Mt Shasta 14,162′ Avalanche Gulch 8/5/2011

So the original plan was to head up for the Winds for 5 days. Nate had to report to his new job in Prudhoe Bay, AK on the second day of that trip so I had to figure something else out. I surely wasn’t going into the Winds alone, there’s just too many grizzly bears up there for my taste. I really needed to do a road trip though as so many of my days this year were spent in the nearby Tenmile and Mosquito range. I craved the expanses of the open road and the time to think. I yearned for the focus and lack of focus that comes from 3000 miles. I figured I could get some skiing in if I headed west. So I packed up the truck and made for California. The plan was to do Lassen Peak 1st then hit Shasta, McLoughlin and Hood. I made it to just past Reno and camped in my truck at a rest area. In the morning I headed up to Lassen National Park. The plan was to climb the snow up the South Face then ski the Northeast Face to Emigrant Pass and hitchhike back to the truck. This is supposedly an awesome car shuttle as it offers about 4000 vert of descent for just 2000 vert of hiking.

Well in the US Government’s infinite wisdom they decided to close the entire mountain. The reason was that they were doing trail work on .7 miles of trail on the south face. I asked if I could access the peak from the Northeast Face and was rudely told that the whole mountain was closed, she also said there was no skiing. I guess I can see why the Tea Party doesn’t want to pay taxes. This is a bullshit move NPS. Tourists aren’t going to climb the Northeast Face its too far and high, and I would have respected the southern closure. LAME.

Irritated I drove to Redding and headed north to Shasta City. Got a nice and early start the next day and headed out from the trailhead up into Avalanche Gulch. I made decent time for the first 3 hours. I climbed 1600 vert and 2.3 miles in the 1st hour and right around that pace for the next 2 more. Heading up to the thumb saddle I was kind of surprised by how hard the snow was and I decided to stop pressing so hard. I took the chance to talk to each of the groups that I passed. I figured that in order to have soft snow for the ski I’d need to be skiing in about 4 hours. At the top of the Red Banks pass I got a really cool view of the Konwakiton Glacier. Then I headed up to Misery Hill and dropped my crampons. Chatted with some guides on their way down and snapped some pictures. It was strange to see weather coming from the east, hough the clouds didn’t seem to be very convergent. The wind was non-existent. Such a pleasant trip. The angle was perfect for a long day.

As for the skiing I dropped in about 20 vert from the actual summit. Then I booted down about 30 vert. and i skied a total of 5500 vert. Not bad for August in my opinion. The snow was really good for the 1st 3000 vert then the suncups and runnels made for pure hell for about 2200 vert. The exit gully was surprisingly good for about 300 vert. So much fun.

Afterward I headed up to visit some dear old friends in Ashland. It had been too long you two. In the morning I headed over to Mt McLoughlin. I wasn’t sure how much snow it had so I drove around and scoped out the Northeast Bowl and was disappointed by what I saw. Not worth it. Feeling a bit dejected I though about what to do. My knee wasn’t feeling all that great I thought Mt Hood might be a bad idea so I just decided to head home. So much fun though. I love the road. Perhaps a ski in RMNP or the Indian Peaks on Tuesday. Enjoy the photos.


Somewhere in Wyoming
Which way do I go?
I love road trips
Yeah there's no skiing on Mt Lassen


First look at Mt Shasta
Looking up Avalanche Gulch at sunrise
Such a different place. From the look to the smell
Looking up at the route
Heading up
The Red Banks
The upper Konwakiton Glacier. Pretty
The upper Whitney Glacier. Also pretty
Summit plateau
Happy place
SkiLogiks on Shasta's Summit
Dropping in
Nice corn
Upper Konwakiton Glacier
So much great skiing in Avalanche Gulch
Mt McLoughlin. Gonna come back for this when there's more snow
Happy trails to you until we meet again


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