Mt. Shasta Guide Report: 12 Straight Days in Avalanche Gulch

Here is another in our series of special guide posts and trip reports. This comes from Greg Cunningham, a senior guide and dedicated skier. Greg spends the winter as a ski patroller at Kirkwood Mountain Resort and heads to Mt. Shasta as soon as the resort closes for the spring and summer volcano season.

Greg Cunningham Mt. Shasta summit plateau

Greg Cunningham Mt. Shasta summit plateau

We often say that what makes SMG special is our amazingly talented and skilled guide staff. We are honored to have such a capable crew who are passionate about the outdoors and sharing that experience with our guests. Thanks Greg and our entire guide family!

 

 

 

12 Straight Days in Avalanche Gulch

The 2015 guiding season with Shasta Mountain Guides got started in a hurry. After another meager winter in Tahoe, I was eager to get back up to Mt. Shasta and coax what I could out of the remaining ski season. My first ski trip was scheduled for April 25-27, and conditions were looking good; high pressure, warm days, and cool nights promised classic Shasta corn. Driving north from Kirkwood, I didn’t yet realize that my first three day would turn into a 12 day marathon of four consecutive ski trips, stellar clients, great friends, and 40,000 vertical feet of some of the best spring skiing anywhere.

Orly skiing up the lunar landscape of the Lower Gulch

Orly skiing up the lunar landscape of the Lower Gulch

Trip number one brought clear skies, perfect conditions, and two great guests. Luke and Orly showed up psyched and ready to go. We wasted no time getting after it, and spent the first two days skiing dreamy Shasta corn, acclimatizing, and dialing in our climbing skills for summit day. On summit day, conditions were absolutely ideal, and after recruiting Jacob from guide training to help out, we got Luke to the summit, skied two great ski lines and got a rare guided ski descent of the Trinity Chutes in great condition.

Kyle carefully climbing into the center Trinity Chute

Kyle carefully climbing into the center Trinity Chute

The second trip of the streak was a personal trip with friends from Kirkwood, and as I returned to Horsecamp the next day, I felt like I had never left. We were even able to use the same tent platforms that we had sculpted in the snow on the previous trip. This trip was a bit more casual than the first, but there was no shortage of motivated skiers, classic lines and great snow. I left my friends on Thursday evening and skied out to Bunny Flat, knowing that I would run into them tomorrow as I headed back in with my next group.

Skiing out of the Trinities

Skiing out of the Trinities

The third trip of the corn shredding extravaganza brought Phil and Andrew for Andrew’s birthday celebration, and probably the best conditions of the spring thus far. We quickly became friends, and since I had spent the previous six days skiing in Avalanche Gulch, we wasted no time finding the good skiing. The truth is, at this point in the weather cycle, the good skiing was everywhere, and it was hard to go wrong.  We skied great lines off of Casaval Ridge and in the Lower Gulch, and then lounged in the afternoon sun, as we rested up for our summit day.  On summit day, we started at 4am under a full moon that completely illuminated the Mountain, so much so that we didn’t need to use our headlamps. Climbing conditions were excellent, and we summited and skied 6,000′ continuous vert of Mt Shasta magic.

Dan and I on the summit on the fourth and final trip

Dan and I on the summit on the fourth and final trip

My fourth and final consecutive trip brought Dan out from Manhattan in search of a summit and a ski descent all the way back down.  We spent the first two days skiing, exploring all that Avalanche Gulch has to offer, and practicing our climbing skills for what was forecasted to be a somewhat rugged summit day. Our summit day was cold and a stiff north wind was blowing. Besides one other party, we were apparently the only ones on the upper mountain.  The snow was in excellent condition for cramponing, and we made good progress and summited right at noontime. The cold temps and north winds weren’t very conducive to soft skiing. Luckily, Dan grew up skiing in New England and is no stranger to skiing hard snow. We negotiated the upper mountain smoothly and efficiently, and to our relief, found softening snow for the last couple thousand feet of our run.  Although conditions were challenging at times, Dan was psyched and the trip was a total success.

