Lassen Peak
(soaking up the sun in mid-winter)

31 Dec 1999 - by Steve Eckert

I was restless, the weather was astonishingly good for December, but no one was free for a winter ascent of Lassen... so I went solo. It took only a couple of hours to reach the first lake from the chalet where they close the road in winter (5 mi north of Hwy 89/36 junction), so I climbed Ski Heil and Eagle Peak that afternoon. Lassen and out by early afternoon the next day. This would be a good beginner's trip, with navigation practice around the lakes and ice axes on the face.

At the base of the peak, it was in the 20s at night, 50s during the day. There was no wind, the top 500' of the summit was mostly bare, and my campsite overlooking Helen Lake had a patch of dry duff to spread out my gear. I used snowshoes only around the lakes, with packed snow on the road and crampon ice on the face. (I went up the chute between the cliffs to make the route a BIT more interesting.)

Hmmm. Is this June or December?

Must be December, because there were snowmobile tracks ON THE LOWER SUMMIT bump! They went right over the cable marked "sensitive plants", but the amazing thing was that they got up 1000' of 35 degree slopes! The machines I rode in Alaska as a kid wouldn't have survived that.

Spectacular sunset and sunrise, purple and orange that doesn't show up well in photographs, but if you've never been there you really need to see the (embarassing?) summit surprise.

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