Mt Shasta
(Avalanche Gulch)

11 Jul 1998 - by Greg Johnson

I recently queried this list about Mt. Shasta and Lassen and would like to thank everybody for their responses. Mike Rinaldi's recent trip report on Mt. Shasta inspired me to attempt it myself since I was left with a three day weekend and nothing to do.

Friday July 10, I drove up to Mt Shasta and camped at McBride Springs which is a small Forest Service campground with 11 sites about 8 miles from Bunny flat at around 5000 ft elevation. I got the last site just after the 2pm checkout time. Once my basecamp was established I had some free time to check out the trailhead to make sure I knew where I was going in the morning and then I headed down to Castle Crags. In the Mt. Shasta Guidebook they recommend the trail up to Castle Dome. So do I. It offers some close-up views of the Crags and some great views of Mt Shasta. The trail is 5.3 miles round trip and took me 2 1/2 hours because I spent 30 minutes doing some 2/3 class scrambling on the shoulder of Castle Dome (I thought there was a potential 3rd class route to the top).

My climb of Shasta was very much the same a MR's. I started a little before 4:00am Saturday morning with a near-full moon to light my way and was back to my car before 2:30pm. However, for my part, I found the section between Lake Helen and Red Banks to be the most difficult part of the hike because it was steep and long. Crampons where necessary from Bunny Flat all the way to the summit. Near the summit I noticed a couple of tents which left me wondering why anybody would want to drag their tents all this way. My question was soon answered when on the summit the resident ranger requested my summit pass. By the time I started down Misery Hill at 12:30 the snow was becoming soft and when I reached Lake Helen an hour later it was downright slushy not to mention crowded. The long glissades were pure joy. This is the way I like to climb mountains! Unfortunately, somewhere along the way I lost my prescription glasses. Since I have a light prescription and I am nearsighted I was wearing regular sunglasses and thus was left without any prescription glasses.

After the climb I drove ( a little fuzzily) over to Lassen to camp and potentially climb the peak. From the devastated area I contemplated the mountain and in my fatigued state decided that it would be better to drive back early Sunday morning so I would have time to go get my eyes checked and buy a new pair of glasses.

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