And so concluded an epic start to the 2015 season.  4 ski trips back to back, summits on every trip, day after day of endless corn skiing, and 12 days and 40,000 vertical feet of human powered skiing. Mount Shasta has an entire range worth of skiing on one mountain, and although we skied only in Avalanche Gulch for the entire time, we were always skiing different lines and never getting bored.  Avalanche Gulch is still holding good snow, but my attention is now turning towards the other sides of the mountain in hopes of riding out the ski season as long as possible. Reports from the West Face are of good coverage and great, smooth snow, and it’s about time to start heading out to explore the North and East sides of the mountain.  I have a feeling I’ll be skiing for another month or more, and I can’t wait to share some more turns with new guests and old friends alike.

SMG Trip Report Denali Prep April 2015

A favorite early season trip is our Denali Prep Course. Mt. Shasta is a long way from Denali (Mt. McKinley) but we’ve been offering this trip for several reasons: 1. Mt. Shasta is a perfect training ground for bigger objectives and winter storms can be as fierce and cold as anywhere. Whether your first climb or 50th, Mt. Shasta will whip you into shape while delivering some valuable mountain lessons. 2. Many of our guides also lead trips to climb North America’s tallest peak and what a great opportunity to learn expedition skills from those actually doing it.

This year’s trip was ideal Alaska training conditions and we had SMG Senior Guide Patrick Chu leading the climb. Patrick heads north from Mt. Shasta to guide a couple climbs on Mt. Rainier before heading to Talkeetna and guiding a climb up Mt. McKinley. Assisting Patrick was Jacob Swartz; Alaska native, SMG Lead Guide, and Squaw Valley big mountain instructor. Along with a winter storm forecast, all the pieces were in place for a great learning experience.

This season will be turning the keyboard over to some of our guides who will offer a first hand report of some special trips and expeditions on Mt. Shasta. After 5 days of snow, wind, and single digit temps here’s Patrick’s narrative of the trip.

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As I rummaged through my equipment bins I found myself pulling out sunglasses, light down layers, and spring gloves. Although it was 60 degrees, I was packing for a Denali Prep climb on Mt Shasta. It had been a little while since I had guided on Shasta and in my mind I envisioned 5 days of blue skies, corn snow, and maybe even a pair of flip flops. I was wrong! By the time I arrived in town it had become apparent that the coldest storm of the entire winter was creeping towards the mountain packing feet of new snow, high winds, and bitter cold temps. Suddenly my backpack was stuffed to the brim with goggles, mittens, puffy pants, and whatever else might provide some protection and warmth to battle the storm.
The calm before the storm

The calm before the storm

Day 1: A group of deidicated climbers departed from Bunny Flat under stellar spring conditions on Friday 4/3, taking turns towing a sled full of group gear to simulate the mandatory sled hauling that occurs on Denali. We built a simple camp at Horse Camp and spent the rest of the afternoon learning about our technical equipment, knots, and how to prussik up and down a fixed rope.
Day 2: We started the day off with an in-depth snow school which included numerous movement skills, self arrest, and safe glissading. We then learned rope travel techniques and took an acclimatization hike to the top of Giddy Giddy Gulch to both practice our rope management skills and to simulate carrying loads to a higher camp on Denali. At the top of Giddy Giddy we practiced rappelling and fixed line use. The fingers of cold air at the front of the storm began to chill us in the early afternoon and a light snow started to fall. The team decided it was time to descend to camp and we spent the rest of the afternoon learning about snow protection and pitched climbing.
Paul practices safe glissading technique under Jacob's watchful eye.

Paul practices safe glissading technique under Jacob’s watchful eye.

