Mount Shasta Professional Review and Guide
"Mount Shasta is the second highest of the Cascade volcanoes, and is the centerpiece of a recently-established wilderness area. Like its relatives farther north, Shasta was formed by various eruptions over the last half million years or so. Intermittent eruptions have built up the main peak, and a lateral vent eruption around the time of the last ice age (or possibly more recently) resulted in present-day Shastina, a parasitic cone. More recent activity has built the summit to its present height, and hot springs just below the summit serve as fair warning that the mountain is merely napping. Mount Shasta appears to be a youthful volcano, as it is relatively unscoured by glaciers and lacks many of the erosion features that are commonplace on volcanoes farther north. Although it rises more than 10,000 feet above its base - the largest base-to-peak rise of any volcano included in this guide - Mount Shasta is a "gentle giant" compared with some of the northern volcanoes, such as Mount Baker and Mount Rainier. Shasta's glaciers typically are not heavily crevassed until late season, its slopes are not too steep nor very seriously eroded, and few routes to its summit involve truly technical rock or ice climbing. However, this does not mean that Shasta's routes are not serious undertakings. Weather and season often determine difficulty. Mount Shasta's weather is similar to that of Mount Rainier, although it receives much less annual rainfall and snow accumulation. Voluminous lenticular clouds frequently cap the mountain, foretelling the coming of storms. High winds and heavy snows are not uncommon, even when not expected or likely. Like Rainier, Shasta sometimes creates its own weather. When lenticular clouds begin to settle over the summit, a storm is likely brewing, and a hasty descent none too cautious. Shasta has seven named glaciers, which have been in retreat for many years. The present ice volume of all Mount Shasta glaciers is close to that of the Emmons and Winthrop Glaciers on Mount Rainier. The Whitney Glacier, a narrow ice river two miles long, is California's largest. Mount Shasta's glaciers are active on the northern side of the mountain. Avalanche Gulch and Cascade Gulch once were occupied by Pleistocene glaciers."