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| | |-+  May 28-29, Mt. Shasta, Avy Gulch/lower Caseval
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Author Topic: May 28-29, Mt. Shasta, Avy Gulch/lower Caseval  (Read 10805 times)
allyson
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May 28-29, Mt. Shasta, Avy Gulch/lower Caseval
« on: 05/30/05, 06:42 PM »

After a long night's drive and a quick nap at a rest stop, we finally got to the town of Mt. Shasta Saturday morning.  Kelvin, Cinnamon, Justin, Kam, Cass, Jessica, and myself met up with Amar, Cory, and Kevin from California at the ranger station around 9am.  Though the weather in the valley was warm and sunny, one look at the sprinting clouds up on the mountain warned us the weather would not be similar up there.  The rangers told us the weather for next couple of days was slightly unstable, with a low pressure system moving in off of the coast.  We hemmed and hawed a bit with the idea of going to Lassen instead, but eventually decided to stick it out, and left the parking lot of Bunny Flats around 3:30pm.  Skinning was possible within feet of the cars.

We took a short jaunt up to Horse camp, where we set up camp for the evening.  Despite the menacing reports of high winds and thunderstorms, the afternoon was surprisingly nice, calm, and sun-filled.  It was warm enough for pretty much anything to slide, and we noticed many of the slopes on all aspects of Avy Gulch had already released.  Taking advantage of the break in the weather, we skinned up to about 8500', and got a run down the bottom portion of Avy Gulch.  The snow was good--deep, granulated, and carvable.

Saturday night and Sunday morning were unexpectedly calm, deceiving us into thinking that it might stay that way--but alas, it did not.  The clear night hardened the snow up nicely for us.  We left Horse Camp at 5:55 am.  Almost immediately we could see the dark, looming clouds coming in from the northwest, and noticed an interesting cloud cap forming over the summit.  We got to 9200' at 7:30 am and stopped to take a break to wait for the rest of the gang.  

While waiting, the weather quickly went from sunny and calm with scattered clouds to near white-out conditions and quite breezy with winds gusting up to 20+ mph.  When freezing rain began pelting us, we decided to let the mountain have her way and headed back down to camp to wait it out.  Amar and Cory decided to hunker down and wait it out up high.  

Back down at Horse Camp, we ate, took naps, and relaxed while the crazy weather socked us in even further (though there was no more precip).  The fog finally broke up around 1 pm, and we were off within moments, this time headed toward lower Caseval Ridge.  The weather held up for us and visibility remained good until around 2:30 when the next band of clouds rolled through.  We climbed to about 9200' and again, hung out until the weather decided to cooperate with us.

When the break finally came, we began the descent along the southwest aspect of the ridge.  And it was nothing but perfect corn all the way down.  Folks were whoopin' and hollerin', tearing up the slope.  We packed up our stuff at Horse Camp, and were back down at Bunny Flats by about 4:30pm.  So, despite not being able to summit, and despite the often unaccommodating weather, we certainly had our way with the mountain.  And what an awesome way for me to be introduced the world of rando gear!  

Oh, and rumor has it that Cass saw markharf running around up there...in tennis shoes??  Huh
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snowshoe?? why would you??
kam
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Re: May 28-29, Mt. Shasta, Avy Gulch/lower Caseval
« Reply #1 on: 05/30/05, 07:14 PM »

Allyson: nice report!  what a great trip.  i enjoyed most hanging out with everyone, and i'm glad we found great skiing.  here's a photo of you, Allyson, on Sunday morning just before the weather moved in.



more photos (i'll post more soon...)

1. Kelvin skiing down to camp on Saturday
« Last Edit: 05/31/05, 04:40 AM by kam » Logged

What do you mean you didn't bring skis?
markharf
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Re: May 28-29, Mt. Shasta, Avy Gulch/lower Caseval
« Reply #2 on: 05/30/05, 09:39 PM »

Quote
Oh, and rumor has it that Cass saw markharf running around up there...in tennis shoes??  Huh


Apparently the right tool for the job, since they allowed me to (almost) keep up with Mike_C and Jeff on the uptrack.  We turned around at Lake Helen in ferocious winds and blowing ice crystals and skied down to the parking lot.  Mike and Jeff took off while I climbed up for another run, then pitched in on the final few feet of a rescue (1200 foot slide for life below Red Banks) before running into Telewoman and a well-known lurker (who forced two beers on me in rapid succession, rendering me even more incoherent than usual).  

Snow was great once it thawed a bit, and visibility was perfectly adequate by PNW standards (although others not so favored seemed to disagree about this part).  I also skied the previous two days in the central Oregon Cascades and found generally fine conditions, with mostly consolidated wet pack under a few inches of slush--apparently stable and entirely free of the dreaded tree pollen scourge.

enjoy,

Mark
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Robie
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Re: May 28-29, Mt. Shasta, Avy Gulch/lower Caseval
« Reply #3 on: 05/31/05, 01:55 AM »

Allyson,
Good report,sounds like yall made the best of it.
Was there any buzz down there on other trailheads opening like (Brewer creek )? I know they got a ton of snow.thanks
robie
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allyson
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Re: May 28-29, Mt. Shasta, Avy Gulch/lower Caseval
« Reply #4 on: 05/31/05, 05:04 AM »

hi robie--
i'm not sure about other trailheads in that area, although i can tell you that the road was only open up to bunny flats (6950').  we did not ask the ranger about any other areas besides the basic route up avy gulch.  if it helps any though, the snow level descended below bunny flats by about 500 feet or so...
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carter
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Re: May 28-29, Mt. Shasta, Avy Gulch/lower Caseval
« Reply #5 on: 05/31/05, 05:24 AM »

Allyson,

great report, and I'm bummed I missed out on the great corn and what I'm sure was a fun little drive down.  Don't tell me you've already turned to the dark side?

