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Late Summer Mt. Shasta Conditions Report

August is upon us and we’re scrambling to enjoy the last few weeks of summer here in the north state. If you have your mind on a climb in 2012, do it soon! Late summer brings a number of changes to Mt. Shasta. Warm summer temps melt the remaining snow on the south side climbing routes and we cease guiding on these routes. We finished up on Avalanche Gulch in mid July and the West Face went to the end of the month.

We recommend and are climbing on the north side glacier routes for the remainder of the season. These climbs are slightly more difficult (both technically and physically) than the regular south side climbs. Being glaciated and north facing, it can be icy and steeper late in the season.

Hotlum-Bolam Sunrise

Hotlum-Bolam Sunrise

We really enjoy the Hotlum-Bolam route accessed from the Northgate trailhead. This is a perfect introduction to glacier climbing and provides a scenic and enjoyable ascent on Shasta’s much less frequented north east flank. This climb features snow and ice up to 45 degrees, belayed sections, and a growing glacier and bergschrund; a perfect next step!

The other highlight is climbing on the Hotlum Glacier. This is a large and active glacier with a series of 3 spectacular ice falls to avoid or play on, depending on your objectives. If you want to expand your skills and experience or are training for bigger objectives, the Hotlum is a perfect destination for advancced skills and climbing.

Tucker on the Hotlum Glacier

Tucker on the Hotlum Glacier

This season, 2 of our guides; Tucker Cunningham and Drew Smith made an ascent of the Hotlum Headwall. This is a 300′ tall face of questionable rock perched at 13,000′ at the top of the glacier. This has seen only a handfull of ascents and they did it great form; see Tucker’s report here: Tucker Cunnngham’s Adventures and Drew’s photos here: Drew Smith MyPlan

Looking down the Hotlum Headwall

Looking down the Hotlum Headwall

These routes will be in great shape for the next month or so. ¬†Although it is possible to climb Mt. Shasta year round; we usually stop scheduling group climbs in mid September. As the fall progresses days are cold and short and the possibility of new snow and poor weather increases. Along with generally poor conditions on most routes, we don’t really recommend a climb until more favorable conditions prevail.

Hotlum Glacier

Hotlum Glacier

We hope you get out and enjoy the remaining summer in the mountains! We’ll be wrapping our regular season and anticipating what comes next here in NorCal!

 

Comments

  1. I am planning to return to Mt. Shasta next summer, and I would like to do a little more hiking and climbing up on the mountain. I want to know what you recommend, that is very easy, around Bunny Flats? and what more I can do to increase my wind. lol. I heard about jogging/cardio to increase it. Also, I would like to climb up the Castle Crags PCT, and I was looking for a guide to go with me or possibly as a small group.

    Thank You!

    • There are many great hikes in the area to help you prepare for the summit climb. Hiking from Bunny Flat to Lake Helen is a great warm up and non technical late in the season. The hike to Hidden Valley, South Gate Meadows, Black Butte, Castle Dome, Mt. Eddy, Castle Lake are all great options.
      There are many training plans documented. The best training for mountaineering is to simulate the activity. Hike uphill with a backpack over rough terrain with as much vertical gain as you can manage.
      Good luck and let us know if you would like to arrange for a guide.

  2. backpacker magazine summitforsomeone.org inspired me to contact. I don’t have any gear & if I could be sponsored by backpacker,jansport,or mountain gear would be awesome. I have always visioned climbing mt shasta and I really think Shasta tour guides must be some of the most awesome people on this planet. I am 48 yrs old & willing to die for an opportunity to climb mt shasta. Obviously die climbing or after not before. I have been a UPS driver for 25 years & 45lbs overweight but honestly in pretty good shape. I will be exercising daily. What do I have to do to be sponsored to help a teen and what high quality gear can be rented, borrowed or donated to keep my cost down. What would be my expenses. I can wait a year if I have to. I have been waiting for 20 yrs already but need to do this while I am still young and beautiful

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