Day 3 : Time to move higher! The team packed up at Horse Camp in semi whiteout and snowy conditions to move to Camp 2 at 9,000 feet. The weather forecast was calling for 33″ of fresh snow, 65mph winds, and single digit temps at 11,000; perfect Denali training. We roped up into two glacier teams and began moving towards our next camp placing wands to mark our route of travel in case we had to descend in whiteout conditions. Our sole purpose for the day was to learn how to build a bomb-proof camp that would weather the incoming storm. After arriving at high camp we slaved for hours, cutting blocks of snice (snowy ice) and building walls to solidify our camp. After camp was built we spent the rest of the day eating, drinking, and fine tuning our new battle ready castle.
The team, roped up for glacier travel, moves higher up Mt Shasta.

The team, roped up for glacier travel, moves higher up Mt Shasta.

Working hard to build solid snow walls to protect our camp from the wind.

Working hard to build solid snow walls to protect our camp from the wind.

Day 4: The storm moved in with a vengeance in the early hours of the morning. Temperatures plummeted into the single digits and the wind began howling through our camp. We still had plenty of material to cover and spent the day cycling out of the tents to learn and practice anchor building, running belays, and crevasse rescue. Jacob saw all the fresh snow as an opportunity to lead a seminar on avalanche awareness and to demonstrate a step by step avalanche beacon recovery. This day was the perfect opportunity to truly taste of what Denali weather can be like. We regrouped in the cook tent often throughout the day to warm up, sip hot drinks, and recap on course material. Everyone was ready to sleep in the early evening and we hunkered down for what was sure to be a cold and stormy night. I had to reluctantly crawl out of my sleeping bag twice in the middle of the night to shovel out my tent which was quickly becoming buried by all of the wind transported snow.

Jacob and Steve take a round practicing crevasse rescue during the worst of the storm.

Jacob and Steve take a round practicing crevasse rescue during the worst of the storm.

Day 5: With a slight reprieve in the wind by morning, we made haste and packed up camp after breakfast and a mountain navigation lesson. The team roped up and navigated their way down the mountain following the wands we had placed on our way up. With all the new snow the trip out was quite an adventure. It ended up taking us almost three hours of wallowing through deep, fresh powder to reach Bunny Flat (about as much time as it took us to get up!).
While it may not have been the sunny, warm, and forgiving conditions that spring and summer on Mt Shasta can offer, last weekend’s Denali Prep gave us the best possible conditions to train and prepare for what The Great One can throw at climbers attempting to reach its lofty, corniced summit. Only through teamwork, mental fortitude, and plain old hard work will one have a fighting chance of standing on the summit of North America. I feel quite fortunate for such opportunities to experience mother nature’s raw (and frigid) power and I’d like to personally thank the team for an awesome and humbling experience on Mt Shasta.
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Within a few hours of the team battling their way off the mountain, the storm cleared and left several feet of new snow. Patrick and Jacob dried out, warmed up, and along with several other SMG guides headed back out to truly enjoy the powder on skis!
Remnanats of camp after the storm while Dane breaks trail above

Remnanats of camp after the storm while Dane breaks trail above

Look for future trip reports and guest blogs from our staff. We’re super excited about the upcoming season and look forward to the opportunity to share it with you.

Mt. Shasta Backcountry Report 2.11.15

Attention skiers and winter enthusiasts; if you’re looking for your snow fix, Mt. Shasta is the place to be! It’s been a wet and wild week here with some of the heaviest precip ever recorded. We finished with almost 10″ of water falling in town and over 5+ feet of new snow above 8,500′ on the Mountain. Our snowpack is close to 120% of normal and the skiing and riding doesn’t get any better!

ski tracks and avalanche debris in Avalanche Gulch Mt. Shasta 2.10.15

ski tracks and avalanche debris in Avalanche Gulch Mt. Shasta 2.10.15

Although the snow levels fluctuated quite a bit, for the most part the precip fell as snow on Mt. Shasta except for Sunday which saw some very soggy skiers braving the wet conditions. Fortunately, it cooled off, the snow pack consolidated, and the storm finished with a cool topping for perfect ripping ski conditions. Snow sliders are estatic this week with excellent riding found on many aspects.

