Mount Shasta Professional Review and Guide
"The highest point in Northern California. You’ll find mixed terrain, from forest to rocky slopes to snowfields. This is a long, physical trek, all the more satisfying for the effort needed to attain the summit, with its unparalleled views. Mount Shasta is the undisputed queen of Northern California. A dormant shield volcano at the southern end of the Cascade Range, the mountain rises to 14,162 feet from rolling country that is only a couple of thousand feet above sea level. This great local relief makes it a dramatic and picturesque peak, the most prominent landmark for hundreds of miles. The views from the summit are sweeping: the Cascade Mountains to the north, Mount Lassen to the southeast, the Coast ranges to the west, and the Central Valley to the south. The easiest way up Mount Shasta (and the route of the first ascent) is the Avalanche Gulch route. It was first climbed by a group led by Capt. E. D. Pierce on August 14, 1854. There is a voluntary feces carryout policy in the Avalanche Gulch area; poop bags are available at the trailhead. This route can be done in one very long day (twelve to fourteen hours or more) or broken up into two or three days with bivouacs at Lake Helen. One-day parties often leave as early as two or three in the morning. It’s possible to climb Mount Shasta all year-round, though it takes a hardy soul to head up in the cold of winter. The route usually requires crampons and ice ax any time of year. Rockfall can be especially dangerous in August, when the snowpack is at its smallest and loose rocks are most prevalent. In addition, ascents in August and September can be slowed considerably because much travel will be on loose scree rather than stable snow. The easiest time to ascend is when there is sufficient snowpack to make consistent, on-snow travel possible."