Ascent of Mount Shasta on 2013-08-01

Climber: Rob Woodall

Others in Party:Pete Ellis
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Thursday, August 1, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Mount Shasta
    Elevation:14162 ft / 4316 m

Ascent Trip Report

After our late afternoon Mount Eddy ascent we make the short drive S along I-5 to Mount Shasta City, a place with many eating spots and motels.

For Shasta trailhead, from I-5 southbound take first Mount Shasta City exit, take a small acute L turn at N41.32730 W122.32246, almost immediately turn R at stop sign; at next stop sign N41.32714 W122.30627 turn L (NW) onto wide paved road which leads past trailhead. Same road can be reached from centre of town by turning uphill at N41.31339 W122.31215 and keeping to main road, going straight over at a cross-roads.

Trailhead is at N41.35395 W122.23379, 2115m, parking either side of road, building immediately L of start of trail has toilets and also self service dispenser for permits, $20 per person.

Next morning we hike at first light, 5.25 am. Very clear trail heads uphill from R side of toilet block then shortly turns L at N41.35646 W122.23365 signposted Horse Camp. The latter is quite soon reached, mountain hut and water supply (N41.37224 W122.22977, 2413m). Beyond this the trail follows a bouldery causeway to minimise damage to the alpine meadows. Trail then zigzags uphill, passes a small camping spot then runs level for a short way. At N41.38431 W122.21595, best to keep R, carefully following cairns and wands across a bouldery area until trail again becomes obvious, leading up to the main Helen Lake camp site (N41.38836 W122.21007, 3176m, didn't see a lake). This is halfway point in terms of elevation gain.

Beyond camp site a fairly clear trail continues up boulder field. Seems several routes from here. We angled R and crossed main snow gully. Snow was scarce, we maybe should have climbed it but instead crossed to R and followed an intermittent path up loose scree and boulders, reaching ridge just to R of Red Bank - obvious area of red rock/stone. The alternatives seem to be to scramble up the red rocks (in absence of snow looks unpleasant and not very safe, we considered) or to climb the snow gully which curves L of the red rocks (looks steep at top).

So we find ourselves at N41.39839 W122.19812, 3904m, on ridge immediately R of Red Bank, overlooking a small bergschrund which can be bypassed by a short (5m) and slightly alarming traverse on steep loose ground. Consequence of falling R into the 'schrund (6m down) would be very unpleasant although probably not fatal. We move very carefully, ice axe or pole in R hand, small pebble holds for L hand. Then the quite nice snow is easily crossed, bypassing an obvious crevasse to regain red ridge at N41.39872 W122.19867.

Easy ground above (except for altitude!), some loose scree, up easy ridge crest, across a very broad snow ridge (easiest keeping L and walking on crest) then good zigzag path L of a bouldery slope up to summit. Two contenders for highpoint, apparently very similar in elev: outcrop at N41.40918 W122.19490 passed on trail, then rock spike (nearest one of a close pair) at N41.40894 W122.19483, 4316m. Between them is a flat metal container which contains no summit register; also saw no bench mark.

Up in 5h05, 15 mins on top, 3h20 down. Summit was clear but some large clouds around and a lot of wildfire smoke/haze so couldn't see much.

Reversed our descent route: tricky traverse no easier on return but seemed the best available to us. Scree descent intermittently runnable, fairly quick down to Helen Lake. Easy walk out. We saw no one on the mountain all day (Thursday), just a few non-mountaineers around the trailhead. Down at 2.05 pm.

We head southeast into Nevada, bound for Arc Dome and Mt Jefferson.

For the record... Robert Webb in 1998 went up and down Shasta six times in 23h22m, for a total vertical ascent of 37,572 feet,
Note that (1) it was from Horse Camp not the trailhead and (2) he had 6 pairs of skis stashed at the summit! Still good going though!! Webb's 1985 ascent-only record of 1:39 was last year lowered to 1:38:10 by Ricky Gates, 3 July 2012
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:7223 ft / 2201 m
    Distance:11 mi / 17.7 km
    Trailhead:Bunny Flat  6939 ft / 2115 m
    Grade/Class:YDS 4
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Exposed Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe
    Weather:Cool, Breezy, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:5 Hours 5 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:3 Hours 20 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Rob Woodall
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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