Siskiyou County High Point Trip Report

Mount Shasta (14,162 ft)

Date: March 28, 2004
Author: Dale Millsap

I enjoyed a wonderful climb of Mount Shasta with my brother Carl and friend Rik Dunham. We drove from Salt Lake City on Saturday and camped at Bunny Flats. We left Bunny Flats at 12:30 in the morning Sunday and followed the Casaval Ridge route. The snow was extremely firm -- high winds had scoured the snow from the two days prior. We put on crampons around 9000 feet.

Carl became very weary just after we began to traverse the snowfields on the west side of the massive gendarmes. He had just completed a quick four-day road trip to Missouri and back, so was overly exhausted from the start. He wisely opted to turn back prior to the steeper sections of the route. As Rik and I continued up the mountain, we could observe Carl's return almost all the way to Horse Camp.

The surface was more firm than I am usually comfortable with, so we moved slowly and chipped in each step carefully. The crux of our climb was the very steep top of a snowfield just prior to the Red Banks and the Catwalk. An experienced solo climber fell to his death there just one week prior. We felt confident in our slow and deliberate movement, and made our way through the technical section without incident. The Red Banks and Catwalk sections were very interesting, with a steadily moving stream of small rock pieces and ice chunks carving a 4-6 inch deep "riverbed" into the hard surface of our route. Most of the debris particles were less than one inch in diameter. We crisscrossed the "riverbed" many times as we switched our way back and forth up the slope. The Catwalk tops out at West Ridge, and it is a short traverse from there to Misery Hill. The surface of Misery Hill was better for our crampons to engage but still unusual, with finger length protrusions of ice sticking out horizontally, having formed during high warm winds the day prior. At the top of Misery Hill there is a nice gentle traverse across a snowfield or partial crater to the actual summit.

We arrived at 10 AM, having made the entire ascent on snow and ice. We took some pictures, signed the logbook, and began our descent. We came down past the Thumb and into Avalanche Gulch, enjoying some nice glissades in the gullies, and arrived back at camp at 1:15 PM. We had intended to drive to Elko on our way home and climb Ruby Dome on Monday but we were disinclined to drive far after this level of exertion. So we took a room in Corning, CA and just drove the rest of the way home on Monday, saving Ruby Dome for a future date.