Mt. Shasta | High Sierra Topix  

Mt. Shasta

A forum that'll feed your need for exploring the limitless adventure possibilities found in "other" places. Post trip reports or ask questions about outdoor adventures beyond the Sierra Nevada here.
User avatar

Mt. Shasta

Postby Ikan Mas » Wed Feb 24, 2010 1:53 pm

Esteemed Backcounty Climbing People:

I have the opportunity and desire to climb Mt. Shasta this year. I am looking for the straight scoop on what sort of climb Shasta is.

To put this in perspective, I am an experienced backpacker and have walked up a few of peaks (Whitney twice, McLoughlin, two of the Three Sisters, Eagle Cap and Thielson in Oregon). I also have some off-trail pass experience. I do not have any climbing (ice or rock) experience, but would embrace getting trained, if that was required. I am cautious and generally avoid risky situations in the backcountry. I avoid those who are candidates for the Darwin award.

I am also a native of the State of Jefferson and understand the region. My brother has climbed with the Mazamas and has shared several stories of climbing trips gone very wrong on Hood and Rainier. I don't believe that Shasta is the killer that Hood or Rainier is, but that it remains a mountain to be respected.

I have heard casually from some people that you can just walk up Shasta without any special gear or training. I have heard from others that this is technical ice/glacier climb and that you will need to know what you are doing. Specifically, knowing how to use an ice axe and crampons. Thus, paying a guide to teach you how to use these items is the prudent and wise choice for a safe climb.

I also understand that there may be some seasonality to the Shasta climb. You may be able to walk up the mountain in August or September, but a May through July trip would probably require the ice gear. I also understand that the weather can quickly change on Shasta, effectively closing the summit to climbers.

Here are my questions:

Can you walk up Shasta in normal hiking gear? If so, when?

If ice gear is required to climb, is it something that a reasonably backcounty-experienced person can figure out, or is it something that would be best taught by somebody that knows what they are doing (a professional or experienced climbing club member)?

Friends are discussing going up Shasta in May of this year. Based on the Shasta Avalanche site, it looks like they are having a very snowy year. What are your thoughts on inexperienced amatures climbing in this situation?

Any additional adivce would be appreciated. Thank you for your help.



User avatar
Ikan Mas
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 338
Joined: Tue Nov 10, 2009 9:43 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Mt. Shasta

Postby maverick » Wed Feb 24, 2010 2:45 pm

I have done Shasta twice, both in May.
Yes, you need an ice axe, and crampons, and even more important is knowing how
to use them safely, and correctly, otherwise they can cause injury, or worse.
Get some self arrest training and learn how to use an ice axe and crampons efficiently.
Weather is a factor, and if it is bad or close to turning bad turn around, do not get caught
in the summit at all cost mentality.
If the cost is injury, or death, come back another time when the conditions are right!
I do not like the idea of summer climbs because of rock falls that can and are dangerous
this time of the year.
Respect the mountain and mother nature at all times!
User avatar
maverick
Forums Moderator
Forums Moderator
 
Posts: 8032
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Mt. Shasta

Postby Ikan Mas » Wed Feb 24, 2010 9:48 pm

Thanks maverick. I appreciate your candor.
User avatar
Ikan Mas
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 338
Joined: Tue Nov 10, 2009 9:43 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Mt. Shasta

Postby Hetchy » Wed Feb 24, 2010 10:41 pm

Ahh, State of Jefferson! I remember seeing the XXX and State of Jefferson while hiking down to Seiad Valley on the PCT! Wonderful Place! Many a thru-hiker tried the Pancake challenge (4lbs of Pancake in 2 hours) this year. I think "Heaps" from New Zealand ate 2.5 lbs! He went back for a burger later too! The RV park let us hiker-trash crash on their lawn. They put up a little "barn" area for us complete with hay! They were really nice to us. Let us hang out in the office on the cement floor cause it was 104 that day. I hiked 34 miles by 4 pm in 104 degree heat(and missed the Post office by ten minutes meaning a hot late start the next day).. Hell Yes that first Beer tasted good at the store!
Anyways, here is a picture for ya!
Go for it!
Image
Mount Shasta from the Pacific Crest Trail :D
Image
The Klamath River and Seiad Valley-State of Jefferson-State of Mind XXX
Image
The PCT north of Seiad Valley. Climbing the Devils Peaks area.
I will never forget the State of Jeffeson! :D Y'all were real nice to us PCT'ers! Thank You!
You can make more money, but you can't make more time.
User avatar
Hetchy
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 269
Joined: Sat Jan 31, 2009 8:51 pm
Location: Santa Cruz Mountains Ben Lomond
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Mt. Shasta

