crossing the great basin
Nick Meyers and I started from 6,900 ft, the Bunny Flats, mid morning. It was still really frozen, and the sun cups were enormous. The trail to Horse camp was still skiable, and went by quickly. After a short break we made a hard climbing traverse around to Happy Camp, a dry bench perched at the base of Mount Shasta's west side. The sustained traverse would have been very difficult to skin without hard boots. The route was obvious from there. We skinned through the basin. The snow conditions steadily improved. We trended left (north) and gained a mellow rib to the bottom of the Lightning Bolt, transitioning from skis to crampons. A whipit was fine for this pitch. The snow was a little wet and punchy in spots. My post holes were a brilliant blue inside, and I became aware of the high water content of a maritime snowpack. At the top of the lightning bolt another short slope led up to a nasty, icy, rime encrusted pinnacle on the summit. It was a little precarious, but I managed an exact summit descent back around to the south slope just for fun. A great way to christen the new Venture! I was a little surprised by the shy entrance into the Lightning Bolt. It was hidden from above. The turns were fantastic! World class corn all the way to the Happy Camp bench.
Mount Shasta from Shastina
Shastina, the Lightning Bolt on the left
We climbed up and over the ridge on the south side of the basin for another run, and big hero turns, before traversing back to Horse Camp. I had to walk about a hundred feet at one point where I lost my speed, but surprisingly, cruised the rest of the way back to the trailhead in Bunny Flats again. A great introduction to Mount Shasta!