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shasta in spring


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I climbed Shasta at the veru beginning of April last year. It was a joy. The very accessible south side routes were all in fine shape. We intended to climb Casaval, but after looking up and all that snow on the Avy Gulch route we couldn't resist the urge to ski it. We camped at the "lake" and had it our to ourselves, a stark contrast to the summer hordes. We had great cramponing on crisp neve in the morning and skied from the base of the summit pyramid to the car. From the lake to the car the snow was glorious corn, some of the best turns I've had on a volcano.

Casaval, which I climbed a few years ago, is a more entertaining climb, but wouldn't ski nearly as well. It is much less challenging, technically, than any of the routes on Rainier

Go early, take skis, go high, enjoy.


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No crevasses, no avy danger. In fact, it was colder on Shasta than on Rainier two days earlier. We didn't take a rope. Didn't use one on Casaval, either. It's a personal choice and you should make yours separate of what I did.

I've climbed all the volcanoes in Washington, plus Hood, Middle Sister, Broken Top, and Shasta.

Happy climbing-


PS- We had great weather on Shasta. Two weeks later two experienced climbers died from exposure in a whiteout. Don't underestimate it.

[This message has been edited by CascadeClimber (edited 02-25-2001).]

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Wydrav13 - If you leave your skis at the top of the Hogsback (near Crater Rock, can't miss it) on Hood, and climb that last hundred feet or so to the summit and back, then ski all the way down, there virtually are no crevasses to fall into. The only real crevasse on Hood's south face is the 'schrund high up above the Hogs back. Skiers ski from the summit each year, and almost daily from the Hogsback between March and June. Go for it!

Pretty much the same on Adams. There are crevasses on the top, but the route is so wide, and easy to follow. If unsure, you could leave the skis at Piker's Peak (South Summit) hump the last few hundred meters to the top and back, the ski down. The chances of skiing into a crevasse there are very, very slim.

My understanding on Avy Gulch is the same, virtually no crevasses. Having never been there though, I can't say for sure.

I have never been on Casaval, but it sure looks like a scenic climb. Has anyone here climbed Sergent's Ridge? That climb looks like a great one on Shasta too. Not super technical, but enough topography to keep it interesting, with views in several directions.

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Bob Davis and I climbed Casaval Ridge in late spring 1995. Straightforward and beautiful route. We carried a rope fully expecting to use it, but never did. I agree that the Avalanche Gulch would be a better ski than Casaval, and I personaly think St. Helens is a better ski than Hood. South Spur of Adams is on par with Shasta in terms of a long ski. You can't go wrong with any of these.

The cool thing about Shasta is it's a great road trip and the town and mountain have a very strong positive vibe. I'm not a crystal and incense kind of guy, but it's hard not to feel groovy in the town of Mount Shasta.

Party on.

John Sharp

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I suspect that the skiing window on Adams will be short this year. The south side gets blasted by the sun and in recent years it has turned into a mess of rotten sastrugi by mid-summer. I tried to ski from Piker's in early August, 1999 and ended up taking my skis off and walking most of the way back to the lunch counter. It was the mogul field from hell. Go early!

But about Hood- I've skied twice from the true summit and I have to say that shooting through the Pearly Gates with that 'schrund smiling up at me from below is one of the more thrilling experiences I've had skiing the volcanoes.

Shasta- Mt. Shasta City is a very cool little town. There is a mountain shop, The Fifth Season, full of nice, friendly folks, great cragging nearby, and for a real treat stop off at Stewart Mineral Springs.


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I second the kind words about the Fifth Season climbing shop. On a business trip through that area three years ago, they found me a guide with Michael Zanger's Shasta guide service on very short notice. I wanted a belay slave for local rock for half a day, and got one. Great guy, great break from work. If I go down again, I'll build in time for Castle Crags.


P.S. I once watched a German guy ski through the Pearly Gates on Hood and jump the bergschrund on short skis with a lit cigarette hanging out of his mouth. Pretty bad ass dude.

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