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Climbing Mt. Shasta 2015

March has arrived and we find ourselves in a mild high pressure weather window. Hardly the lion we were hoping for, but we can enjoy the snow coated Mt. Shasta while tracking the jet stream for our next storm system. Historically March can be very wintery and wet in Northern California, there is some hope on the horizon for additional snow next week. And despite the talk of drought, we have been very fortunate on Mt. Shasta to receive significant storms this year to put our snow pack about average for 2015. And average=awesome on this Cascade peak!

Welcome sign at Horse Camp, Mt. Shasta

Welcome sign at Horse Camp, Mt. Shasta

Current Conditions: We did receive a modest amount of new snow last Friday-Saturday (2/27-28). Enough to smooth the snowpack and reset the climbing and skiing, but not quite enough for prolonged powder turns. With the mild temps on tap this weekend, we expect yet another excellent corn cycle on Mt. Shasta. There is several feet of snow at the trailhead and above 8,000′ the pack is smooth and mostly consolodated. A slight concern for isolated wind slabs but otherwise low avalanche hazard exists. Best skiing will be on south and east aspects during the warmest part of the day. Climbing is possible with good, winter conditions on all routes. There will be icefall concern as the weather warms later this week from the upper mountain shedding rime ice.

Mt. Shasta local pro Forrest Coots skis around the avalanche debris in Avalanche Gulch March 3rd

Mt. Shasta local pro Forrest Coots skis around avalanche debris in Avalanche Gulch March 3rd

Upcoming highlights:¬†As mentioned above, we’re just slightly above normal (102%) for our water this year. The mild and wet storms that we received translated into a deep, consolodated upper mountain snowpack. This means Spring and Summer will have excellent climbing and ski mountaineering on Mt. Shasta this year.

The West Face of Mt. Shasta and Shastina

The West Face of Mt. Shasta and Shastina

We are offering a new program this year for motivated adventure seekers; a Cascade 2 for 1. A chance to climb both Mt. Shasta and Shastina in a single trip! April 17-20 will be our new Ski and Snowboard Mountaineering Seminar. 4 days camped in Hidden Valley with the goal of skiing the West Face Gully on Mt. Shasta and the Southeast Face of Shastina.

Perfect corn skiing on Shastina's Diller Canyon

Dr. Sean Malee SMG’s Medical Advisor skiing perfect corn on Shastina’s Diller Canyon

April 28-May 1 will be for the climbers with the same goal but hopefully epic glissading down the routes! For mountaineers looking for an extra challenge and the opportunity to explore Shastina, one of the Cascades  hidden gems!

Dane Brinkley topping out on Shastina with Sean Malee and Nick Caselli

Dane Brinkley topping out on Shastina with Sean Malee and Nick Caselli

Local Senior Guide Dane Brinkley has been keeping busy leading our day ski tours. He’s stoked to find the best snow on the mountain and will be available for our Serendipity Day Tours this winter and spring.

Although it’s been an interesting winter, we’re hoping to see several more storms before spring really sets in. It’s always hard to predict but it’s hardly unusual to see cold, wet weather in April and May. The prime climbing season is just around the corner and we’re fired up for our 33rd season on the Mountain! As always, contact us for the latest conditions, we’re on the Mountain daily.

Comments

  1. Great report and thanks for posting! I’m looking forward to joining SMG in 86 more days for a Shasta summit climb. Cheers!

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