USA Mt. Shasta, California 2000.05.19 - 05.20

Climbing Mt. Shasta (14,162 ft / 4,316 M)

Mt. Shasta is one of the prettiest climbs in California. Located in Northern California off of Rt. 5, Mt. Shasta is a lone 14,000 plus foot peak surrounded by 7,000 foot hills. The climb is rigorous, and the view from the top is spectacular. Wes climbed Shasta with four friends from Intel. Masami intended to go, but had to cancel due to illness.

Facts for the visitor
A wilderness permit and proper equipment are required to climb Mt. Shasta. Everything can be acquired in the town of Mt. Shasta during the day.

The critical considerations on the mountain are keeping warm (preventing hypothermia), shielding yourself from sun exposure including the light reflected from the snow (UV radiation is 30% stronger every additional 1000 feet of elevation), and sufficient water supply (preventing dehydration). Other concerns are altitude sickness (pulmonary edema and cerebral edema), knowing how to use ice gear safely, and first aid for injuries. Do not wear cotton clothing. Cotton absorbs sweat that freezes to your skin when the sun sets. This is the primary cause of hypothermia.

The climb
Most people need 2 full days to reach the peak and return to the parking lot safely. Some hike the mountain in one day departing the parking lot before 06:00 and returning at dusk. Mt. Shasta is a strenuous hike, and 2 days are recommended, even to the most fit and experienced hikers.

May 19-20 was perfect weather: cloudless sky and little wind. We met at the Intel parking lot in Folsom on Friday May 19 at 08:30, drove to the town of Mt. Shasta (about 4 hours), stopped by the ranger station and Fifth Season, and reached the Mt. Shasta trail head at 15:00. By 19:00, we reached 10,500 feet and chose a camp site. The second day, we left camp at 07:00, reached the peak at 13:00, returned to camp to pack up at 16:00, and finally reached the parking lot at 19:00. All 5 members of our hiking team made it to the top.

The Team
(left to right) Dan, Marc, Wes, Hernan, Stewart.

Mt. Shasta is a lone peak in the central California valley surrounded by smaller 7000 foot hills.

Our camp at 10,500 feet sits on an open ridge. Heavy winds would have blown us over the edge without a protective wall of snow.

The steep icy ledges required concentration and crampons to prevent a painfully long slide down. Dan, Hernan, and Marc move along the trail cautiously.

At 11,000 feet, we see the sun rise over the 12,300 foot Shastine, the active volcano that sits next to the Mt. Shasta peak.

At the 14,162 foot Mt. Shasta summit, skies are perfectly clear and the 360° view is spectacular. All 5 members of our team made it to the top.

HomePrevious PageNext Journal PageJournal Index 2000Journal Index 2001

  Copyright © 2000-2002   Wes and Masami Heiser.   All rights reserved.