Mount Shasta via the Famous Avalanche Gulch Route

BRIEF SUMMARY While second in height, the Summit of Shasta offers the truest sense of standing at the highest point in California. Climbing the Avalanche Gulch Route is challenging and should be done with a guide or knowledgeable friend if you have never used an ice axe and crampons before. The experience is the pinnacle of embracing California.

John Muir described the mountain best, "Mount Shasta rises in solitary grandeur from the edge of a comparatively low and lightly sculptured lava plain near the northern extremity of the Sierra, and maintains a far more impressive and commanding individuality than any other mountain within the limits of California. Go where you may, within a radius of from fifty to a hundred miles or more, there stands before you the colossal cone of Shasta, clad in ice and snow, the one grand, unmistakable landmark - the pole - star of the landscape."


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Trip Planning
TRAIL INFORMATION
Distance: 11 miles round trip (5.5 from Bunny Flat to the Summit)
Cumulative Elevation: 7,229ft
High Point: 14,179ft
Low Point: 6,950ft (Start at Bunny Flat)
GENERAL INFORMATION
Location: Shasta-Trinity National Forest
Description: While second in height, the Summit of Shasta offers the truest sense of standing at the highest point in California. Climbing the Avalanche Gulch Route is challenging and should be done with a guide or knowledgeable friend if you have never used an ice axe and crampons before. The experience is the pinnacle of embracing California.

John Muir described the mountain best, "Mount Shasta rises in solitary grandeur from the edge of a comparatively low and lightly sculptured lava plain near the northern extremity of the Sierra, and maintains a far more impressive and commanding individuality than any other mountain within the limits of California. Go where you may, within a radius of from fifty to a hundred miles or more, there stands before you the colossal cone of Shasta, clad in ice and snow, the one grand, unmistakable landmark - the pole - star of the landscape."

Permit/Fees: Summit Passes are required to climb or ski above 10,000 ft in the Mount Shasta Wilderness. 3-day summit passes are $20 and available self issue at open trailheads (including Bunny Flat Parking Area), outside the Mt. Shasta Ranger Station 24 hours a day, and at a variety of outdoor stores in Northern California.
Contact: Avalanche/Climbing Hotline: (530) 926-9613

The rangers are very helpful and extremely busy, so try and find available info before calling. I've always been extremely impressed with the team up at Shasta.

Mt. Shasta Avalanche Center and Wilderness Dept.
Mt. Shasta Ranger Station
Shasta-Trinity National Forest
204 West Alma Street
Mount Shasta, CA 96067

Water: For the most part, plan to melt snow and use purifiers. For much of the summer you can get spring water at Horse Camp. It is smart to start the trip with lots of water, just drive up with extra so that you don't have to melt water until you get to camp at Helen Lake.
Bathrooms: There is a bathroom at Bunny Flat. After that, all climbers must pack out. This saves the mountain from turning into a stinky mess.
Address: See Google Map (Turn north on the Everett Memorial Hwy and note your odometer reading. Travel along this winding highway for 11 miles. There are milepost markers along the highway. The road ends at the Bunny Flat parking lot.)
Parking: There is generally plenty of parking between Monday through Friday. The parking lot gets packed and cars get creative on the more popular summer weekends. Make sure and take as little space as possible. I've been up 5 times and never had trouble finding parking.
Book: Climbing Mt. Shasta: Route 1, Avalanche Gulch
Map: MAP of Mt. Shasta Wilderness Recreation (Recreation Map)
Additional Info: This is the best resource for immediate information: http://www.shastaavalanche.org/
GOOGLE MAP
About Google Maps for Directions:
This is a GPS location. Just enter your "From" address in Google Maps and the directions Google provides will take you to this location.

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3 comments:

  1. Great video. I'd like to know what you are packing in your pack on the way to the top? If you make a base camp can you tell me what you take to the summit and what you leave behind?

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    Replies
    1. Billy,

      Here is a quick shot at answering your question. Let me know if you have more questions.

      I think your asking what to bring for a single day ascent?

      Here's what I'd bring:
      * Black Diamond Helmet
      * Headlamp
      * Warm Cap
      * Sun Cap
      * Goggles/sunglasses with good coverage
      * Sunscreen
      * Thin long sleeve shirt
      * Soft Shell or Medium fleece or anything that is warm and light
      * Down Jacket (You could drop this, but it is nice for stops and great for enjoying the summit)
      * Shell
      * Softshell Pants
      * Cheap shell if you are going to glacade (slide down the mountain)
      * Medium Smartwool Pro Socks
      * Plastic boots / Leather climbing boots also work
      * Black Diamond Crampons
      * Hiking Poles are nice for the section below 10,000 feet
      * Black Diamond Ice Axe
      * Thin gloves
      * Glove Shell
      * Down Glove (only if weather is extremely cold and you have problems with fingers getting cold
      * Backpack
      * Food: Candy, Bars, Salty Snacks (I bring about 3,000 calories for each day (hard to get it down in altitude)
      * 4 Liters of water unless you are going to boil (I bring a jetboil and boil snow)
      * Nikon D700
      * Canon SX200

      Leave Behind:
      * Extra clothes
      * Tent
      * Sleeping pad and bag
      * Stove (maybe take a jet boil to the top)
      * Shovel
      * Hiking poles
      * Any food that exceeds about 3,000 calories

      Success on Shasta comes down to walking slower than you think you should, eating regularly, drinking a few sips every 30 minutes, and good weather. Let me know if I can help with anything else. Have a great trip, Shasta is a full experience.

      Ryan Commons


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