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#36538 - 05/16/14 09:13 PM Mt Shasta
nyker Online


Registered: 07/26/12
Posts: 202
Loc: New York
I've heard there has also been less snow up near Shasta this year. I understand that the best climbing (ie in good consolidated snow) is typically mid May through early July most years.

Does anyone have an idea of how this year fares with regard with snowpack on Shasta and how the standard (Avalanche Gulch) route might look or how long it will be "in" this year given the precip/snow fall this season?

Thanks!

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#36540 - 05/16/14 10:44 PM Re: Mt Shasta [Re: nyker]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7554
Loc: Fresno, CA
I only know two things:
I saw a webcam picture back in Jan or Feb showing a nearly barren mountain.

I once climbed Shasta in August, and would not recommend that to anyone. (Views were horrible due to annual summer fires, too.) Compared to May/June ascents before, the glissading was short and instead was way more uneven cobbled broken basalt rock to descend on. It was miserable.

Based on the above, the sooner you go the better. Save it for another year if you can't make it by mid-June.

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#36541 - 05/17/14 02:02 AM Re: Mt Shasta [Re: nyker]
Bee Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1261
Loc: Northern California
The one and only time I did any hiking on Shasta was during a dry year. The term 'scree slog' comes to mind. Some mountains are better done with a good, solid base (I have heard that parts of the MR are said to be the same)
_________________________
The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.

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#36543 - 05/17/14 07:37 AM Re: Mt Shasta [Re: nyker]
Akichow Offline


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
If you call Fifth Season, the sporting goods store in Shasta, they'll give you the run down. They are generous with their info re mountain conditions and their advice.

http://www.thefifthseason.com/climginginfo.html

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#36544 - 05/17/14 09:00 AM Re: Mt Shasta [Re: Akichow]
KevinR Offline


Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 591
Loc: Manchester, NH
I'm hoping to do it again in mid-June via Avalanche Gulch. Here are some links I use -

Real-time cam of the mountain.

Mt Shasta Avalanche Center

Mt Shasta Climbing Advisory (this one especially helpful)

In addition to the 5th Season, call the USFS Ranger Station. Have always found them most helpful and accurate with their conditions report.

If anyone's interested in an old trip report, here's one I did back in 2006 - http://www.hewhohikes.com/Mt%20Shasta%20Trip%20Report.htm

If anyone knows the availability of running water at Horse Camp please post it here.

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#36545 - 05/17/14 09:11 AM Re: Mt Shasta [Re: Akichow]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1134
Loc: NorCal
I'm trying to get up there again this year so I've been watching this also. I'm hoping snow conditions will hold until mid-June or I find another partner that can go earlier. We plan to do the east side so it's a little longer season than Avy Gulch, which gets hit hard with afternoon sun. Conditions are great right now, but they will deteriorate rapidly in a matter of weeks. By July, it will be probably be crappy, but as others have written, it can be done any time.

Fifth Season has good beta - usually on a recording and here's another link by the Climbing Ranger:

Mt Shasta Climbing Advisory

Best time to climb: The best time to climb Mt. Shasta is generally from late May to mid July on the SW side of the mountain when summer days are longer and the weather is generally stable. However, in dry years (2007/2008), the thin snow pack creates the best climbing conditions in April, May and early June. When the snow melts away, you are left with 7000 feet of scree, talus and boulders. In heavy snow years the climbing season extends to August or September. There is NO trail to the summit. Climbing is much more safe and fun on consolidated snow!

Edit: Kevin snuck in a post with this same info while I was typing. One last thing, last year in June there was still snow, but the sun cups were huge, which made for difficult footing. And it was really icy going through the Red Banks chutes. So even if there's still snow on the route, late season can be poor conditions. Still a great climb.

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#36546 - 05/17/14 09:19 AM Re: Mt Shasta [Re: KevinR]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1134
Loc: NorCal
Originally Posted By: KevinR

If anyone knows the availability of running water at Horse Camp please post it here.

From the Climbing Advisory:

Horse Camp: The composting toilets are now open! The spring, however, is still buried by snow.

Composting toilet? Yeah, it's really nice actually, much better than the vault toilet at the trailhead. But I digress...

Kevin - PM me if you're looking for a climbing partner. I would prefer to go the first weekend in June if possible. I'm okay with Avy Gulch route, but you might be interested in the east side.

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#36547 - 05/17/14 09:35 AM Re: Mt Shasta [Re: SierraNevada]
KevinR Offline


Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 591
Loc: Manchester, NH
Will keep you posted, SN. Am going with a friend (the same Al as in the trip report) - we're older but sturdy!

As for best time to climb - I once asked that of a snow ranger as we spent a quiet evening gabbing at Helen Lake. He said historically the best conditions occur around Memorial Day, but the busiest weekend is July 4th. And of course, that's historically speaking. Every year is different, and Mt Shasta is one of those anomalies where they get more snow - rather than less - as a result of climate change.