Jenn Carr earning her turns in Avalanche Gulch Mt. Shasta

Jenn Carr earning her turns in Avalanche Gulch Mt. Shasta

Tuesday morning (2.10.15), the sun broke out and displayed what we were all waiting for, a completely snow cloaked Mt. Shasta. We are thrilled because not only is the snow creating some epic backcountry skiing currently, but this last storm cycle has pretty much guaranteed that we will have excellent conditions this Spring and Summer for climbing and sliding.

Mt. Shasta backcountry skiing February 2015

Mt. Shasta backcountry skiing February 2015

The big concern with all this rapidly accumulating snow is the increased avalanche hazard. The Mt. Shasta Avalanche Center issued an Avalanche Watch this past weekend and we did observe some activity in Avalanche Gulch which likely occured during the peak of the storm. We did see some significant settling and consolodation, but I would still avoid runout zones and exposure to slopes above.

Our classroom for the Avalanche Seminar with Dane and Nick our fantastic instructors

The classroom for the Level I Avalanche Seminar with Dane and Nick our course instructors

 

We are in a break in the storms and this weekend is forecasted for nice weather and mild temps. This is excellent for our AIARE Level I Avalanche Seminar on Mt. Shasta and we invite you to join us if you have been putting it off. The conditions are perfect for the course and Mt. Shasta will be beautiful under all the Winter snow!

We’re hopefully getting back into storms next week. Be safe and have great fun, we hope to see you on the Mountain!

 

Mt. Shasta and SMG gear up for winter

Early season will test the hardiest of  snow enthusiasts while we anxiously watch the weather forecasts and wait for drought ending relief. California has been left behind the last couple years and it’s without a doubt that our time has come for some serious winter weather. It’s still too early to make any predictions but this year spirits are high with anticipation, and if the the current conditions are any indication, we are in for a doozy! Our proximity to the ocean, our latitide, and elevation make for an always changing landscape, it’s rarely dull and always inspiring.

Looking up Broadway, Green Butte Ridge

Looking up Broadway, Green Butte Ridge

The recent wet weather to effect California has been a relief to all who live and recreate here. Finally some much needed precipitation to fill our drained lakes and rivers and to bring snow back to starved skiers and riders. We’re not quite to full covereage yet, but it’s certainly improving and far better than the last couple seasons.

Mt. Shasta December 2014

Mt. Shasta December 2014

A brief break in the weather action allowed a chance to get out on the ridges and upper mountain. Above 8,000′ snow pack depths ranged between 120-140 cm (4-5′). Although still shallow, the pack is supportive from the high water content. Base building material we like to say. With a slight cooling, clearing skies, and light winds, this past weekend offered some stunning scenery and excellent ski conditions for the eager. Avalanche hazard was low but will surely change with the significant weather system to arrive Wednesday.

Green Butte Ridge

Green Butte Ridge

The Mt. Shasta Avalanche Center resumed operations to weekly advisories, always be prepared for rapidly changing conditions. We are about to receive anywhere from 6-10″ of precip as the next round of tropical depressions track towards Northern California. The high elevation of Mt. Shasta will turn this into 5-10 feet of snow. We hope the snow levels drop and brings the white stuff to our friends at the Mt. Shasta Ski Park, our family and many others look forward to returning strong this season!

We know it’s early, but we are extremely excited about the upcoming winter season. With the new snow, backcountry skiing and riding will continue to improve. Our AIARE Avalanche courses will have good conditions and this sets us up well for the 2015 climbing season. We have much to be grateful for.

Let us show you the goods

Let us show you the goods

 

We invite you to come ski tour with SMG.

Holiday Cheer to our friends and families.

Mt. Shasta current conditions report

Spring on northern California’s Mt. Shasta can bring just about anything. Sunny high pressure or cold winter snow, mild days or blowing winds; we love it all! Cool mornings, longer days and unlimited recreation! Now is your chance to climb Mt. Shasta.

