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.
11/24/17, 11:40 PM

Become a TAY Sponsor!
 
Trip Reports Sponsor
American Alpine Institute
American Alpine Institute
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
|-+  2016 Backcountry Trip Reports
| |-+  May 2016 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  May 11-18, 2016, Shasta x2, Shastina x2, Lassen x2
:
« previous next »
Pages: [1] | Go Down Print
Author Topic: May 11-18, 2016, Shasta x2, Shastina x2, Lassen x2  (Read 3450 times)
Amar Andalkar
Member
Offline

Posts: 1201


WWW
May 11-18, 2016, Shasta x2, Shastina x2, Lassen x2
« on: 05/27/16, 01:16 AM »

It's been a very long time since I posted a TR on TAY, since August 2015 I think, but a week after this road trip ended, I suddenly got the urge to start writing one . . . so here goes!

Summary: Skied 8 straight days of mostly excellent smooth California corn snow in mostly gorgeous sunny weather, with 2 summit ski descents each of the 3 highest peaks in the California Cascades: Mount Shasta (14179 ft), Shastina (12335 ft), and Lassen Peak (10457 ft). Skied those 3 peaks in descending order on the first 3 days of the trip under sunny high pressure, then finessed 2 days of stormy and marginal weather by skiing lower objectives, and then skied those 3 high peaks in ascending order during the last 3 days of the trip as sunny high pressure built up again (unexpectedly strong!), joined the second time around by Khanh Quach and Tim Byrnes. Ski conditions and corn snow quality on Shasta / Shastina were excellent both times on each, almost amazingly great for large portions of the routes, and while also very good on Lassen, it was not nearly as great as on Shasta. Just an outstanding, memorable, and serendipitous road trip overall!


May 11: Southwest view of Shasta and Shastina from exit 738 on I-5 in Shasta City, showing West Face fully sunlit and Avalanche Gulch mostly in shadow. (click for double-size version)


May 11: Mount Shasta, West Face via Avalanche Gulch, FULL ski ascent! 7400 ft total ascent, 100% skiable and skinnable
May 12: Shastina, WSW Face and "Black Butte Gulch" via SW Face / Lightning Gully, 7600 ft total ascent, 100% skiable, 6800 ft skinnable
May 13: Lassen Peak, West Face Gully and NW side traverse via NE Face, 6100 ft total ascent, 100% skiable, 5300 ft skinnable
May 14: Brokeoff Mountain, South Face via trail route, 2600 ft total ascent, 2500 ft skiable and skinnable, uppermost 100 ft bare :-(
May 15: Mount Shasta, Lower Cascade Gulch (from 9200 ft to 6500 ft), 3700 ft total ascent, 100% skiable and skinnable
May 16: Lassen Peak, NE Face, 4100 ft total ascent, 100% skiable (just barely!), 3300 ft skinnable
May 17: Shastina, WSW Face via Cascade Gulch, FULL ski ascent! 5600 ft total ascent, 100% skiable and skinnable
May 18: Mount Shasta, West Face via Avalanche Gulch, FULL ski ascent! 7900 ft total ascent, 100% skiable and skinnable


May 18: The rising sun with a 22-degree solar halo, seen from Everitt Memorial Highway on the drive up to Bunny Flat. (iPhone 6s Plus panorama, click for double-size version)



Snow and skinning conditions high up on Mount Shasta were truly exceptional on both the first and last days of the trip, allowing one to skin from beside the car at 6950 ft Bunny Flat trailhead all the way up Avalanche Gulch and on to the top of the true summit both days. The first 2 times I've ever managed to do that in 34 Shasta summits, all with ski descents by 12 routes (and full ski ascents are important to me, so I usually have tried to skin it all). Typically it's too frozen to easily skin the part from about 11000 to 12800 ft which faces west and gets little morning sun, and then too heavily rimed to make skinning possible for the last 250 ft of the summit pinnacle even with ski crampons, so it's quite rare that anyone skins from the car to the true summit on Shasta. But on these 2 days a week apart, the combination of near-calm winds and just-high-enough freezing level along with a leisurely late start allowed the smooth corn snow to soften nicely all the way up, and recent snow on the summit pinnacle provided a mostly rime-ice-free path via windpacked powder and corn even on the uppermost section above 14000 ft, so the full ski ascent wasn't really difficult or sketchy on either day. Such a pleasant surprise and stroke of good fortune, twice no less!

