It's Hard Enough Going Up

6 Aug 2004 - by Evan Rasmussen

Our group being comprised of two Shasta rookies, one being a greenhorn still renting boots and gear--we read about climbing the Avalanche Gulch route UP Shasta ad-nauseum. That, however, is not what I want to talk about. Looking DOWN from the Red Banks in early August, it was clear that most of the snow had melted from the gully on the right of the Helen Lake camp area (the established way up). There was a very nice snowfield extending down from Lake Helen on the left--with no tracks. Uphill doesn't bother me--but steep downhill on rocks and trail tend to make me sore. We took the left and half skated/half walked down a 90% snow filled gully to the Hut and felt great as we powered by the "left for dead" climbers that had just endured the hard downhill on the right side of Helen Lake. Feeling great and an hour ahead of schedule, we just kept going and were back at Bunny Flats by 2:00 pm--having left that morning at 4:30 am. We are soooo glad we didn't have to spend the night at Helen Lake and the easy descent made it just that much better.

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