High camp Avalanche Gulch

High camp Avalanche Gulch

Climbing Mt. Shasta is always a challenge and adventure and reaching the summit can be a great achievement. Students from the Drew School in San Francisco experienced this when they chose to spend their spring break on a mountaineering seminar here on Mt. Shasta. Mr. Colby and 8 high school seniors spent 4 days learning the ropes before a successful April summit, congratulations team!

With this year’s low snowpack, we have made several summit climbs and groups have reached the top in early spring conditions. Currently there is a low pressure system bringing new snow to the mountain and clouds and wind to the area. Our first guide training begins this weekend and we look forward to the return of our professional staff.

SMG's medical advisor Dr. Sean Malee enjoys the Spring conditions

SMG’s medical advisor Dr. Sean Malee enjoys the Spring conditions

Spring is one of our favorite seasons on the mountain. Backcountry skiing and alpine mountaineering are prime. It’s also time to bring out the bikes, boats, climbing racks, hiking boots, fishing rods, camp chairs, and mellow vibes for high season in far Northern California!

As we’ve discussed, this year we have a below average snow pack. With that in mind we expect best conditions for summit climbs to be May-June on south side routes and June-August for north side routes. NOAA is calling for several inches of new snow this week, this will make for some fun skiing and transitional snow for climbing. With enough new snow, we may see an increase in avalanche hazard, be vigilant and conservative with mountaineering hazards.

As always, don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions at all, we are happy to help you plan your adventure.

Mt. Shasta early winter report

It’s snowing on the mountain! We are at the start of a wet weather cycle here in Mt. Shasta and are hoping this will get us into a winter pattern of frequent storms and snow. There was little snow below 9,500′ prior to this, therefore it will take several feet before we are skinning or snow shoeing from Bunny Flat trailhead, possibly as early as next week. Always the optomists, we will be checking the trailhead daily.

Mt. Shasta sunrise

Mt. Shasta sunrise

We are waiting for the backcountry skiing to begin on Mt. Shasta and look forward to ski touring and winter conditions on the mountain. For the dedicated, there is always the possibility of fun and interesting tours on Mt. Shasta. Nick and I discovered nice snow both for climbing and sliding in Cascade Gulch recently. With the current new precipitation, glacier skiing and select gullies may have reasonable ski conditions although with significant approaches.

Cascade Gulch

Cascade Gulch

This view is what led Clarence King to “discover” that glaciers existed in the United States and to publish a scientific account of the glaciers of Mount Shasta based on his visit in September, 1870. Another interesting fact is that Mt. Shasta’s glaciers are currently in a period of growth on Mt. Shasta’s north and east sides.

Whitney Glacier

Whitney Glacier

There is lots to explore on Mt. Shasta as long as you’re flexible to enjoy whatever the current conditions allow. Hiking, trail running, mountain biking, and ski mountaineering are all possible while we wait for our winter snowpack to fill in.

Backcountry riding

Backcountry snowboarding

We’re watching the storm totals closely and will be out on skis as soon as possible. Get in touch if you have any questions and keep up the snow dance. At this point it’s too early to predict how this will effect the summer climbing season, we are hoping to at least come close to average snow depths. Check back for the latest conditions.

We are planning to run the upcoming AIARE Avalanche Level I Course February 15 to 17 and March 14-16. We will offer winter skills, ski tours, and summit expeditions as soon as conditions improve.

Winter’s coming to Mt. Shasta

It’s snowing on the mountain! Temps are falling, the wind is blowing, and some much anticipated flakes are falling from the sky. Sure, we’ll be measuring in inches and not in feet, however any precipitation is a welcome sight. And we can get a season’s worth of snow in one storm cycle so we’re keeping our eyes on the horizon. It’s not uncommon with this northerly flow that we see both low snow levels and accumulation. It’s also not uncommon that a cold, fierce north wind will follow up, so at least it will feel like winter and maybe some of that elusive Siskiyou County ice will appear.

Mt. Shasta in Winter

Mt. Shasta in Winter

We are super eager to see what the upcoming season will bring. While (im)patiently waiting for the start of the Shasta backcountry ski season, our guides are no less active in the fall and have literally been to the ends of the earth pursuing their dreams.

