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2005 Backcountry Trip Reports => July-August 2005 Backcountry Trip Reports => Topic started by: Jeff Huber on 07/12/05, 01:37 PM



Title: July 2-4 2005, Shasta, Hotlum/Wintun
Post by: Jeff Huber on 07/12/05, 01:37 PM
There has been a flurry of great Shasta reports here and elsewhere the last few weeks. Kudos to everyone whose skied it recently. I apologize for not writing this TR sooner. I try to write my reports soon after a trip while the memories are still fresh in my mind, luckily this trip was of such great quality the memories will be fresh for a long time to come.

(http://jeffwhuber.com/photos/skiing/shastaHotlumWintun_20050702/forTAY-ver4.jpg)
Upper half: The east side of Shasta with Saturday's descent from summit to camp in blue
Bottom half: Ben flying thru the corn

Full TR
During the past holiday weekend Jonathan from Boston, his brother Ben from the Bay Area, Silas, Chris (aka Scostsman), Amar and I skied on the eastside of Shasta. Amar was already down in the Shasta area having skied the Trinity Chutes the day before, and had skied on Mt Jefferson several days before this. Jonathan was in the Bay Area for an Economics conference, and Silasa/Chris drove thru Friday night to get to Shasta Saturday morning.

We grouped at the last drivable point on the Brewer Creek road early Saturday afternoon. We were able to drive to 6952', as the crow flies this is .4 of a mile from the official TH, though it's 1.1miles if you follow the switchback'd rd. We hiked the road to the final hairpin which put us essentially directly in the fall line of our route. We headed straight up the mountain from here, with Jonathan, Amar and I donning skins necessitating skinning over several patches of dirt and rocks. The rest of the group continued hiking until the snow was continuous after about 15 minutes.

We skinned our way to 10,250' where Amar had camped previously. There was a nice tent platform here and several spots for bivy platforms. We made camp, then a few hours later Amar, Jonathan and I headed for a tour onto the Hotlum glacier gaining it thru the lower notch at 10,950' and crossing it's east lobe to the V shaped moraine (see GPS map below). The Hotlum is an impressive glacier with beautiful seracs. The glacier also gave an excellent view of the spicey Hotlum Gully which Amar was interested in skiing the next day.

[Seracs on the Hotlum glacier with the Hotlum Gully labeled (http://jeffwhuber.com/photos/skiing/shastaHotlumWintun_20050702/seracs.jpg)]

The next morning Ben and I left camp at 6am cramponing our way towards the summit. The rest of the gang followed suit about 20-30 minutes later with Jonathan skinning w/ ski crampons.

[Exquisite Sunrise from camp (http://jeffwhuber.com/photos/skiing/shastaHotlumWintun_20050702/sunrise.jpg)]

At 12,600' we traversed onto the edge of the Wintun glacier. An excellent bootpack existed from here to the summit though Jonathan (whose skinned up Tuckerman's Ravine) insisted on continuing skinning. Coincidentally another skinner, Dr Dave from Reno who Ben had skied with before, suddenly showed up and they continued skinning across the Wintun glacier together and up the Clear Creek route to the summit.

[Ben and I climbing towards the summit (photo from Jonathan) (http://jeffwhuber.com/photos/skiing/shastaHotlumWintun_20050702/climbingTowardsSummitFromJ.jpg)]
[Me happy to be near the top (http://jeffwhuber.com/photos/skiing/shastaHotlumWintun_20050702/meApproachingSummit.jpg)]
[Ben nearing the summit with Lassen in the background (photo from Dr Dave) (http://jeffwhuber.com/photos/skiing/shastaHotlumWintun_20050702/benClimbingFromDave.jpg)]

The summit was a happy place shared with many other parties. There were occasional blasts of wind but it wasn't too much of a nuisance. Ranger Matt was on top balancing between checking summit passes and providing entertainment. Matt was insisting on actually seeing your summits pass, verbally telling him you have a pass was insufficient even if you are a guidebook author with your pass stored in the most inconvenient location in your pack. Ranger Matt soon redeemed himself by taking our photo and comically explaining how he was planning to give Amar a $100 ticket if he didn't produce his pass (Matt says he generally only gives warnings to those w/o passes--that is unless you give him lip like Amar ostensibly was! ;-)).

[Amar, Jonathan and I on the summit (http://jeffwhuber.com/photos/skiing/shastaHotlumWintun_20050702/dorkySummitPhoto.jpg)]
[Jonthan and Ben (The Shefftz brothers) on the summit (http://jeffwhuber.com/photos/skiing/shastaHotlumWintun_20050702/shefftzBrothersOnTop.jpg)]
[Silas on the summit (http://jeffwhuber.com/photos/skiing/shastaHotlumWintun_20050702/silasOnSummit.jpg)]

Silas, Ben and I started our descent at 11:30. The skiing was great consisting of soft, creamy corn. It may have been a bit more optimal if we had started about an hour earlier but it was still excellent. Gradent is very similiar to the SW Chutes, maybe a hair steeper. I found it tiring to ski at this elevation, but Ben showed no signs of exhaustion as he utilized his ski racing background making fast, powerful, precise turns with lots of angulation all the way down. Silas made excellent turns too.

