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Crystal Clear Days on Mt. Shasta

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Crystal Clear Days on Mt. Shasta

Postby Vaca Russ » Mon Jun 27, 2016 9:44 am

I had to abort my summit attempt last Saturday due to some really nasty weather.


So I drove up on Friday to give it another try. The change in one week was amazing!

Mt. Shasta Compare 1.jpg

Mt. Shasta Compare.jpg

Horse Camp Compare 2.jpg

Horse Camp Compare.jpg

Things were quite crowded at Helen Lake

1 Helen Lake.jpg

I started my summit attempt the next morning at 4 AM. The skies were perfectly clear and the bright moon allowed me to climb without a headlamp.

I started to feel the elevation on Misery Hill. This is where I really begin to question myself. But, then my other self intercedes and I keep going.

2 Misery Hill.jpg

Forrest Coots, a Mt. Shasta Climbing Ranger, was guarding The Gates of Mordor at the summit. He said there was no summiting on the previous day due to high winds.

3 Forrest Guarding Summit.jpg

Forrest was raised in Mount Shasta and while his ski travels have led him around the globe, he has returned home every summer since 2006 to work as a climbing ranger for the US Forest Service. While earning a degree in Political Science from University of Nevada Reno, Forrest joined the Forest Service fighting fires as a helicopter crew member and hotshot. Forrest was also a competitive ski racer and a big mountain athlete thereafter. He now spends his winters as a professional ski mountaineer for Arcteryx and Dynastar, splitting time between trips in Mount Shasta, CA and Chamonix, France. Featured in several publications and industry films, Forrest has ski descents from local stashes in the Trinity Alps and as far as the exotic mountains of Kashmir.

Once again I top this volcano, thankful to be fortunate to catch good weather.

4 Russ Summit.jpg

It only took this guy 2 hours and 48 minutes to run up from Bunny Flat.

5 2 hour 48 Minute Runner.jpg

I glissaded a good portion of the way down and I was at home with my puppies by 7:30 PM.

6 Down From Red Banks.jpg

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Re: Crystal Clear Days on Mt. Shasta

Postby Troutdog 59 » Mon Jun 27, 2016 10:14 am

What a difference a week makes eh? Kudos on the summit!
Once in a while you can get shown the light
In the strangest places if you look at it right.

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Re: Crystal Clear Days on Mt. Shasta

Postby Jason » Mon Jun 27, 2016 11:43 am

Fantastic and Congratulations. The view from the top looks like it was amazing.
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Re: Crystal Clear Days on Mt. Shasta

Postby maverick » Mon Jun 27, 2016 2:26 pm

Great to read that you summited, what a difference in a week Russ. You had a lot a people going up at the same time, Helen almost looks like Everest Basecamp. :lol:
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Re: Crystal Clear Days on Mt. Shasta

Postby giantbrookie » Sun Jul 03, 2016 4:27 pm

Indeed what a difference a week makes. It's great that you were able to get right back and climb in fine weather. Pretty neat to show the identical views the two different days.

maverick wrote:Great to read that you summited, what a difference in a week Russ. You had a lot a people going up at the same time, Helen almost looks like Everest Basecamp. :lol:

That looks fairly crowded but I think Shasta sees even more folks on what amounts to the "standard" weekend which, if weather cooperates, is Memorial Day weekend. When I did it with Judy we took three attempts as dayhikes from Bunny Flat. The first two were unsuccessful (weather), then we succeeded the next year. Two of the three times we hiked on Memorial Day weekend, including the successful trip. I remember hiking up the drainage below Helen Lake at about dawn both times and it looked like a beehive that had just been disturbed. Hikers were literally swarming out of there getting up the mountain. We kept high going around Helen Lake, but looking down we could see a vast sea of tents that really did in fact look like Everest base camp. That is easily the most folks I've ever seen so high on a mountain and not on a trail. In spite of the crowd, Judy and I found that the big crowd was actually a fairly pleasant experience because everyone we ran into was nice. It was sort of like a high altitude random social event.

My only issue with the crowd was that one group chose to picnic in the glissade butt groove. I don't know what they were thinking. I descend that glissade groove the "old school" way (ice axe is stored in my pack because the slope runs out at the bottom and I want the fastest possible ride) in contrast to what I saw with most who were in semi self arrest mode all the way down. After checking to make sure the coast was clear, I took off and rocketed down the groove, only to find this group having lunch sitting in the groove about 1000' below the top of it. I kinda did a half pipe sort of fly out to avoid hitting the folks, then after shaking myself off after the spectacular crash and burn off to the side, got back into the groove below the folks and took off unimpeded until the slope ran out and I slid to a stop.
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Re: Crystal Clear Days on Mt. Shasta

Postby Lumbergh21 » Mon Dec 19, 2016 11:11 pm

Awesome. Summiting Shasta is no small feat, at least that's what I tell myself, certainly more difficult than Whitney. I last tried on my 45th Birthday, May 28, 2014. Beautiful weather, though a bit cold and plenty snow and ice (up to the eaves at Horse Camp). I had fallen behind pace by 11,000 feet then discovered the water in my pack had frozen. Not the sip tube, I know to blow it out, the water in the pack itself. That did it for me, even though I had brought along a canister stove, it was already 7:00, and I was slowing down just 3 hours into the hike. I ended stopping at 12,000 feet just below the Red Banks and enjoying the view of the sun lighting up Avalanche Gulch as it finished rising over the ridge. Now, that guy who summited in 2:48, that's just crazy fast, 7,230 ft of elevation gain in less than 3 hours. Holy Cow! The time I summited Shasta years ago, I think I took longer than that to descend back to Bunny Flat, lol.
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