So, you want to climb Mount Shasta? Be warned, like anything else in life, it is a task fraught with perils, challenges, and heartbreak. But, like anything else in life, should you have the mental fortitude to address each of these tribulations, you will be rewarded with an enormous sense of accomplishment and the glory of a fine view. Whether Mount Shasta is the first major mountain you are attempting to summit, or the thousandth peak you have bagged, in my opinion, your best chance of reaching the summit is the tried-and-true Avalanche Gulch route. Full disclosure: the Avalanche Gulch route is the most popular route on the mountain, bar none. But let’s pause for a second here: there’s popular routes like the Mt. Whitney Trail, which have a packed lottery system and actual hordes of people on the trail; and there’s popular routes, which just mean that it’s the best and quickest route to the summit.
I always wonder what to include in these write-ups of trails, climbs, and strange spots. I wonder if I should get into the history of the area, my background, experience, side-stories, or if I should always just be brief and stick to the facts, just the facts, Dragnet style. When the place or area is large, like say, Mount Shasta, I find these decisions even harder. In this case, I’m going to go with the actual relevant information first for climbers, and cover the current conditions on the mountain first. This information is from my Tweetup climb from August 9, 2012 through August 11, 2012 with a couple Twitter members and non-Twitter climber Erik. This was a great group of climbers, and I’d be honored to climb with any of them again. We took the standard Avalanche Gulch route up the mountain, and we managed to get three out of the five of us on the summit, and had no serious problems during the climb in any way, so all in all, it was a successful, safe, and great experience. If you don’t know where or what the Avalanche Gulch route is, don’t worry – I’ll get into particulars of distances and locations on Monday, when I discuss the route in general terms; and if you do know the route, I’ve thrown in conditions as I experienced them at specific spots along the way last week.