Action photos of Ben:
[Photo 1 (http://jeffwhuber.com/photos/skiing/shastaHotlumWintun_20050702/ben1.jpg)] [Photo 2 (http://jeffwhuber.com/photos/skiing/shastaHotlumWintun_20050702/ben2.jpg)] [Photo 3 (http://jeffwhuber.com/photos/skiing/shastaHotlumWintun_20050702/ben3.jpg)] [Photo 4 (http://jeffwhuber.com/photos/skiing/shastaHotlumWintun_20050702/ben4.jpg)] [Photo 5 (http://jeffwhuber.com/photos/skiing/shastaHotlumWintun_20050702/benLookingdown.jpg)]

Action photos of Silas:
[Photo 1 (http://jeffwhuber.com/photos/skiing/shastaHotlumWintun_20050702/silas1.jpg)] [Photo 2 (http://jeffwhuber.com/photos/skiing/shastaHotlumWintun_20050702/silas2.jpg)] [Photo 3 (http://jeffwhuber.com/photos/skiing/shastaHotlumWintun_20050702/silas3.jpg)]

Jonathan had started skiing before us and we didn't see him during the descent. He traversed back to the Hotlum/Wintun snowfield at 12,600' where he met up with Chris. We continued skiing down the Wintun glacier to 11,700' before we traversed to the snowfield. This avoided the majority of ruffles in Hotlum/Wintun snowfield.  

Back at camp Jonathan asked if I wanted to keep skiing. How could I refuse? We continued down to 8800' where it flattened out. The snow was heavy in a few spots but generally not too bad. At the base of our descent we spent about an hour resting and bathing in the sun on the rocks we ate lunch on the day prior. As we skinned back up, Amar, Silas and Chris came down. They were departing tonight. Amar reported successfully getting the Hotlum Gully with awkward snow in a few parts. Congrats to Amar for within three days getting two formidable summit descents!

[Skiing photo sequence of Chris (aka Scostman) (with Amar & Hotlum Gl. in background) (http://jeffwhuber.com/photos/skiing/shastaHotlumWintun_20050702/chrisSkiSequence.jpg)]
[Skiing photo sequence of Amar (http://jeffwhuber.com/photos/skiing/shastaHotlumWintun_20050702/amarSequence.jpg)]
[Skiing photo of Silas (note his and Amar's tracks in the background) (http://jeffwhuber.com/photos/skiing/shastaHotlumWintun_20050702/silasWTracks.jpg)]

Back at camp we spent the rest of the day relaxing in the sun. In the evening I took a short run above camp. I expected the snow to be pretty gloppy but it wasn't nearly as bad as I expected. It was heavy but not sticky at all.

[View of Shasta's shadown in the evening (http://jeffwhuber.com/photos/skiing/shastaHotlumWintun_20050702/shastasShadow.jpg)]

The next morning we woke when the sun came up. We had initially discussed just going to the 2nd Hotlum notch but as we skinned up Jonathan suggested continuing to the summit. This idea did not sound too favorable as it was already relatively late in the morning and I had a long drive home that night. We ended up just skinning to 12,800 to the edge of the Wintun (only 1300vft below the summit). In retrospect we should have started several hours earlier and gone to the summit again.

[Jonathan skinning steep (http://jeffwhuber.com/photos/skiing/shastaHotlumWintun_20050702/jonathanSkinning.jpg)]

We skied back down on great corn. We traversed to the 2nd Hotlum overlook and also traversed several times to find the smoothest snow.

Jonathan action photos:
[Photo 1 (http://jeffwhuber.com/photos/skiing/shastaHotlumWintun_20050702/jonathan1.jpg)] [Photo 2 (http://jeffwhuber.com/photos/skiing/shastaHotlumWintun_20050702/jonathan5.jpg)] [Photo 3 (http://jeffwhuber.com/photos/skiing/shastaHotlumWintun_20050702/jonathan3.jpg)] [Photo 4 (http://jeffwhuber.com/photos/skiing/shastaHotlumWintun_20050702/jonathan4.jpg)] [Photo 5 (http://jeffwhuber.com/photos/skiing/shastaHotlumWintun_20050702/jonathan2.jpg)]

Back at camp we packed up and headed down, using our GPSes to follow our ascent route to get to the hairpin turn then hiked the road to the cars.

GPS determined stats:
Total vertical ascent: 12,733ft
Gross mileage: 12.11
GPS track superimposed on topo map (includes all travel except for Sunday night tour) (http://jeffwhuber.com/photos/skiing/shastaHotlumWintun_20050702/gpsTopo.jpg)
Total fun units: Too many to count

I've had a lot of outings on Shasta but this was one of my favorites. The combination of people, great skiing and perfect weather made this a trip that I will not soon forget. This is likely the last of my non "low-season" ski trips for the season, and I don't think I could have possible wished for a better ending. Thanks everyone for the wonderful time!


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