My friend Jacob wanted to summit Shasta. We planned an “easy” three day attempt spending the first night at Horse Camp and the second night at Helen Lake where we would arrive early to rest and acclimate prior to an early morning summit attempt.
Unfortunately the weather showed the summit would be inaccessible on Saturday June 9.
The clouds were already obscuring the summit on Thursday, June 7.
Jacob is young, fit and VERY eager to attempt the summit. He spent quite a fortune on mountaineering gear and was committed.
We had to change plans on the fly and climbed to 50/50 flat at 10,000 feet the first night. A Saturday summit attempt was out of the question. We needed to complete the climb on Friday before the storm.
Jacob began to complain about certain symptoms that sounded a lot like altitude sickness. I asked him to hydrate, eat and get some sleep. The next morning he didn’t even want to get out of his sleeping bag.
I told him to get some rest and wait for me to return that afternoon.
This is a shot of climbers on the short hill taken from the Konwakiton Bergschrund. The breeze started to pick up here above the Red Banks. The storm was on the way.
By the time I got to the short hill the breeze had turned into a full on Fresh Gale.
A young lady stopped me at the top of Misery Hill and shouted in my ear asking for a favor.
Her partner was too afraid to proceed because now the winds were REALLY HOWLING. She felt it was too unsafe to proceed. The “Lead” asked me tell her little brother, who had hiked ahead to the summit, that they would move lower on the mountain and wait for him.
Now I was committed. I couldn’t turn back. I had a mission!
I should write a harrowing tale of my life threatening struggle to complete my mission but it wasn’t really all that dramatic. I had all of the gear and had been to summit a hand full of times.
The traverse across the summit plateau was uneventful but cold.
I transmitted the message to Ryan, who I met on the path up the summit block. You can’t tell from this picture but the wind speed was Whole Gale status and I wanted to get off the summit fast. At this point I was wearing every stitch of clothing I brought up the volcano.
Obviously I made it. Jacob is fine and wants to keep trying to bag peaks. We will start him out with some smaller peaks around Tahoe first.
Thanks for reading my post!
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