Great shots, Kam.  I love that new lens!
-carter
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all things are possible, except skiing through a revolving door. -anonymous
Jeff Huber
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Re: May 28-29, Mt. Shasta, Avy Gulch/lower Caseval
« Reply #6 on: 05/31/05, 05:24 AM »

Excellent report Allyson!

Quote
Was there any buzz down there on other trailheads opening like (Brewer creek )?


Hey Robie, you can check the USFS Mt Shasta Climbers Report here:
http://www.shastaavalanche.org/reports.htm

It was last updated on the 26th and stated the road to Brewer Creek is 8-10 miles out. You don't need the road to be open all the way to ski the Hotlum/Wintun, but you probably want it within a few miles.

Edit to add: Kudos on experiencing the joy of AT gear! :-)
« Last Edit: 05/31/05, 06:41 AM by Gaper_Jeffey » Logged

skip
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Re: May 28-29, Mt. Shasta, Avy Gulch/lower Caseval
« Reply #7 on: 05/31/05, 07:44 AM »

allyson,

good report and great to see you on suitable backcountry gear.  I find that most satisfying.

Looking forward to hearing more about it...
-s
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sheispiste
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Re: May 28-29, Mt. Shasta, Avy Gulch/lower Caseval
« Reply #8 on: 05/31/05, 10:23 AM »

Calling all cars...
What a great weekend! Great TR Allyson; all it is missing is one of your gut-splitting cheers. Thanks for the turns, the laughter, and the great photo opportunities.

While you all went to town and a late night drive back, Kevin, Chris, and I lingered for the alpine glow and a good night's sleep. The fog seemed gone for good by 5 pm. We dinned under bluebird skies. Armed with cameras we watched the sinking sun exaggerate our beautiful lines from the earlier afternoon tour. Chris's tracks right under that thumb rock, Kam, stood out. I hope your shot of it is just as good. It was lovely corn and the hoots and hollers seemed to keep echoing as we admired the ridge. We danced around in the flats above Horse Camp making photographs and drinking up the orange hue of the magnificent mountain. When the snow and sky colors matched we hit the tents. It was cold night; very, very clear with extraordinary stars.

At 6:30 am we skied out on the less-than-ideal surface marked by crusty boot steps and sun cups. We saw Amar and Corey making a bid for Shastina. I'm certain they had fabulous weather.

Chris and I said our goodbyes to Kevin after a breakfast at the Bear and were home in Seattle before sunset.

Another wonderful trip in the mountains. Thanks!
« Last Edit: 05/31/05, 10:27 AM by sheispiste » Logged

any day in the mountains is a good day in the mountains
cascadesfreak
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Re: May 28-29, Mt. Shasta, Avy Gulch/lower Caseval
« Reply #9 on: 05/31/05, 12:02 PM »

Thanks to all those on the trip for the fun weekend!! Glad we found some great skiing on the south slopes of Shasta!  That sunset lighting on Sunday was worth staying out in the cold for a second night  Grin

Trip photos are posted here
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JW
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Re: May 28-29, Mt. Shasta, Avy Gulch/lower Caseval
« Reply #10 on: 05/31/05, 01:23 PM »

Sounds like I should have gone Angry  I was tied up with home improvements. Ally--sone !!!!! You look so hot on those Rando boards!!!! bout time you came to your senses  Cool   Great tr thanks!   ...Jerry
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Kirsten
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Re: May 28-29, Mt. Shasta, Avy Gulch/lower Caseval
« Reply #11 on: 05/31/05, 01:25 PM »

A group of 4 of us from Seattle also headed down to Mt Shasta this weekend!  We departed the city at 4am Saturday morning and made it to camp ~1000ft below Lake Helen by Saturday evening....just in time to watch the lightening storm south of Shasta as we were having dinner.  

We set out for the summit ~5am Sunday morning.   Unfortunately, our summit attempt was thwarted by gusty winds w/ice balls and white-out conditions.  We turned around ~12,300 ft and headed back down to camp.  Our skis were not put on until the snow turned to corn, at ~11,000 ft, and we enjoyed a glorious 2000ft ski back down to our camp with clear skies.  After a quick bite to eat, we went out for a some yo-yo'ing.  At the exact moment we put on our skis to head down, the clouds rolled in and we were engulfed in clouds.  Slowly and carefully, we found our way back to camp.  A quick nap during the white-out rejuvenated our legs and we headed back out again for another yo late in the afternoon.  Skies cleared just in time and we were rewarded, yet again, w/some of the best corn skiing we've ever had.  

Monday morning we packed up camp and headed down to Bunny Flats.  The ski down was nice creamy corn, no schmoo or sticky snow since it was only 9:30am.  Skiing with a full overnight backpack has never been so easy!

It was a GREAT trip and we definitely plan on making the drive back!  Too bad we never ran into all the other Seattle folks on the mountain!  We could have been hootin' and hoolerin' together!  Smiley

--Kirsten

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Robie
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Re: May 28-29, Mt. Shasta, Avy Gulch/lower Caseval
« Reply #12 on: 05/31/05, 01:42 PM »

Thanks Allyson and Jeff. Too much snow, not enough snow! Wait, never too much snow!
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jdclimber
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Re: May 28-29, Mt. Shasta, Avy Gulch/lower Caseval
« Reply #13 on: 06/04/05, 01:16 PM »

Great trip! Our fearless Toe-er Guide/Ringmaster has an uncanny ability to surround himself with fun and amazing people, just trying to figure out how I slipped in under his good judgement of character.  Smiley
I think my face hurt from laughing as much as my legs hurt from skiing and my back hurt from driving.
Great photos so far and can't wait to see the rest of them. Looking forward to the next adventure.
Cheers-
jdclimber
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