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#36548 - 05/17/14 10:24 AM Re: Mt Shasta [Re: KevinR]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1134
Loc: NorCal
Yeah, the conditions are perfect right now and Memorial would be the time to go. Once rocks start getting exposed, the ground absorbs more sun and the melt accelerates. It's amazing how fast a thin layer of snow can disappear once that process starts. BTW, I'm in the steady and sturdy camp, not a young buck anymore.

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#36552 - 05/17/14 03:47 PM Re: Mt Shasta [Re: SierraNevada]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7554
Loc: Fresno, CA
One more thing came to mind: When I was up that time in August, I helped a couple descend the red banks area. That late, they had ascended withOUT crampons. The red banks are sloping, loose, more soil-like than rock, with little marble-sized rocks covering the not-too-steep slope.

Without the crampons, they were trying to walk on a slope of marbles. With crampons on, I literally held the lady's hand and walked her down through it.

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#36577 - 05/19/14 07:11 AM Re: Mt Shasta [Re: Steve C]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1134
Loc: NorCal
Last June 21st there was one Red Banks chute with snow left and it was solid ice within the chute. People were falling left and right. The snow cups in Avy Gulch were a foot deep (+/-) making footing difficult on the climb. The glissading was surprisingly good though on the way down though. Butt, watch out for those marble-sized rocks accumulating in the glissade chutes. I've ripped lightweight rain pants on a few of those (and it smarts too).

Less snow this year, so the late season challenges will occur even sooner.

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#36669 - 05/21/14 01:48 PM Re: Mt Shasta [Re: SierraNevada]
nyker Online


Registered: 07/26/12
Posts: 202
Loc: New York
Thanks all. Appreicate the information. If and when my plans finalize, I'll let you know in case anyone wants to meet there if it works out! Would love to get to it. before it melts out.

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#36673 - 05/21/14 06:14 PM Re: Mt Shasta [Re: nyker]
LindsayN Offline


Registered: 05/21/14
Posts: 11
Loc: San Jose, CA
first time post after lurking here for a few months. I climbed part way up Avalanche Gulch May 3-4. May 3 was warm (t-shirt hiking weather) and the hike in late morning/early afternoon was very soft with a lot of postholing up to at least 8000 feet. The first part of the trail from Bunny Flat was almost completely melted out and above that snowshoes would have made it a lot easier - skiers definitely had the advantage over hikers. May 4 was cold and very windy as a storm front moved in (est. 30+ at Helen Lake and was told 60+ above Red Banks), but the snow above 8500 feet was firm and made for good cramponing early morning (too firm for safe glissading until later in the day). I don't think there were any summits that day due to the wind and the hike out was low visibility with some hail/snow flurries. A group from Bay Area Mountaineering Meetup were up there that weekend as well and posted a video Mt Shasta Avalanche Gulch May 3-4, 2014 which will give you a good idea of conditions and coverage (but that was almost 3 weeks ago now). Shasta Mountain Guides blog on May 13 also had some info and photos and check the weather forecast here: Shasta Weather Forecast. We've had some warm weather in Northern CA the past 2 weeks so conditions may have changed. Go soon and good luck.

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#36675 - 05/21/14 06:52 PM Re: Mt Shasta [Re: LindsayN]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1134
Loc: NorCal
Originally Posted By: LindsayN
first time post after lurking here for a few months.

Welcome, and thanks for the info.

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#36843 - 05/28/14 02:54 PM Re: Mt Shasta [Re: SierraNevada]
Steve_SD Offline


Registered: 06/24/13
Posts: 5
Loc: San Diego, Ca
Summited on Sunday (05/25) via the Clear Creek route. Snow conditions were great on the way up and perfect on the way down for a miles long glissade back to camp. Bit of a sketchy decent down to UFO rock due to loose snow conditions, but managable. Go sooner rather than later as it was a very warm weekend.

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#36858 - 05/29/14 12:47 AM Re: Mt Shasta [Re: Steve_SD]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7554
Loc: Fresno, CA
Steve_SD: did you bring back any pictures??

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#36916 - 05/30/14 03:35 PM Re: Mt Shasta [Re: Steve C]
Steve_SD Offline


Registered: 06/24/13
Posts: 5
Loc: San Diego, Ca


Edited by Steve C (06/01/14 01:32 AM)
Edit Reason: insert images

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#36964 - 06/01/14 01:32 AM Re: Mt Shasta [Re: Steve_SD]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7554
Loc: Fresno, CA
Whoa! Nice pictures.

thanks

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#37006 - 06/02/14 09:17 AM Re: Mt Shasta [Re: Steve C]
Steve_SD Offline


Registered: 06/24/13
Posts: 5
Loc: San Diego, Ca
Thanks for the assist on the upload.

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