Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2005 4:15 pm Posts: 2581 Location: san diego CA
As time grew close to the only weekend I could travel in August I was getting antsy. I had posts all over the net looking for partners to go up to shasta. I started talking to Kurt, a climber and UCLA graduate student. We spoke of plans , he wanted to climb the Hotlum Glacier ,and I wanted to snowboard. Period. Didnt care about suncups, runnels ect. I needed to drop something. I told him I had never been on a Glacier, but if he thought he could teach me the basics of Glacier travel and Crevass rescue I would be willing to go. We got started friday afternoon,pressed on through relentless traffic and by midnight we were at the trailhead . We crashed in the truck and saturday morning I got my first view of the target:
I had thrown my gear in the truck in hurried mess so I took time out to repack
After repacking and checking the map we were off (as fast as one can go with 70 lbs of gear)
I saw this sign on the way up and hoped I hadnt spent my 15 dollars in vain
As I walked up I could feel the heat. I remembered bact to Jim W. and Steeleman's trip reports and the long slide down from the top they had. I was wishing I had been here a month earlier cause I could see the snowpack dissappearing as I walked
We made it to our camp area early, so Kurt busted out the ropes and pullies. We walked over to the glacier and found a small crevass to practice rescue
We played with the ropes for a while untill it was time to hit the sack. Nothing beats relaxing at 10,700 feet with a nice moon.
We woke at 4 am. Kurt kept talking about an "Alpine" start. I will rename it to the "hung over start" . I felt like I had been partying with Rick James the night before so I was somewhat in a daze walking around all these big Ice Cubes
By the time the sun came up, I was feeling good and making progress. I think it had something to do with "alpenglow"
I must say , you do have to carry a lot of extra gear when traveling across Glaciers.
I couldnt believe how the ice would split in perfect verticle lines
As the day wore on we continued past the glacier. Kurt is too smart , I was telling him to ditch the Physics and become a mountain guide. He knows what he is doing.
Looking down, I couldnt believe I had crossed all those crevasses and Ice flows .
We now had to get through our last steep section. Im not o in to Ice climbing but soon I found myself out on some shinny surface with pointy shoes and a couple of funny tools in hand
All in all I would say this was the only part that got my stomach tickled. The glacier travel was cool, this was a little unnerveing. But soon we had skipped up that and now we were 300 ft from the top. I scrambled up in a hurry with boyhood excitement, this being my firstreal peak I had climbed. Kurt, the veteran tok his time
We topped out, and I got my first view of the avalanche gulch route. I thought it was Disneyland with the crowd. We hung out on top for a while and took some video. I spotted a couple of telemarkers on their way up and decided I would wait to talk to them before decending. They pointed me in the right dirrection, we downclimed to our packs we had dropped earlier and picked them up. I moved over to the bolam ridge and started my decent at 13, 800 ft. The first few turns were ok, but it became deeply runneled quick. The first 1000 feet were pure survival. no Ice , just big pits, rocks ect. At 12, 800 I moved north across the rockband to my left as the skiers had done. From 12,800 to camp was pure bliss. They say its a permanent snowfield, I hope so , I will return next month. This snowfield was like being in a resort. Nice and wide, smooth and looooong. If I would have had a couple of boarders with me, I would have taken the time to build a nice kicker. Anyone up for some jumps in september? I have to say "I love Shasta". Cant wait to go back. Video to follow......soon