trip, but you might check out Pyramid Peak near Twin Bridges and Strawberry. I just went last weekend. There was plenty of snow. We went up with boots only; but there are plenty of opportunities to put on the crampons in the last 1000 ft.

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Perspicacious

 
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Re: Beginner mountaineering in California

by Perspicacious » Thu May 16, 2019 5:19 am

Clear Creek Route on Shasta is a good one.

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Re: Beginner mountaineering in California

by fredsfo » Fri Feb 28, 2020 9:04 pm

Pyramid Peak
Round Top
Castle Peak
Agassiz
Price
These are all good day trips from the bay to hone your skills and build your fitness.

For Shasta, for your first time, I would recommend either hiring a guide or going with someone who is experienced. While the Avy Gulch route is "safe," the weather can change rapidly and snow conditions can be challenging. Proper crampon and ice axe technique and knowing how to self arrest and glissade are important skills that aren't always intuitive and should be practiced. There are some sections on Shasta where falls can be nasty, especially when the snow is firmer. And when the snow is softer, you will want to have someone with some basic understanding of avalanche danger in your group as well. They don't call it Avy gulch for nothing!

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sierraman

 
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Re: Beginner mountaineering in California

by sierraman » Wed Mar 04, 2020 1:34 am

Castle Peak up at Donner Summit is a good place to practice snow techniques and it is just a day trip from the Bay Area. However, I regret to report that the nearby Rainbow Lodge is not currently open for after practice libations.

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Palisades79

 
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Re: Beginner mountaineering in California

by Palisades79 » Sat Mar 21, 2020 4:03 pm

Check out Mount Saint Helen in Napa County .It stands out most Springs .


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