I never expected to be able to skin up the whole thing this time after finding it impossible so many previous times. And even after succeeding the first time, I didn't think it would be possible to repeat the full ski ascent a week later, given a windier forecast, but conditions ended up even slightly easier to skin the second time with unexpectedly calm winds and a bit of new snow from 4 days earlier. Definitely the best snow and skinning conditions I've ever personally seen up high above 13000 ft and especially 14000 ft via the Avalanche Gulch route on Shasta, both times. The only other time I've done a reasonably complete ski ascent of Shasta was a shocking trip 3 years ago via the Hotlum-Wintun route on the east side (see June 8, 2013, Shasta: Sting of the Tarantula Hawk). That was on a very warm day with 16500 ft freezing level, but skinnable snow extended only from 7650 ft to about 14150 ft, with the first half mile from the car and the uppermost summit pinnacle both bare of snow.


May 13: Lassen Peak from the northwest, reflected in Manzanita Lake, just before 8pm. (click for double-size version)


Totals for the road trip: 45,000 ft of total ascent, with 44,900 ft skiable (99.8%) and 42,500 ft skinnable (94.4%)
The 21,100 ft of ascent on the first 3 days turned out to be the most I've ever ascended in any 3-day period, and the total for all 8 days is my 2nd most in any 8-day period. Quite a surprise to discover that after entering the trips in my spreadsheet, since I'm just not in very good shape at all this spring (as my ski partners can attest!). I had one of my worst winters ever this year, derailed by 3 lengthy bouts of brutal allergies attacking mainly my eyes, plus a variety of other factors that just crushed the season, thus barely skiing 2-3 days a month until late March. And so as of now I'm still in much worse shape than last year (or any year since 2007), still about 15 lbs heavier than a year ago, so on all these trips my 30-lb day pack was effectively more like carrying a 45-lb overnight pack compared to a year ago. Definitely have not been fast on any of these trips, even if skiing a lot of vertical!


May 15: Mount Shasta from far to the south, along I-5 just north of Red Bluff, I just had to stop on the shoulder and shoot this lovely morning scene. (click for double-size version)


Camera notes: 1850 total photos, including 240 panoramas (most spanning over 180°) taken with the iPhone 6s Plus. This is the first TR I've ever posted on TAY which includes iPhone panoramas instead of the stitched multi-shot panoramas I usually include, as I haven't written any TRs since I got the phone last September. With a little care, the panoramas come out looking great, and I've become a bit addicted to taking lots of them on every ski day. The rest of the photos, over 1600 shots, were taken using my new month-old Canon SX720 HS pocket ultra-zoom. A great little camera, with an excellent 40x 24-960mm zoom in a tiny dense 9 oz body (by far the smallest 40x zoom yet made), CMOS sensor for good low-light performance and 5 fps continuous shooting. Plus a surprising battery life of over 700-800 shots on a full charge of its small Li-ion battery, despite being rated for only 250-350 shots and needing the LCD screen for every shot (no viewfinder, but doesn't need one, since the Canon LCD is easily bright enough to see in blinding sunlight on snow). The 13th Canon Powershot digicam I've owned since 1999, and the first one NOT to use AA batteries since the S40 in 2002, it's quickly becoming my favorite one of the whole lot. The 40x zoom is like having very powerful image-stabilized digital binoculars along on every trip, very useful for scrutinizing distant route features like bergschrunds from even several miles away, and also getting a usable look at snow coverage on distant peaks as far as 100 miles away.


This TR is clearly going to run very long since it includes 8 separate trips, but I'll try to keep the details of each day somewhat brief the 2nd time up these peaks. If I ever get around to writing those parts . . . at least the first couple days are done.


Details:
Tuesday, May 10: Coming off a long and tiring 3-day summit ski of Mount Baker on May 6-8 from the ski area via the Sholes, Mazama, Park, and Boulder Glaciers, I wasn't eager to drive 540 miles down to Shasta after only one day of rest on Monday. But the Shasta forecast for Wednesday looked near-perfect, with a 12000 ft freezing level and winds under 10 mph at the summit, so very rare on such a very windy mountain! Sometimes you just have to get motivated and go when the weather looks that good. I started packing for the long road trip in the morning, finally was ready and left Seattle at 3pm, then mostly lucked out with both Tacoma and Portland traffic (which could have cost 1-2 hours at that time of day), and arrived at Bunny Flat trailhead on Shasta at 12:05am.


FORECAST FOR MOUNT SHASTA RECREATIONAL AREA
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MEDFORD, OR
310 AM PDT TUE MAY 10 2016

TODAY...SUNNY. HIGHS IN THE MID 50S TO MID 60S. NORTHEAST WINDS 5 TO 10 MPH.
TONIGHT...CLEAR. LOWS IN THE LOWER TO MID 40S. EAST WINDS 10 TO 15 MPH.
WEDNESDAY...SUNNY. HIGHS IN THE LOWER 60S TO LOWER 70S. SOUTHEAST WINDS 5 TO 10 MPH.
WEDNESDAY NIGHT...CLEAR. LOWS IN THE MID 40S.
THURSDAY...CLEAR. HIGHS IN THE LOWER 60S TO LOWER 70S.

