Mt. Shasta spring update and conditions report

It’s early spring on Mt. Shasta and this can mean many things. The sun may shine above a bank of clouds or we may be engulfed in a sea of fog. The weather may be mild and skiing sublime, or a winter-like storm with snow falling to town level. This is exactly what we have this week on Mt. Shasta, every day bringing changing weather and a variety of conditions.

Skiing Casaval Ridge Mt. Shasta, CA

Styles Larsen skiing Casaval Ridge Mt. Shasta, CA April 2016

We’ve seen mild temps with high freezing and snow levels, the skiing and climbing have been variable with good conditions found in the right places. That will change as a cold front approaches and looks to drop 6-12″ of new snow by Thursday 4/14. In other words, a spring powder day and chance to savor winter’s chilly winds and fresh snow. The front will quickly pass and be replaced by high pressure and above average temps by the weekend 4/16.

Sean Malee skis Powder Bowl, Mt. Shasta April 2016

Sean Malee skis Powder Bowl, Mt. Shasta April 2016

This is a fairly typical spring pattern with mild weather interrupted by short storms and moderate amounts of precipitation. Our first summit trip is planned on Casaval Ridge 4/15-17. With all the snow this year, this route is once again in excellent condition. Casaval requires a deep snowpack for best climbing and Mt. Shasta is well above average. We were scouting and skiing the lower route this week and found good snow and fun conditions.

Casaval Ridge Mt. Shasta, CA

Casaval Ridge Mt. Shasta, CA

This year’s snowpack is ideal for all the climbing and skiing routes on Mt. Shasta. Each will have it’s optimal window of best conditions with a long season anticipated. We’re gearing up and can’t wait to see our crew back for the upcoming climbing season. Our guide staff is what makes the experience with Shasta Mountain Guides unique. They are ¬†genuinely committed to helping you achieve your goal while having a good time doing it.

Basecamp Hidden Valley Mt. Shasta, CA

Senior staff Rich Meyer, Eric Layton, Pat Bush at Hidden Valley Mt. Shasta, CA

As locals, we cherish not only the mountain but the surrounding area and are blessed with all manner of raw natural beauty. Wherever your interest lies for outdoor recreation, the Mt. Shasta area is abundant with quality experiences for all levels of adventure. We invite you to Far Northern California; Mt. Shasta will surprise you with accessible terrain for all.

Come visit our shop and store front at 230 N. Mt. Shasta Blvd. We’re adding products and will be hosting full time open hours this spring and summer. See you on Mt. Shasta!


  1. Joseph Gregory says:

    Killer! Great photos!

    I’m hoping to climb AG mid-May. Not a skier, have axe, ‘pons, and helmet. Do you think I will need snowshoes then? OR will the snow be consolidated enough that I won’t posthole by then?

    Like I said, not a skier though, does this route have safe-enough terrain to glissade portions?


    • Hi Joseph,

      Thanks, glad you like the reports. Despite the ski-centric tone of our reports, the majority of people on Mt. Shasta are here to climb. Mt. Shasta is recognized as a prime spot for backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering, however you travel is all good!

      You likely will not need snowshoes for a climb in mid-May but current conditions will make the final decision. Feel free to contact us or the USFS climbing ranger report for the latest conditions update. There is potential to glissade a large portion of the route. We do not recommend glissading through Red Banks but below 12,000′ is usually very good.

      Good luck!


  2. Love the SMG blog and can’t wait to be back on Shasta this season. Climbing AG May 21-22 and hope to be back on HB with SMG in July or August. Also thinking about West Face in June – is the route basically straight up the middle gully in the photo above and then joins Misery Hill at the top of Casaval? Thanks.

    • Hi Lindsay, thanks! Glad you love the reports, we’re happy to share, especially in a good year like this. AG should be in great shape for your climb as well as the Hotlum-Bolam in July and/or August. June on the West Face sounds like a great summer of climbs on Shasta! Yes, the routes is basically straight up the gully. The first section above Hidden Valley is steep and we often take a variation that heads east on the lower angle slopes and then traverses back to join the gully proper above the steep direct ascent, but either are good choices. The gully tops out about 13,000′ and then there’s a short uphill traverse to the base of Misery.

      Good luck and let us know if you have any other questions. -Chris

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