Team: Lindsay, Clark, Rich, and myself
Roughly 11 miles and 7500 ft
It didn't take me long to buy a California 14er guidebook after I moved out here. It doesn't live up to Roach but then again I'm not sure any book will. Over the winter as I continued my obsession with 14ers - reading and rereading the routes - my girlfriend, Lindsay, expressed an interest in joining me on a trip to climb her first 14er. I was more than willing to take her up one. I showed her pictures of the non class 5 peaks (I still need to figure out a way to get up them) and told her to pick a mountain. She chose Shasta - because it's the prettiest and the best. I said done!
We decided it was best to try Shasta early in the season - as hard snow and crampons sounded much better to me than loose scree. I probably didn't do the best job offering training advice as we spent more nights with a bottle of wine than hitting the Lyon Street stairs (a San Francisco thing) or running - but I did do a good job marketing the trip as both Lindsay's dad and brother expressed interest and decided to join. I mean what better gift to get your girlfriend's dad than an ice axe right?
The game plan:
Friday night - leave the Bay area and stay at a hotel in Mount Shasta - a town at the base of the volcano (Elevation: Sea Level-3,700)
Saturday - Drive to the trailhead (Elevation: 3,700-7,000) and then hike up to Helen Lake (Elevation: 7,000-10,400) and set up camp.
Sunday - Camp to the summit (Elevation: 10,400-14,162) and then all the way back to San Francisco (Elevation: 14,162-sea level)
I figured that with this itinerary it would be a long and tough weekend - but manageable. This was going to be a bit more than a walk up. I really accepted the idea that we may not summit as I'd be climbing with three newbies. My primary goal was for everyone to have a fun time on the mountain - and possibly agree on coming on future trips.
Enough writing - here are some pictures:
Clark sorting gear at the Cold Creek Inn
Lindsay's trying out her pack
I'm really glad I constantly checked weather to make sure we had great conditions.
Day 1 hiking
View of the Upper Mountain from Camp - The Red Band center marked the 2K vert halfway point on summit day.
Setting up camp on the snow.
The last picture of my tent before the winds destroyed it (a not so pleasant surprise after returning from the summit)
Looking good for a 4 am start
Shasta City at Helen Lake - I never did find the lake.
Early morning climbing to the Red Banks.
2000 ft later we arrive at the Red Bands
Almost to the ridge - and looking pretty tough.
A look back at the Ridge and the 'Thumb'
After climbing above the Red Bands we had to climb the aptly named Misery Hill before gaining acess to the summit plateau.
Finally the Summit is within sight! This was when I realized we would actually summit.
The surprisingly small summit.
We figured we'd take a group shot on the summit - I wonder if this has been done before.
I couldn't find Sunshine in a can - but I thought about this bottle once I stepped on the summit. Well Done all!
All told 2 days in a snowy alpine environment. Plenty of firsts for my team and no one was hurt (despite my best efforts at forcing a glissade).
Huge Congratulations to to my team on a very well earned first 14er!.