Last Sunday I climbed Mount Shasta with Joel Lanz. It was a beautiful day on the mountain with brilliant sunshine, excellent clarity, relatively warm temps, and light winds up top. I enjoyed gorgeous views virtually the entire way up the mountain, which included the rugged Trinity Alps, Lake Shastina, the upper Sacramento Valley, Lassen Peak, Mt. McLauglin, Siskyou Mountains, and Oregon Cascades.
The crux of the climb was the steep stretch between Lake Helen and the top of the Red Banks, which were extremely firm and smooth ice/snow. In addition, rime ice chunks on the Red Banks rocks were peeling off and funneling into the route at exceptionally fast speeds. A helmet was an essential piece of gear and we stayed to climber’s right to avoid the bowling alley. In fact, the weekend was unprecedented with ten search and rescue operations and five helicopter evacuations on the mountain. Climbers either could not self arrest after slipping on the icy surface or were hit by the ice chunks causing them to lose balance.
The climb took 7:45 roundtrip starting at 3:48 am from Bunny Flat and finishing at 11:33 am. The ascent was 4:24, 30 minutes on top, and 2:51 down. The firm/icy snow conditions in Avalanche Gulch allowed for fast cramponing on the way up, but a painstakingly slow descent for the first few hundred vertical feet below the Red Banks. Overall, it was an awesome climb!
A complete trip report with many photos is here!