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Aborted Shasta Summit Attempt: 6/18/16

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Aborted Shasta Summit Attempt: 6/18/16

Postby Vaca Russ » Tue Jun 21, 2016 9:28 am

The weather reports show precipitation on Friday night and very early Saturday morning. I expected I would have a good chance at a summit attempt on Saturday morning.

There were rumors on the trail:

1. Temperatures at the summit were from -11 F to +11 F.
2. Winds at summit were > 100 MPH.
3. Complete white out conditions.
4. Nobody had reached the summit in the last three days.

I set up camp hoping the weather would improve. It began to snow so I snapped a picture of my tent.

Tent1.jpg


I woke to having to dig my way out of my tent.

Tent2.jpg


See the logs and rocks on Friday night?

Trees1.jpg


Now they are covered in snow.

Tree2.jpg


See these two snow covered boulders?

Boulders.jpg


This is a picture from June 8, 2014.

6 Camp.JPG
6 Camp.JPG (58.92 KiB) Viewed 250 times


I ran into the lead guide for Shasta Mountain Guides and he told me avalanche conditions were “extremely high”.

Or as Nick Meyers (Mt. Shasta Climbing Ranger) from the Forest Service wrote, “Concern lies for rapid warming creating loose-wet instabilities within new, unconsolidated snow layers. Slopes near and above treeline, especially on E-SE-S-SW facing slopes will have the best chance at hosting loose-wet activity. A beacon, shovel and probe is highly recommended for the next several days along with the knowledge and skills to safely travel through avalanche terrain and assess the snow pack accurately.”

Snow2.jpg


Snow3.jpg


I decided not to test my luck. Solo climbing would be considered crazy…without my beacon…potentially suicidal.

Self.jpg


The mountain will be there another day! Enjoy the triple digit temperatures in the valley! :unibrow:

Thanks for reading my post,

-Russ
” Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports … all others are games.”- Ernest Hemingway



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Re: Aborted Shasta Summit Attempt: 6/18/16

Postby Hobbes » Tue Jun 21, 2016 11:41 am

I was going to say you could try again this weekend, but the forecast is calling for continuing cold temps on the summit. Do you know why Shasta is so cold while the surrounding region - like Weed - is expected to be in the high 90s?

For comparison, Whitney is forecast to be in the high 60s, with Lone Pine projected to be in the low 100s. It seems while Whitney benefits from the heat rising up from the Owens valley, Shasta doesn't enjoy the same effect. Or maybe it's just an anomaly and Shasta usually gets warm as well?

PS We're going to be in Tuolumne meadows this weekend. NWS is calling for mid 70s while the Valley should be in the high 80s. Doesn't sound like too much fun for the hordes. On our side, we have to get back to SoCal through the Mojave, which could be in the high 100s.
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Re: Aborted Shasta Summit Attempt: 6/18/16

Postby Jason » Tue Jun 21, 2016 1:04 pm

Live to summit another day. Even though I "know" how quickly the weather can change in the mountains, it's pretty crazy to see your photos. I wonder if the cold temperatures are due to Shasta's prominence? Like the warm air doesn't have to go over the mountains like the Sierra crest, but can go around the sides. Interesting either way.
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Re: Aborted Shasta Summit Attempt: 6/18/16

Postby maverick » Tue Jun 21, 2016 1:26 pm

Have been up Shasta twice, you received some serious weather there Russ. Shasta is well known to create its own weather on the summit, wind can be a major issue which people disregard and cost ones life. If there is a lenticular cloud around the summit, stay away, the winds can easily get over 100 mph. By the way, which route were you planning to do, Bunny Flats to Helen Lake route?
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Re: Aborted Shasta Summit Attempt: 6/18/16

Postby Vaca Russ » Tue Jun 21, 2016 2:07 pm

maverick wrote:By the way, which route were you planning to do, Bunny Flats to Helen Lake route?


Yes, Bunny Flat, Horse Camp, Helen Lake, up Avalanche gulch to Red Banks, Misery Hill, Summit Plateau and Summit block. The standard route. This is just a confidence building exercise before trying to summit some 13ers and 14ers down south.

-Russ
” Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports … all others are games.”- Ernest Hemingway
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Re: Aborted Shasta Summit Attempt: 6/18/16

Postby giantbrookie » Sat Jun 25, 2016 9:58 am

Wow, those are some amazing conditions for June on Shasta. I was up at Lake Berryessa on 6/17 and it was unusually cool (probably 70 or less; would normally be well into the 90s) and it drizzled a bit, so I'm not surprised Shasta was getting hammered the next day.

Yes Shasta does create its own weather, too. Judy and I are among many who've started hike in beautiful weather only to get turned back high up. In our case we were all the way up at Misery Hill when the weather closed in and we had to beat a hasty retreat in near white out conditions with snow blowing horizontally around us. After we had descended to the car, we looked around and the cloud over the summit of Shasta was in fact the only one in sight--cloudless sky over the Trinity Divide and everywhere else.
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Re: Aborted Shasta Summit Attempt: 6/18/16

Postby KevinDo » Tue Jun 28, 2016 1:46 am

Thanks for sharing! Hpoefully you'll be able to summit some other time this year?
I was considering going up to Shasta around the same time as you but ended up opted to stay in the High Sierra due to limited time window. In hindsight, I'm kind of glad I did! Would have been a long drive to get to shasta.
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