Shasta via Hotlum Bolam

25 May 1997 - by Don Martin

On May 24-25 about 15 PCS climbers climbed the north side of Shasta in perfect weather. Only one person did not summit. Our leader was George Van Gordon. We met in Mt. Shasta City and caravaned in four wheel drives over rough dirt roads to the trailhead. After climbing for 2.5 hours from trailhead, we made camp at 9,500' on a large barren plateau. On Sunday, May 25, we left camp at 6:30 in perfect weather and climbed in a relatively linear southern direction up 35-45 degree slopes with ice axe, crampon, no ropes. The mountain was covered with four inches of new fresh powder-it had snowed on our camp the night before the climb. Most of the mountain had firm snow with little ice, although there were a few icy spots that required minor detours. Five hundred verticle feet from the top we traversed westward, traveling over rock covered with soft snow and then ascended a 15' verticle hard snow area that required determined used of crampon and ice axe. Then we traversed westward a few hundred feet around a hill and suddenly we were at the sulfur steam hole 100' below the summit. We summited at 1:00 to 1:45 p.m. and then descended, going back the same way. On descending we were unable to have any good glissading becuase the hard frozen snow on the north side was not soft enough even at 2 to 4 p.m. for a sitting glissade. We left camp at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, May 25. Between camp and trailhead the snow was perfect for glissading-we had several great runs with full packs on. We reached traihead 6:45.

As is typical of Memorial day weekend the entire mountain was crowded, with tents and climbers everywhere. This was my sixth successful climb of Shasta of six attempts, and my first northside climb.

The $15 Forest Service fee was not yet implemented due to lack of time to implement the details.

Arun Mahajan adds:

Don's trip report covers it all. I am enclosing a list of all the people in the group along with a short note. If possible, then please include this too in the archives.

There were 17 people in all. The last person summitted at 2 pm on summit day, Sunday. The last few people had to hustle down rather quickly due to the clouds building up below and the base camp region was all covered up with this cloud layer. For some of us in this group who had done the same route on Memorial Day last year, this brought back memories of the bad storm that we had encountered on that trip and we wanted to be sure that we had descended the vertical snow/ice gully that Don mentions, because it was in this gully that half of the group was stuck when the storm hit. The faster members of the group were graciously waiting at the lunch spot for the slower team to summit, and from then on, we made it back to camp as a group. The cloud build up turned out to be only a storm in the tea cup and we sailed out of camp under clear skies.

Group members: George Van Gorden, Adrienne Van Gorden, Liz Binkley, Dongshil, Rick and Helena Verrow, Roy Johnston, Steve, John Wilkinson, Bill Kirkpatrick, Alex Keith, Scott Kreider, Stephan Meier, Ted Raczek, Steve Landis, Don Martin and Arun Mahajan.

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