Climbing Mt. Shasta

by Shasta Cascade on January 1, 2009

Alpenglow on Mt. Shasta

Alpenglow on Mt. Shasta

Mt. Shasta stands at 14,179 foot elevation and is the fifth-highest peak in California.

Mt. Shasta is actually two separate peaks: in the picture, the peak on the left side of the mountain is Shastina, and highest peak is Mt. Shasta.

Climbing Mt. Shasta is a serious undertaking, and not to be taken lightly. An estimated 15,000 people attempt the climb each year, and only a small percentage are successful. The climb involves a vertical climb of 6-7,000 ft, and most people take a couple days to do the climb.

Most people climb the mountain between December and June because snow on the ground helps prevents rocks from falling, which is a huge hazard (It’s very troubling to watch bowling-ball size rocks bounce past you at 50+ mph).

You’ll need an ice axe, crampons, & helmet in addition to a full compliment of high altitude camping gear. You’ll also need a permit from the Forest Service.

There are a number of outfitters in town that will sell and/or rent equipment to you.

For learning more about climbing Mt. Shasta, I’d recommend Steve Lewis’ book Climbing Mt. Shasta. I have a copy of his book, and I’d recommend it to anyone considering the climb.

There’s also a great website about climbing Mt. Shasta at:
http://www.climbingmtshasta.org/

The Forest Service has a great document called “So you want to climb Mt. Shasta” located at:
http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/shastatrinity/documents/st-main/maps/rogs/mt-shasta/climb.pdf

Avalaches are a huge hazard in the spring, and more so after fresh snow falls on snow that has been previously melted and re-frozen.
For avalache information, there’s a great site at:
http://www.shastaavalanche.org/

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