EXTENDED...
FRIDAY...MOSTLY CLEAR. SLIGHT CHANCE OF THUNDERSTORMS IN THE AFTERNOON AND EVENING. LOWS IN THE 40S. HIGHS 65 TO 75.
SATURDAY...MOSTLY CLOUDY. SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS...THEN CHANCE OF THUNDERSTORMS IN THE AFTERNOON AND EVENING. LOWS IN THE 40S. HIGHS IN THE 50S.
SUNDAY...PARTLY CLOUDY. LOWS 35 TO 45. HIGHS 55 TO 65.
MONDAY...PARTLY CLOUDY. SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS. LOWS 35 TO 45. HIGHS 55 TO 65.


TEMPERATURE (F) AND WIND (MPH) FORECAST

 ELEVATION    TODAY   TNGT    WED    WED NT   THU

 6000 FEET     60      43      66      44      66
             NE  6   NE  6   SE  4   SW  4    S  5

10000 FEET     33      33      39      39      42
              N 12   NE  5   SW  3   SW  8   SW 13

14000 FEET     24      24      25      25      27
              N 40    N  8   SW  8   SW 13   SW 17

  SNOW LEVEL FORECAST

TODAY............. 8600 FEET
TONIGHT........... 9600 FEET
WEDNESDAY......... 10500 FEET
WEDNESDAY NIGHT... 10800 FEET
THURSDAY.......... 11300 FEET

NOTE: The NWS Shasta rec forecast always lists snow levels for some strange reason, even in clear weather, so one needs to add 1000-1500 ft to those to get free air freezing levels (like those given in the NWS Rainier rec forecast).


May 11: Mount Shasta, West Face via Avalanche Gulch, FULL ski ascent!

The West Face (which actually faces very much WSW) is one of the finest ski runs on Mount Shasta and in the entire Cascade Range, 4000 vertical feet of consistent fall line at 35-40° from 13250 ft down to the flat bottom of Hidden Valley at 9250 ft, one of the most beautiful spots on Mount Shasta. The normal way to ski it is to ascend the standard Avalanche Gulch route (either to the summit or not) and then drop in from a notch in the edge of the summit plateau beside Point 13384 atop Casaval Ridge, although a few skiers (and many more climbers) chose to climb the face directly. In many ways, the West Face is a near-twin of the Southwest Chutes on Mount Adams, as both offer about 4000 vertical feet of 35-40° slopes on roughly the same aspect (SW / WSW), starting from a subsidiary high point and not directly from the summit, and are typically skied after climbing up the standard route instead, with an exit traverse (of varying difficulty depending on snowpack) required to reconnect back to the ascent route and the trailhead.


May 11: South-southwest view of Shasta and Shastina from the Abrams Lake Road overpass, exit 741 on I-5, showing the West Face head-on. (click for double-size version)


I had skied the West Face via Avalanche Gulch 4 times in previous years since 2003, and also a month earlier this year on April 6, on a quick 2-day trip down from Seattle to catch another prime-looking Shasta weather window. We had skinned from the car at 7:45am that time, and summited after 4pm after enduring a very tiring and bizarre 0-50 mph easterly headwind most of the way up Avalanche Gulch (calm one second, knock you off your feet the next, way higher than forecast too!). We dropped into the top of the West Face at 5:40pm, finding the upper part still not softened due to the wind with slide-for-life frozen snow, but then changing to nice softened corn below the 12500 ft freezing level and down into Hidden Valley. So I figured a similar late schedule would be fine once again this day to ski the same objective.


Ready to head out from Bunny Flat just before 8am.

It was a quite cold overnight, with temps dropping to 30 °F in the parking lot, and the snowpack was frozen rock hard in the morning. Snowdepth beside the lot was about 2-5 ft. Left the car just before 8am, needed ski crampons by 8500 ft as the still-frozen snow steepened, and skinned up past frozen and snow-buried Helen Lake at 10443 ft on nicely softening snow just after 10:30am, with only the large climbing rangers' tent and a single other tent at the normally-busy high camp.