Rich Meyer’s passport has been getting some serious mileage lately. His latest adventure/trip that we’re super jealous about, took him to Antarctica as part of the Ice Axe Expedition’s ski cruise.

Antarctic Ski Cruise

Antarctic Ski Cruise

After crossing the Drake Passage the boatload (hah!) of skiers would disembark via Zodiacs to glacial landings which accessed untravelled terrain. All this under the careful watch of penguins, sea lions, and Antarctic landscapes. Rich was part of an elite guide team that explored and safely led folks on the trip of a lifetime. Wow! Awesome Rich!

Locals

Ski with penguins

Dave Miller has been covering some ground as well. Classic climbs of the Alps in September, guiding the Mexico volcano trilogy in October, and enjoying the abundant rock beauty of the desert southwest, Dave continually applies his trade with skill and passion. We’ll see Dave back leading SMG’s guide training, or perhaps for an Alps ski tour this year…

Dave Miller on the summit of the Grepon

Dave Miller on the summit of the Grepon

Andrew Dickie and Patrick Chu finished their last trip on Mt. Shasta and drove straight to the Bugaboos for some inspiring alpine climbing. In case you needed another objective on your tick list, there are some stunning routes to be done up north.

AD and PC high in BC

British Columbia alpine rock

Our entire staff has been hard not at work. From the Tetons to Tahoe, Bugaboos to Baja, all of us enjoying some personal time and new challenges. We are all looking forward to the upcoming Mt. Shasta season with new stories and adventures to share.

Coming this winter:

Rich will be back in Mt. Shasta January 18th for our first AIARE Avalanche Level I Course. This is mandatory for back country skiers and climbers. SMG is the only guide service offering an AIARE certified course on Mt. Shasta. We have 5 spaces remaining, you can register here: SMG AIARE Level I. We have dates in February and March as well with space available.

We will be scheduling custom trips on Mt. Shasta. Day ski tours, skills clinics, and winter summit climbs are just a few of the winter options found on Mt. Shasta. Please call or email for details. Winter trips are primarily custom based, we can accommodate most any request.

See you when the snow flies!

Thank You! Mt. Shasta climbers, guides, and friends

September 16 was the final day of our 2013 climb and ski season on Mt. Shasta. Brandon Seymore led the strong team of  Shannon and David to the summit in full alpine conditions. Solid blue ice required multiple pitches of steep climbing and the route was full of added challenges. The final push up the summit cone the team endured hurricane winds and cold temps. Congratulations on a great effort! A fine way to cap the Mt. Shasta climbing season finishing on a high note!

Ice climbing on the Hotlum-Bolam

Ice climbing on the Hotlum-Bolam  photo: D. Webster

The south side of Mt. Shasta currently is completely barren of snow; save for a few small patches tucked into shady corners, the mountain is as dry as it gets. The north side glaciers, though sporting California’s only true permanent snow, are scree covered, sun cupped, and solid ice above 11,000′. Add to that a NOAA forecast of a wet cold front approaching the area with new snow expected this weekend and you have a recipe for difficult climbing conditions. We will schedule guided climbs once better conditions allow.

Basecamp on Shasta's northside

Mt. Shasta northside in fall  photo: M. Shamsee

2013 was Shasta Mountain Guides’ 32nd season of operation. As with previous years, our climber’s safety, enjoyment, and success is achieved through the diligent effort of our guide staff. This year’s crew is one of strongest, most dedicated group of fun and unique individuals we’ve ever seen. We can not express our gratitude enough. Thank you Rich, Dave, Dane, Kerr, Brian, Pierson, Pat, Jason, Patrick, Wilson, Joe C., Tucker, Greg, Andrew, Ryan G., Eric, Natalie, Ryan M., KP, David, Brandon, Jonas, Justin, Adam, and Joe Z.

