telemark skiingbackcountry skiingPacific NorthwestWashington and Oregonweather linksThe Yuki AwardsMt. Rainier and Mt. Adams
Turns All Year
www.turns-all-year.com
  Help | Search | Login | Register
Turns All Year Trip Reports
Backcountry Skiing and Snowboarding

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
02/20/17, 02:49 AM

Solar Halo over Tahoma
on TAY home page
 
Trip Reports Sponsor
Feathered Friends
Feathered Friends
Turns All Year Trip Reports
(1) Viewing these pages constitutes your acceptance of the Terms of Use.
(2) Disclaimer: the accuracy of information here is unknown, use at your own risk.
(3) Trip Report monthly boards: only actual trip report starts a new thread.
(4) Keep it civil and constructive - that is the norm here.
 
FOAC Snow
Info Exchange


NWAC Avalanche
Forecast
+  Turns All Year Trip Reports
|-+  2011 Backcountry Trip Reports
| |-+  July 2011 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  July 21, 2011, Shasta, Hotlum-Wintun, SMOOTH CORN
:
« previous next »
Pages: [1] | Go Down Print
Author Topic: July 21, 2011, Shasta, Hotlum-Wintun, SMOOTH CORN  (Read 7720 times)
Amar Andalkar
Member
Offline

Posts: 1198


WWW
July 21, 2011, Shasta, Hotlum-Wintun, SMOOTH CORN
« on: 07/22/11, 02:06 PM »

Summary: Wow! The Hotlum-Wintun route on the east side of Mount Shasta is in outstanding condition, especially for late July (or anytime), offering a continuous descent of over 7000 vertical feet from the summit on mostly smooth corn snow. I can't imagine that any ski route in the lower 48 offers as much vert right now in such excellent snow conditions. Certainly nothing on Rainier or Adams does right now, not sure if Baker still does since I've seen no recent summit ski reports.


View of Mount Shasta from the northeast near 5800 ft along FR 19, with Hotlum Glacier at right and Wintun Glacier at left, and the Hotlum-Wintun route dropping down and left from the summit.

Snow extends to within about 20 vertical feet of the true summit, and is free of any chunks of rime ice starting about 30 feet below that. Smooth corn snow from over 14100 ft down to 11000 ft, then slightly less smooth to about 10000 ft, then increasing moderate suncups below that. Suncups are not large at all, and rain runnels are nearly nonexistent, even near treeline and below.


Zoomed view from near 8000 ft looking back at my ski tracks (and those of glissading climbers) on the upper mountain.

The road to Brewer Creek trailhead (20 miles unpaved from US 97 via Military Pass Road, rough and rocky in parts, smooth gravel in others) is blocked by 1-3 ft deep snow patches about 1 mile before the trailhead near 7000 ft. However, an 8-minute walk up the road (in ski boots and carrying skis in hand) found continuous skiable snow in the usual shallow gully just a few yards south of the last right switchback on the road (this gully parallels Brewer Creek to its north). The snow was continuous from 7100 ft in the gully all the way to the summit. A ski-length section partway up the gully is getting thin and will melt out shortly, but otherwise the gully should remain continuous for several more days or longer.


Looking up the snow-filled gully towards the cloudy mountain.


Details: As yet another upper-level low approached the Northwest during this annoyingly cloudy spring and summer, the forecast and UW model showed sunny skies and light winds even at 14000 ft on Wednesday-Thursday far to the south on Mount Shasta. So I left the clouds of Seattle on Tuesday evening and drove to Crater Lake by midnight. Awoke to a beautiful sunrise in my car on the caldera rim, and spent the next several hours hiking down to the lake and taking lots of photos (the road is open about 2/3 of the way around the rim, still blocked by snow on the east side).

Headed for Shasta that afternoon, planning a late ascent to camp to avoid the heat and intense sun. Started from the car on Wednesday evening just before 5pm, with the mountain mostly obscured by un-forecast clouds, and skinned up the gully, with the snow softened just enough for easy skiing despite the constant sidehill of the snow in the gully. The gully fades near 7600 ft, just as the snow coverage becomes nearly continuous.


First view of the summit from timberline as the clouds began to clear around 6pm.

Reached a nice campsite at 9000 ft in two hours, sheltered below a large boulder and krummholz whitebark pine. The clouds soon cleared entirely, revealing the triangular shadow of the mountain off to the southeast as sunset neared around 8:30pm, and I enjoyed a warm and windless night in my bivy, staring up at the stars.


The triangular shadow of Shasta at right, with Ash Creek Butte at left (an 8378 ft shield volcano cut by a large glacial cirque, located 8 miles east of Shasta).


Warm glow of sunrise from camp.

Up at 5:30am just before sunrise, totally clear and nearly calm. Skinning uphill with ski crampons by 6:45am, the snow surface firmly frozen even here 5000 ft below the freezing level. Skinned to 11800 ft as the snow softened in the sun, then switched to booting with crampons the rest of the way, following an old fading bootpack on the steeper slopes above 12800 ft where the route crosses onto the Wintun Glacier. An occasionally gusty downhill breeze kept it from getting too hot in the blazing sunshine.


Skinning up above 10000 ft.

Summited just before noon, surprisingly the winds were under 5-10 mph at the summit despite the earlier gusts, and temps were in the mid-30s F. Just perfect summit weather. Enjoyed total solitude on the summit for a half-hour, with no climbers visible anywhere even via the standard Avalanche Gulch route. Looking down from the summit pinnacle, the entire summit plateau looks surprisingly smooth, none of the usual large suncups and penitentes could be seen at all.


The final few feet to the summit, with fist-sized chunks of rime.

Skied down at 12:30pm, quickly plowing through the softened rime of the upper few yards and then hitting the smooth sweet corn. Astonishingly, I was the only skier on the route this day despite stellar conditions -- two snowboarders on foot turned around below 12000 ft, and there was a single party of 13 climbers (roped up, with 6 and 7 per rope !?!?) who summited before me via a more leftward Wintun Glacier variation, then descended the standard route. I carved high-speed turns on the smooth corn past the roped climbers inching slowly downhill near 13000 ft, and heard some whoops and hollers.


Looking down the ski route as it rolls over just below 14000 ft.

Just for scenic variety and fun, I cut far skier's left near 12200 ft to make a few turns beside large open crevasses on the Hotlum Glacier, then returned to the Hotlum-Wintun snowfield for a while before traversing out onto the Hotlum Glacier once again near 11200 ft below a large cliffy rock outcrop. This would be a fun glacier to ski in its entirely, and it probably went really nicely about a month ago this year -- there are many open crevasses now, and the snow surface is much less smooth than the Hotlum-Wintun snowfield.


Looking up the Hotlum Glacier from near 11000 ft on my side trip.

Back to camp by 1pm, packed up and skiing down a half-hour later. I had run a GPS track the previous evening from the car to camp, knowing how difficult it is to find the correct gully when descending through the forest here (many parallel gullies, all fairly shallow, almost none holding continuous snow now). As expected, the GPS track was essential for navigating into the correct gully, since my skin track was mostly invisible. Reached the end of the continuous snow at 7100 ft just after 2pm, and was back to the car about 8 minutes walk later.


The snow is still quite smooth, barely suncupped even near 8000 ft.

Just another amazing trip on Mount Shasta, totally worth the 550 mile drive from Seattle for such an outstanding ski run. The forecast for the next week looks the same down there: sunny every day, so it's as good a time as any to head down there if more upper-level lows continue to afflict the Northwest with clouds and rain.



FORECAST FOR MOUNT SHASTA RECREATIONAL AREA
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MEDFORD, OR
300 AM PDT THU JUL 21 2011

TODAY...SUNNY. HIGHS IN THE MID 60S TO MID 70S. NORTHWEST WINDS 5 TO 10 MPH.
TONIGHT...MOSTLY CLEAR. LOWS IN THE LOWER 40S TO LOWER 50S. NORTHWEST WINDS 10 TO 15 MPH.
FRIDAY...SUNNY. HIGHS IN THE LOWER TO MID 70S. NORTH WINDS AROUND 5 MPH.
FRIDAY NIGHT...MOSTLY CLEAR. LOWS IN THE LOWER 40S TO LOWER 50S.
SATURDAY...MOSTLY CLEAR. HIGHS IN THE MID 70S TO LOWER 80S.

EXTENDED...
SUNDAY...MOSTLY CLEAR. LOWS 45 TO 55. HIGHS 75 TO 85.
MONDAY...MOSTLY CLEAR. LOWS IN THE 40S. HIGHS IN THE 70S.
TUESDAY...MOSTLY CLEAR. LOWS IN THE 40S. HIGHS 65 TO 75.
WEDNESDAY...MOSTLY CLEAR. LOWS IN THE 40S. HIGHS IN THE 70S.

  TODAY        TEMPERATURE   /   WIND (MPH)
 6000 FEET         57        /    NW  15
10000 FEET         45        /    NW  15
14000 FEET         31        /    NW  25

   SNOW LEVEL FORECAST
                 
TODAY..........13000 FEET.
TONIGHT........13000 FEET.
FRIDAY.........13000 FEET.
FRIDAY NIGHT...13500 FEET.
SATURDAY.......13500 FEET.


Logged

rlsg
Member
Offline

Posts: 479


Re: July 21, 2011, Shasta, Hotlum-Wintun, SMOOTH CORN
« Reply #1 on: 07/22/11, 05:08 PM »

This is great!!  Going south not north;  really looking forward to it.  I had heard rumor that it was really good on that side.

Thanks for the most useful report.
Logged
stoudema
Member
Offline

Posts: 477


Re: July 21, 2011, Shasta, Hotlum-Wintun, SMOOTH CORN
« Reply #2 on: 07/22/11, 10:06 PM »

Nice report Amar!  I'd love to get down that way soon, and would imagine the route will be in good shape for early August turns!  Looks like an awesome time to be on the mountain!
Logged

There is nothing more practical in the end than the preservation of beauty." - Theodore Roosevelt
tabski
Member
Offline

Posts: 215


Re: July 21, 2011, Shasta, Hotlum-Wintun, SMOOTH CORN
« Reply #3 on: 07/23/11, 02:34 PM »

Yah Amar!
Logged
all mtn
Member
Offline

Posts: 464


Re: July 21, 2011, Shasta, Hotlum-Wintun, SMOOTH CORN
« Reply #4 on: 07/24/11, 01:45 PM »

 - epic photo, the first one & all of 'em. I was hopin' I might find a rpt! The 5th season, and Forest service are reporting good conditions for Brewer Crk. thanks much, I'm there next wk * * * Lassen is closed, for trail work. (mainly patch skiing, anyway (compared to the Masta) "sum turns is betta than no turns, though"   that's pretty cool, how you went out to the glacier - kids' play compared to your guys' Mtn. I had frozen 'shark-fins' at the summit chute, one year.  &, I skied that patch in the fifth pic in early Sept before
« Last Edit: 07/24/11, 02:49 PM by all mtn » Logged
toby_tortorelli
Guest


Email
Re: July 21, 2011, Shasta, Hotlum-Wintun, SMOOTH CORN
« Reply #5 on: 07/24/11, 02:05 PM »

Very nice conditions! This jogs my memory. My most memorable Shasta trip was Aug. 5th 1997, when you could ski smooth snow off the summit to within 1/4 mile of the Clear Creek TH. A 7700+-' ski in August!!!
Logged
all mtn
Member
Offline

Posts: 464


Re: July 21, 2011, Shasta, Hotlum-Wintun, SMOOTH CORN
« Reply #6 on: 07/24/11, 02:11 PM »

 - I thought that El nino was '97/'98  ?    I'm glad it's still July !
Logged
toby_tortorelli
Guest


Email
Re: July 21, 2011, Shasta, Hotlum-Wintun, SMOOTH CORN
« Reply #7 on: 07/24/11, 04:31 PM »

Oh yeah, it was '98. Bad memory. Thanks!
Logged
ryanl
Member
Offline

Posts: 345


Re: July 21, 2011, Shasta, Hotlum-Wintun, SMOOTH CORN
« Reply #8 on: 07/25/11, 10:27 AM »

Making me jealous Amar! Looks amazing.

How are you liking your Volkls?
Logged
Gregg_C
Member
Offline

Posts: 342


Re: July 21, 2011, Shasta, Hotlum-Wintun, SMOOTH CORN
« Reply #9 on: 07/26/11, 07:37 AM »

Yea Amar,  need a report on the skiis.  Half way through my second beer last night I was going to ask you about the Volk's.  Forgot of course.  Great report and fun seeing you and other folks last night.
Logged
mcohen
5Member
Offline

Posts: 31


Re: July 21, 2011, Shasta, Hotlum-Wintun, SMOOTH CORN
« Reply #10 on: 07/26/11, 09:25 AM »

Gregg, what did I tell you about trying to drink more than one beer.  Check you wallet, make sure none of those city thugs lifted any of your folding money while you were incapacitated.  You walking okay today?

Mike
Logged
rlsg
Member
Offline

Posts: 479


Re: July 21, 2011, Shasta, Hotlum-Wintun, SMOOTH CORN
« Reply #11 on: 07/26/11, 04:03 PM »

Just to confirm EVERY THING that Amar reports (not that there was ever any doubt though..) the skiing on said route is absolutely phenomenal.  After my supper windy bivy and then the same down hill in- my- face
Skin to 12500' (I hate booting, even if it is faster..) I made the traverse over to the wintun and booted aspects.  About 1200 I notice a could down below over the hotlum snowfield so that was clue enough and I was skiing off the top by 12:15.

Wow what a run and there was enough snow to ski over to the hotlum snow field which was also just absolutely amazing in snow quality and length.  Got to my bivy, looked at the summit, and it was socked in!!!  So much for seven day forecast (though they were right about the wind though it was I bit stronger it seemed to me..but I survived..).  Thinking that I should have brought a rain fly, rather than taking chances with that cloud, I did the gps thing as Amar suggested (rather than walking around in the woods for hours like last year..)  and was at the car where pizza and Guinness awaited me...
Logged
rlsg
Member
Offline

Posts: 479


Re: July 21, 2011, Shasta, Hotlum-Wintun, SMOOTH CORN
« Reply #12 on: 07/26/11, 04:06 PM »

Sorry about all the errors in the first paragraph..no I did not review..water under that bridge..
Logged
Pages: [1] | Go Up Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  



Login with username, password and session length

Thank you to our sponsors!
click to visit our sponsor: Feathered Friends
Feathered Friends
click to visit our sponsor: Marmot Mountain Works
Marmot Mountain Works
click to visit our sponsor: Second Ascent
Second Ascent
click to visit our sponsor: American Alpine Institute
American Alpine Institute
click to visit our sponsor: Pro Guiding Service
Pro Guiding Service
Contact turns-all-year.com

Turns All Year Trip Reports ©2001-2010 Turns All Year LLC. All Rights Reserved

The opinions expressed in posts are those of the poster and do not necessarily
reflect the opinions of Trip Reports administrators or Turns All Year LLC


Turns All Year Trip Reports | Powered by SMF 1.0.6.
© 2001-2005, Lewis Media. All Rights Reserved.