Updated: Feb 9
July 17–19 2020
In 2020 we have chosen a truly EPIC hike to challenge ourselves with, and bring in funds for Brave Trails! We will be hiking, and climbing, to the top of Mt. Shasta in northern California. Mt. Shasta sits at the southern end of the Cascade volcanic range, and is its second tallest peak, at 14,179’! It is one of California’s twelve 14ers, and the fifth tallest on that list. We tackled Mt. Whitney, the tallest, so now let’s get at another of the big ones!
Mt. Shasta sits alone in its region, along the upper Sacramento River Valley, 5000’ taller than its nearest mountain neighbor. It is one of the most prominent peaks in the United States, so once we are at the top, we will have views 360° for hundreds of miles. Shasta is an active stratovolcano, but has been quiet for the last 300 years or so, not even a peep. It is a truly gorgeous mountain, in a region of forests, plains, and big waterfalls. It is 2 hours north of Redding (the nearest airport), along I5, and 10 hours by car from LA.
So what’s so epic and challenging about this hike? It will be unlike anything that we have done before. At 11 miles, it isn’t very long, less than Half Dome was. But we will gain 7229 in elevation on the way up. Yep, it is steep! There are no established trails up Shasta like there is up Whitney. We will be hiking “cross country”. However, we will use the Avalanche Gulch route, a very popular class one mountaineering route up the mountain, so the way will be clear from hikers before us. I will write a full route description in a later post. The other challenge? Snow! Shasta retains its snow until very late in the season. That means for at least half of the climb, we will be wearing crampons to work our way up the mountain. This will take some specialized training in mountaineering: crampons, ice axe, self-arrest, and glissading. But what fun to learn new skills. And glissading done right is a blast. And believe you me, we would much rather be hiking up a steep scree filled mountain on snow that struggling in loose rock, sand, and ash!
We will all need to pick up this extra training. REI offers a day class to pick up all these skills. If enough of us want to choose this route, we can set up a private group class for all of us. Don’t worry too much about acquiring all of the extra equipment, it is all rentable from REI or up in Mt. Shasta City. Another option that we are considering is hiring a guide at the mountain that would train us all one day, and lead us the next.
These decisions are to be made once we have commitments from hikers.
Another choice still to be made is whether we will hike the whole way in 1 day, to the tune of 12 hours, or hike up halfway to the Helen’s lake region, and then peak the following day. Both have their pros and cons, and we can make that choice later.
The region has many other wonderful places if any of you, like me, want to make a larger trip out of it: Castle Crags State Park, Black Butte, Pluto's Lava Cave. And huge gorgeous waterfalls: Burney Falls, McCloud Upper and Lower Falls, and Mossbrae Falls. Also the Lava Beds National Monument and Lassen National Park are just over yonder to the east.
If you want to join on this EPIC Adventure, register soon! Lots of planning to do, reservations to be made, and training to do! We need to get those hotel reservations in by the end of January, so don’t delay!
Join us for the 2020 Trailmixer Fundraiser Climb at Mount Shasta, July 17, 18 & 19.
NUTS & BOLTS:
Trailhead (Bunny Flats): 6,950 ft
Sierra Hut: 7,900 ft
50/50 Camp: 9,280 ft
Helen’s Lake: 10,400 ft
Summit: 14,179 ft
Length: 11 miles round trip
Altitude Gain: 7,229 ft
The trailhead is just a half hour drive from Mt. Shasta City, two hours north of Redding and ten hours north of LA.
$25 for Hiker Registration
$25 for Wilderness Summit Permit
$50 to $100 for equipment rentals
(If you choose to purchase, that same equipment will run about $300 to $400)
» $150 per night for lodging
Each hiker is responsible for their food, travel and lodging, and also for personal gear and equipment for the climb.
By Rick Gilles, Trailmaster
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