Skiing 7300' Vertical from California's FInest Volcano at 14,162' Feb 25, 2013
My West Coast Book and Speaking Tour kicked off in Mid-February. If you have had a chance to catch one of my events, thank you very much! I did some events in Boulder and then flew out to California to speak at a pair of REIs, the Burlingame Country Club, and also was an Honorary guest at the American Alpine Clubs annual Dinner, celebrating 50 years of Americans on Mt. Everest
The trip continued with stops in the Seattle area and Ellensburg WA, then extended into March with stops at Portland REIs and the University of Oregon.
One of the highlights was representing Dick Pawnall at the annual AAC dinner, and I met some of the original members of the 1963 American Mt. Everest Expedition, including Tom Hornbein, who pioneered the West Ridge Route on Everest!
But after a few days of "Work" in California's Bay area, I had to get out....so I headed up to Northern California for a Date with Mt.Shasta, and a climb and ski descent.
I arrived in the small town of Shasta in the Evening and decided to hit the hay soon after sunset so that I could get up nice and early and climb to the summit for sunrise.
At 330am I parked at the Bunny Flat Trailhead and started the long skin up the lower slopes of Shasta at Timberline.
There was a fill moon out and light winds initially, so a Headlamp wasn't necessary.
I made good time in the dark to timberline, and then as I skinned above the trees, the roar of the winds could be heard. Fog moved in as I approached 10,000' on the south slopes and for awhile between 5 and 6am, I had to use my headlamp.
Just above Helen Lake (Which was a small glacial tarn frozen over and covered by snow, I took my skis off and put my crampons on). My skis were all iced up and crystallized from the freezing fog conditions.
With the rising sun it got light and the steepness of the Avalanche Gulch Chute was about 45 degrees and made for a fun and challenging snow climb on snow and ice that was gripped very easily with my crampons. The fog cleared slightly to get me onto the ridge, but then was socked in.
So that I would remember to descent this notch near the ridge on my ski descent, I left one of my ice axes in the snow on the ridge and continued to the left (North) and up the gradual hill from 12,800' to near the summit called 'Misery Hill'.
This turned out to be a long slog until I reached another steeper snow slope for about the final 250 vertical feet to the top. Arriving in the vicinity of the top in the fog, about 830am I shot a video and then finished on the true snowy summit. There were little rock pinnacles sticking out in a few places near the summit, but not much else to see.
It was quite windy so I didnt stay long and was excited to clip my skis on and ski down.
The first thousand feet was pretty icy, and I cautiously took my time in the fog back to my ice axe. Once I dropped back down avalanche gulch, the snow improved and the windblown powder made the turns easy to cut.
Back down in only about 25 minutes to 10,000' the fog started to break as i descended further, and it was so nice to be able to see! Unfortunately, the views were terrible that day.
By 10am I was already back to the Sierra Club Hut at 8,000' and took a short break before skiing back to my vehicle and a hot shower at my hotel in Shasta by 11am...aaaaaah success!!!
The adventure continues in Oregon and then Back to Colorado for some March Peaks in the Sawatch and Sangre De Cristos in the Coming weeks, so stay tuned!