Postby mikey8108 » Thu Feb 25, 2010 1:25 pm

On April first there is a seminar I guess you would call it at REI about climbing Shasta. I guess one of the lead rangers from shasta is coming in to talk about routes, gear and all the other stuff. It's free if you have a REI local. If not I'll fill you in on any good info i learn
User avatar
mikey8108
Topix Novice
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Feb 21, 2010 10:55 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Mt. Shasta

Postby giantbrookie » Fri Feb 26, 2010 10:38 am

I've done Shasta with my wife (May 1992) and we had two "almosts" the year before: one turned around because my wife wasn't in good enough shape and the other because of weather (turned around at elevation 13900--top of "Misery Hill"-- within spitting distance of summit)--see below. As noted above, Shasta is not technically demanding. For the standard climb in the spring you'll want ice axe and crampons as Maverick noted. In most spring conditions on the Avalanche Gulch standard route, the ice axe and crampons are mainly to make it easier to climb up the soft snow. The steepest part of the climb is as one passes through snow chutes in the Red Banks at the head of Avalanche Gulch. Even there, the chances of an injury fall tend to be very small because the snow slope runs out at the bottom to low angles. In other words, the standard route in spring conditions and good weather is not one with exposure issues or anything scary. In good weather, the biggest hazard, and one to be alert about, is rockfall. The rocks will come loose from the Red Banks and come skimming down at very high speed (think air hockey), so you need to be alert because these rocks don't make much noise as they come down (compared to rockfall on rock). By the way, if you are wondering why most choose to climb Shasta in the spring, it is because as the season goes on the climb becomes more on rock, which on Shasta is miserable: its like marbles on a hard sloped surface. It is so much more pleasant to trudge up Shasta in the snow. Folks climbing the standard route usually choose between backpacking to Helen Lake (I recall it's about 40 percent of the way up), which isn't a lake at that time of year but simply a snow bowl, and summitting from there, or dayhiking (my wife and I did the latter). The tradeoffs are that dayhiking entails more elevation gain in one shot (over 7000 feet), but you aren't carrying as much, plus you don't have to camp at a crowded camping area where sanitation may be an issue--I don't know if they require wag bags (they should), but you know that dig and cover doesn't help much in snow.


Shasta is not the killer that some Cascade volcanoes are (in terms of fatality rate per climbs attempted), but because it is a comparatively easy climb by the easiest route and an enormous number of people climb it, it has a pretty grim record, primarily because folks don't turnaround when the weather starts closing in (or they hike into bad weather). Where I grew up, I vividly remember one of the fatal incidents: The victim was a Loma Prieta Sierra Club peak climbing trip leader. Leading a trip there, she refused to turn around when the weather started closing in, in spite of repeated pleas from the other members of her group. When the rest of the group turned around, she continued hiking upward. Her body was recovered a day or two later. Stories such as that are unfortunately fairly common in the climbing history of Shasta. Within a few of years of that the Loma Prieta peak climbing section lost another leader, apparently also to exposure/hypothermia, although the circumstances of his death appeared to me to be somewhat quirky. He was climbing one of the north glacier routes. He was found dead of exposure a few hundred feet below his tent one morning. My guess is that he woke up in the middle of the night to go pee, slipped and slid down the slope. As cold as it probably was and the fact he probably wasn't wearing very much...Anyhow, the bottom line is: mind the weather and turn around if there is even the slightest doubt.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
User avatar
giantbrookie
Founding Member & Forums Moderator
Founding Member & Forums Moderator
 
Posts: 2439
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2005 10:22 am
Location: Fresno
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Mt. Shasta

Postby TehipiteTom » Wed Sep 12, 2012 10:03 am

More beta on Mt. Shasta: William H. Brewer's account, from his climb 150 years ago today.
User avatar
TehipiteTom
Founding Member
 
Posts: 814
Joined: Thu Aug 24, 2006 8:42 am
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Mt. Shasta

Postby dave54 » Sat Sep 22, 2012 9:44 pm

Two friends and I climbed Shasta from the east side in Oct 1984. Up and down in one day. It was arduous and beat us up pretty good. That was a long time ago when I was younger and in shape. I would not attempt that route again.
=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~
Log off and get outdoors!
~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=
User avatar
dave54
Founding Member
 
Posts: 774
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 10:24 pm
Location: where the Sierras, Cascades, and Great Basin meet.
Experience: N/A


Return to Beyond The Sierra Nevada



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests