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Author Topic: April 30th, 2005, Mt Shasta, Giddy Giddy Gulch  (Read 3368 times)
Jeff Huber
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April 30th, 2005, Mt Shasta, Giddy Giddy Gulch
« on: 04/30/05, 04:14 PM »

After spending half of the past week in the bay area for work, family and meeting my new niece (see photo below), I headed north back home and to make a ski stop on Mt Shasta. The weather forecast for Shasta had deteriorated as the week progressed, calling for mostly cloud skies today and tomorrow with a chance of precipitation. I was aware that with this forecast my objective of Shastina would likely not go, but since I had to drive past Shasta anyway there was little reason not to ski on it. I arrived at Bunny Flat a bit after 2am and slept in my Durango, which is quite comfortable. I didn't awake until 10:45, despite the large amount of wkend traffic in the parking lot. Around 11:30 I finally started to skin up. During the night cloud cover had kept the snowpack from freezing hard and the snow was mush -- which was further compounded by my tardy start. The mtn above Bunny Flat was socked in by light clouds but I was optimistic they would either break or I'd get above them. Near Horse Camp the clouds cleared from the upper mtn revealing the massive white pristine volcano in all it's glory. See panorama. I headed up Casaval Ridge, being well aware that at any moment the clouds may return as they were still wisping thru the valleys below. Sure enough, as I got higher the clouds started to buildup and at 9500ft I was in a complete whiteout with very poor visibility. The vis was just like last wkend, except there was no wind or horizontal precip. I decided to wait a bit to see if the clouds would break again. In someways it was really quite peaceful and pleasent waiting in a complete world of white, though I was slightly disappointed -- not because skiing in a whiteout is unpleasant, but because it meant my chances of seeing a Lemurian (the mythical aliens that live on Mt Shasta) had further decreased. After waiting for about 20 minutes, the clouds didn't seem like they were going to break so I traversed into Giddy Giddy gulch and skied back down. The snow consisted of about 3-5"s of progressively worse mush on-top a firm base. Towards the end of Giddy Giddy the vis improved and I linked giddyish turns despite the suboptimal snow.

The Horse Camp cabin was almost completely burried by snow except for the chimney and the far side. The snow was very sticky on the gradual downhill back to Bunny Flat and skiing outside of the well-established track would result in an almost instant stop.  

I was not able to get a good photo of what I skied, so here's looking up Avy Gulch from near Horse Camp:


And here's a photo of my niece, who I met last week. This is my 2nd niece and in addition I have one nephew. Unclehood is great, and I question the purpose of having my own kids when I have such great nephews/nieces.

Jeff

PS: I'm getting Internet connectivity from my Hotel, the Best Western treehouse. You have to specifically request to say in a room with Wifi and even then they still can't guarantee it, though you can get Wifi from the lobby if you end up in a room w/o it. The BW Treehouse is a pleasant place to stay, with a great complimentary breakfast

PS 2: When I got back to Shasta City the clouds around Shasta had cleared again and Shasta was in full view.

Edit to change photo.
« Last Edit: 05/02/05, 07:37 PM by Gaper_Jeffey » Logged

Jeff Huber
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Re: April 30th, 2005, Mt Shasta, Giddy Giddy Gulch
« Reply #1 on: 04/30/05, 04:37 PM »

Related to Shasta, on TTips a user posted an article from today's SF Chronical about a study from the USGS reviewing the threat of volcanoes and calling for better monitoring:
Quote
At present, two of the three most dangerous California volcanoes are not only in the northern part of the state, several hours' drive from San Francisco, but those two -- Mount Shasta and Lassen Peak -- are like bomb factories without burglar alarms: They're inadequately monitored with seismic and other scientific instruments

http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2005/04/30/BAGKNCHQG11.DTL&type=science

For an amusing hypoethical account of Shasta errupting see Harris's Fire Mountains of the West

What would happen to the Lemurains if Shasta erupted?
« Last Edit: 04/30/05, 04:37 PM by Gaper_Jeffey » Logged

Zap
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Re: April 30th, 2005, Mt Shasta, Giddy Giddy Gulch
« Reply #2 on: 04/30/05, 05:31 PM »

Jeff, Your new niece looks like a potential sherpa for uncle Jeff.  I have 5 grandsons and the first words I spoke to them when they were born were "it's fun to breaktrail and carry some of grandpa's pack weight." I think I may have a break through with my 3 year old grandson in North Bend,WA.  

When are you coming to the Sierras ?  Smiley

Zap
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Jeff Huber
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Re: April 30th, 2005, Mt Shasta, Giddy Giddy Gulch
« Reply #3 on: 05/01/05, 03:42 PM »

Zap, The idea of turning my niece into a sherpa is brilliant! I'll start working on that right away.  Smiley

I'm not going to have any Sierra trips this Spring. Hopefully another year.
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allyson
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Re: April 30th, 2005, Mt Shasta, Giddy Giddy Gulch
« Reply #4 on: 05/02/05, 04:28 PM »

jeff--thanks for the good info on shasta.  despite the suboptimal conditions you spoke of, it still looks like there was quite a bit of snow up there from your pics!  i am heading down there the end of this month, hopefully to find some good corn, and good weather... Cool  any idea how the conditions were above helen lake?
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snowshoe?? why would you??
Jeff Huber
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Re: April 30th, 2005, Mt Shasta, Giddy Giddy Gulch
« Reply #5 on: 05/02/05, 07:33 PM »

Hi Allyson, Shasta indeed has a healthy amount of snow. The latest updates from Shasta Avalanche Center and Amar's Snowfall and Snowdepth page show snowdepth around 115% of normal.

I don't know what conditions were above Helen Lake on Saturday. If I had to guess, I would suspect it was pretty variable and for a good amount of the afternoon there was poor visibility. Shasta should be good for the next couple months -- I hope to make several more trips there this spring and early summer. If you're thinking about a summit ski of Avy Gulch be aware it gets cupped and pitted with tracks pretty quickly. After a few more weeks the West Face, then the Hotlumn/Wintun will probably be the preferred summit ski routes.

Camping in Hidden Valley for several days and skiing the aspects surrounding it seems like the ultimate late May trip. Smiley

Jeff
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