Joined: Sat Jul 05, 2008 7:38 pm Posts: 400 Location: Eugene and Coos Bay, Oregon.
Several of us planned to climb Mt Shasta last weekend, but the avy danger was high, so we stayed at Lassen instead.
I had a really good one day weather window today, so I drove back down to Shasta.
I got started at 2 am from the Bunny Flat parking lot. A half moon was up, so once I cleared the trees, I did not need a headlamp which was really nice. I made it to the top of Avy Gulch about 7:!5 and to the summit about 9:45. The snow was very firm all the way. Once I reached the top of the Avy Gulch headwall, it was serious rime sculpture to the summit.
Riding down, it was heavy rime survival mode back to the top of Avy Gulch. I had considered dropping one of the lines off Casaval, but I was pretty tired, solo, and it was my first trip to Shasta. I ended up going back down the way I came up. This meant riding down the rough and bullet proof Avy Gulch headwall until I was able to traverse over to the the more south facing slopes under Casaval. Once there, the riding was really good. It was great corn all the way to the very bottom of Avy Gulch where it got a bit sticky. The moraines in Avy Gulch are not particularly steep, but they make for some very creative terrain.
Of note was the guy who did a slide for life right past me in the half moon light about 4:45 this morning. I had caught up with a couple around Helen Lake and passed them. Soon after, I decided it was time for crampons and axe. They skinned past me while I was transitioning and I was very impressed with their ability to skin up a steeper bulletproof slope in the dark. About 100 feet above me the guy goes down and silently slides right past me, going fast and spinning on his stomach, unable to stop. He finally came to a stop 300 or 400 feet lower down and yells back up that he is okay. I think they turned around though, because I never saw them again. Scary!
Only about 15 people (including 2 in jeans and another who lost 80 pounds since January just to climb Shasta today) made it to the summit today, but as I was headed down, the hoardes were coming up for the weekend. Just in time for another avy advisory!
Unfortunately I don't have any action photos.
Avy Gulch from below at about 12:30 pm
Red Bluffs early in the morning
Summit from the top of Misery Hill
There were lots of slides on south facing slopes from last weekend. They were all below 10,000 feet and some were on pretty low angle slopes. This smaller one crossed one of the climbing routes up Avy Gulch.
Joined: Fri May 13, 2005 8:05 am Posts: 1515 Location: 395
Just did avy gulch yesterday (no pics). Reeeeally good snow. As I drove up to parking area at 3:30 am there was a continuous string of headlamps going up avy gulch, lol. I started out at 4 am and just headed into the trees in a straight line w/ avy gulch. I came upon a couple of headlamps going up a ridge in the dark and it was a ranger + one. He asked if I knew if this was Sargeant ridge. Since I had no idea I said "no, I know bunny trail is to my left. I'll figure it out". I got to the top and ended up traversing into avy gulch. Didn't seem like a bad route imo. Quicker?
Soooo many ppl on mtn today. Got to 11k mark and started feeling like crap. Thought it was just altitude and so forth, but turns out I was coming down w/ a sickness I currently have now. Probably swine flu.
Made it summit at 10:15am. Rode from summit. First pitch off summit is just survival traversing. Most of rime on flat below summit had been smoothed out so not horrendous, just bad. Misery hill was rime free and you could make turns, albeit frozen ones. Was planning on West face but was too early still plus I was getting chills and the Trinity chutes looked reaaaaally good. So dropped in those about noon and milked the riders right side of avy gulch all the way down. Sick, sick snow and hardly any tracks.
Pretty cool to do a 7k+ descent right to the car and only unstrapped twice for a total of about 100 yds. And yes buell, that east side looks amazing!