Shastina: Memorial Day Weekend 2015
For climbers looking to make a quick ascent of Shastina, getting an alpine start is always a good option. Due to our late arrival at Bunny Flat (6,800′) and our need to ditch half of our pack weight in Hidden Valley, we got a later and slower start than we typically due for climbs of this nature. However, the late start made for nearly-perfect ski conditions. The hike into Hidden Valley (9,200′) is relatively straight forward with minimal elevation gain. A well defined trail up to Horse Camp makes trail finding incredibly simple and, after a bit of wandering around, we were able to follow an equally well marked trail out of Horse Camp and into Hidden Valley. From there, camping areas are numerous and we had no trouble getting a spot away from other climbers.
The climb up Shastina is direct and engaging- interesting terrain and variable grades of steepness allowed for a steady trip and beautiful views. The stretch up the Couloir itself was relatively steep (40* or so) and crampons and an ice axe, or at least a whippet pole are must-haves. Once you reach the top of the couloir, a thousand feet or so remains before you reach the summit- a small boulder comprised of chunks of rock that are held together by ice and packed snow. The boulder itself was very stable but caution should be used during later months should the ice/glue holding the pieces in place choose to melt out.
As always, caution should be used when climbing. Shastina does not appear to receive very much traffic, a surprise considering how fun the climbing and the skiing were. At 12,329′, Shastina is the third tallest peak in the Cascade Range but, likely due to its much larger neighbor, Shasta, the mountain is likely overlooked by mountaineers from all levels of experience. There is another route up the east side of Shastina that appeared to be much less steep but quite a bit longer so for climbers looking for less adventure than we were, the alternate route might provide a greater feeling of security on a much shallower grade.
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