Mount Shasta Hike

June 16-19, 2004
Avalance Gulch route
More pictures from this hike are available on smugmug.

"Dress like Daniel day" at the trailhead. The boots are the same because they are rentals. Similar t-shirts are an accident.

First night's campsite at Horse Camp, 1.7 miles from the trailhead, elevation 7950 feet. (Daniel's picture)

Setting off for Helen Lake on the second morning.

Daniel pausing to look at the Avalance Gulch route. Helen Lake is behind the rocks in the middle of the picture. Above it is the rock band called The Heart. The standard ascent route goes right of Heart, through a set of cliffs called Red Banks visible at the top of the picture. The actual summit is not visible from below.

Natasha slowly trudging up Climbers Gully. (Daniel's picture)

Looking back at Climbers Gully from half way up Standstill Hill, the last steep climb before Helen Lake.

Our well dug-in campsite at Helen Lake.

The ascent up Avalance Gulch started before dawn. At 5am, we are already well above our campsite.

Mount Shasta casting a shadow on the valley below.

Fast forward to above Red Banks. Steep terrain and altitude problems temporarily paused our interest in photography. Daniel is sitting next to the glissade groove. We will make good use of it on the descent.

Looking back from half way Misery Hill.

Thumb Rock.

Misery Hill got its name before many people mistake its top for the summit.

The hill is not particularly steep, but it's quite long. We were moving progressively slower in the thin air. Some clouds were beginning to move in, but overall the weather was holding up well. It wsa slightly above freezing and the wind was not very strong.

Finally, the summit is in sight. We were moving really slow by now. Daniel's geeky comment of the day "I hope we are not approching the summit assymptotically."

As we reached the summit plateau, the clouds parted momentarity, allowing us to take pictures. (Daniel's picture)

The final 300 vertical feet is a bit of a rock scramble, made tricky by wearing crampons.

Obligatory summit shot. We did not take many pictures from the summit, since clouds were obscuring the view most of the time.

Pretending to be a mountaineer. (Daniel's picture)

We spent about 20 minutes on the summit and got ready for the descent. The snow was soft enough to glissade (fancy word for sliding down on one's behind), so we quickly got down Misery Hill, climbed down through Red Banks, and got ready for the long slide down Avalance Gulch.

In the glissade trench. We had to self-arrest a few times when we would pick up too mich speed.

We glissaded all the way to Helen Lake, rested for a few hours, then packed up and started our hike back to the trailhead.

Resting on the trail below Horse Camp. (Daniel's picture)