Peak(s):  Shasta - 14,162 feet
Date Posted:  06/15/2011
Date Climbed:   06/12/2011
Author:  jf32
 Mount Shasta - Avalanche Gulch  

Mount Shasta
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.

Shadow Shasta


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!.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

that's a great report
06/16/2011 17:05
Thanks for posting. You don't see Shasta reports very often, much appreciated!


Congrats to all!
06/17/2011 02:33
That's quite the elevation gain. Looked like you had a good crew and nice weather. Really liked the summit shots.

Brian C

Nice work
06/17/2011 05:03
Glad to see others out there hiking the Cascades. Very cool. Makes me want to head down to Shasta now!


Great peak
07/29/2013 18:29
That was my very first 14er. Congrats to all of you. Impressive accomplishment. Took us 3 times to get past the Red Banks. Once that was done, we knew we had it made.


Thanks for report
06/17/2011 21:12
Nice pictures. I'm Planning to climb Shasta next week (my first time). I noticed you used snowshoes on part of your climb, do you think they are a must?. (Assuming conditions next week will be similar to 6/12/11)


06/18/2011 00:41
dmccool: no prob - you may see a few more of these California TR's in the next few months.

Thanks: Gary
Brian: you should - it was a blast.
49ers: It seemed the higher we climbed the further those bands got away.

Mario: I would absolutely bring snowshoes if you plan on doing any part of the hike in/out after 1PM - there's a lot of snow still up there. That said - call the ranger station and ask - the trail seems to get a lot of traffic and you maye be ok without in another week. You won't need them on summit day.


Well done, jf!
08/23/2011 20:51
Great climb, nice photos, and a fun TR! Keep on baggin' those 14ers, dude, and climb on!


Great job!
08/26/2011 04:47

How low did the snow line reach this year while you were there?

Are you going back to try a one-day push?


Thanks chary
08/26/2011 15:40
The snow was well below the main parking lot - with the road plowed to the end. We were on snow the whole time. I haven't thought much about going back but if I did it would prob be a one day push on a harder route.

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