Shasta Basecamp

Things we love: Alpine sunsets around Basecamp  ph: M. Shamsee

To those who climbed, skied, and hiked with us this year; Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to share this grand adventure with you. Mt. Shasta is a special place and we are grateful to share our local knowledge and passion for the mountain with you. Please, please share your pictures and comments on our Facebook Page and other social media, we love to hear from our guests!

Greg Cunningham summit plateau

Greg Cunningham summit plateau  photo: M. Shamsee

Fall in Mt. Shasta can be dazzling with cooling temps, changing colors on the trees, and the ever present prospect of snow coating the upper elevations. The skis are waxed and ready for the changing season, but there is still lots of time before we’ll be making laps on Green Butte. Until then, we’ll be on the rocks, in the alpine, and at the beach. Happy fall, see you when the snow flies!

If you are looking for a new adventure this fall season, a few of our senior SMG guides are leading trips to international destinations. We work in partnership with International Alpine Guides to offer other select peaks and trips.

Mexico Volcanoes

Mexico Volcanoes

Dave Miller, our fully certified Technical Director will be climbing the Mexico Volcanoes starting October 26. Nine days of high altitude mountaineering with a highpoint of Pico de Orizaba at 18,491′

Fresh off his recent summer in the Alps, Dave is excited to head back to Mexico.

 

Chile Volcano Ski

Chile Volcano Ski

Rich Meyer, adventure ski seeker, departs soon for his second foray to Chile’s northern Patagonia region in search of volcano skiing, great food, local hot springs, and corn snow in September. Looking for the best spring skiing in the fall, join Rich in the Lakes District for this unique adventure

 

Climb Mt. Shasta REI Store Presentations

Attention San Francisco/Bay Area and  Sacramento area climbers. SMG Directors Chris and Jenn Carr will be at numerous REI stores for an informative and inspiring photo presentation and discussion. With combined over 200 summits, Chris and Jenn will answer your questions and help you prepare for a successful summit climb.

In this digital presentation, we will discuss the major routes on this majestic peak, including Avalanche Gulch, Casaval Ridge, Sargeant’s Ridge, Hotlum Glacier, the West Face, and more. We’ll share our expertise on mountaineering gear and technique, best times to climb, U.S. Forest Service regulations, mountain weather, and snow conditions. Learn what it takes to make a safe and successful summit climb from someone who has climbed, skied, and guided on the mountain for 30 years.

Tuesday, March 27 REI Marina

Wednesday, March 28 REI San Carlos

Thursday, March 29 REI Dublin

Tuesday, April 10th REI Roseville

Wednesday, April 11th REI Sacramento

Thursday, April 12th REI Folsom

Tuesday, April 24th REI Saratoga

Wednesday, April 25th REI San Francisco

Thursday April 26th REI Berkeley

 

 

Climb Report June 16

It was a long wait, but ultimately worth it.  For when the sun broke through the clouds, the snowfall ceased, and the thermometer creeped upwards to much more reasonable seasonal temps; the climbing and skiing conditions ripened into those once-in-a-lifetime days that we dream about.

Buttery smooth snow, low to no avalanche hazard, perfect styrofoam crampon conditions. Snow covered rocks and glazed over glaciers.  This is the Shasta we wish for.

Conditions so good that our crew of seasoned professionals is spending their free time exploring and recreating on Shasta’s pristine slopes on their days off.  Enjoy some of their adventures:

 

Cascade Gulch Mt. Shasta

SMG Guides ski above Hidden Valley

The coverage and snow quality doesn’t get any better on the mountain.  Hidden Valley is buried in snow and the West Face, Shastina, and Cascade Gulch all look fantastic!

Trinity Chutes

Drew Smith about to ride the right Trinity

There’s so much snow that the Trinity Chutes are calling adventurous skiers and boarders with all-time sliding and riding lines!

Green Butte Ridge

The view from Green Butte Ridge

All of the routes accessed from Bunny Flat are in prime shape; Avalanche Gulch, the West Face, Casaval and Sargent’s Ridge.

Weather forecast for the weekend is calling for cooler and windy conditions.  Be prepared for a great adventure!