Panorama spanning about 180°, looking up smooth snow on the south side of Avalanche Gulch near 9000 ft, far from the stampede path of boot tracks. (click for double-size version)



Panorama spanning almost 180° beside Helen Lake, with mostly empty tent platforms and only 2 tents. (click for double-size version)


Skinning conditions in the upper Gulch stayed good, following traces of old skin track in spots and mostly making my own gently switchbacking path the rest of the time, mostly mid heel-lifters only. I slowed down the pace to give the sun more time to soften the west-facing slope up to Thumb Rock saddle at 12800 ft, and eventually realized that I was going to be able to skin all of Avalanche Gulch for the first time ever in over 20 times up the route! I was stoked.


Looking down the smooth snow of Avalanche Gulch from above 11000 ft.

But I was also running out of water, the warmth and lack of wind meant that I had finished most of my 2.5 L Hydromedary water bag by the time I reached the saddle around 1:20pm. So I took a nice long break (45 minutes!) and melted 1.5 L more water on the Jetboil, using a nice deep drift of clean recent snow.


Panorama spanning over 200° from Thumb Rock saddle at 12800 ft, with Avalanche Gulch at left, Red Banks across most of the center, Konwakiton Glacier at lower center, the summit barely visible at upper right center, and 12923 ft Thumb Rock at right. (click for triple-size version)


Just after 2pm, I headed up once again, skinning up the nicely softened south-facing slopes above Red Banks to Misery Hill at 13200 ft. Even skinning directly up the Hill was fairly easy with decent snow conditions in mid-afternoon (often it's all rime and knee-high sastrugi, requiring a detour around to the east to find smoother wind-deposited snow in order to skin that part), and I gained the upper summit plateau at 13800 ft a bit after 3pm.


Panorama spanning over 200° from the top of Misery Hill at 13800 ft, with Point 13384 and the notch atop West Face at left center, with part of the Whitney Glacier just below, 12335 ft Shastina at center with its large crater, the 14040+ ft west summit at upper right center, and the 14179 ft true summit at upper right. (click for triple-size version)


Nearing the summit pinnacle, I was relieved to see a smooth ramp of fresh snow extending up the left side above Sulphur Springs (the hot springs and fumaroles on the summit crater floor), avoiding the steep rime knobs of the direct climbers' route. By following that smooth snow up, a full ski ascent was within my grasp at long last.


Panorama spanning over 180° from within Shasta's summit crater at 13950 ft, with part of the 14040+ ft west summit at left, the notch atop Bolam Gully at left center, the 14140+ ft north summit at upper center with the smooth ramp of skinnable snow below it, the warm bare ground of Sulphur Springs at lower right, and the 14179 ft true summit at upper right. (click for triple-size version)


I topped out first on the 14140+ ft north summit at 4pm, to enjoy the vertiginous view down the north side onto the Whitney Glacier and into the Shasta Valley over 11000 ft below. A group of 3 skiers were just skiing down from the summit, and we exchanged greetings from a distance, they too were headed for a late afternoon West Face descent.


Looking south from atop the north summit towards the true summit (Lassen Peak in the distance just left of it), with the other 3 skiers beginning their descent.

Continued in next post, exceeded 20,000 character limit . . .

« Last Edit: 05/27/16, 01:43 AM by Amar Andalkar » Logged

Amar Andalkar
Member
Offline

Posts: 1201


WWW
Re: May 11-18, 2016, Shasta x2, Shastina x2, Lassen x2
« Reply #1 on: 05/27/16, 01:17 AM »

May 11: Mount Shasta, continued . . .


Panorama spanning about 240° from atop the 14140+ ft north summit, with the 14179 ft true summit at upper left center, the 14040+ ft west summit at center above the warm bare ground of Sulphur Springs, 12335 ft Shastina at right center, and the terminus of Whitney Glacier at lower right. (click for triple-size version)



Panorama spanning about 270° from atop the 14140+ ft north summit, going the other way from the previous one, with 12335 ft Shastina at left, the terminus of Whitney Glacier at lower left center, 9495 ft Mt McLoughlin barely visible in distance at left center, smoke plume from a forest fire at center, 8378 ft Ash Creek Butte at right center, and the 14179 ft true summit at right. (click for triple-size version)


Then a quick traverse south along the summit ridge, sidestepping down a 10 ft step, and up the last bit to the top. The last 5 ft up a narrow frozen steep trough with deep footsteps was the only somewhat sketchy bit for skinning. Normally, the true summit appears to be at the far south end of the summit block, but on this day, it was fairly obvious that the rimed knob at the north end of the summit block was just a bit higher, as one could easily look down towards the other point. I turned around and placed a ski tip in elation atop the highest point!


The snow-covered knob I'm standing beside definitely looks to be higher than the usual true summit straight ahead, since I can easily see the horizon above it.

It was glorious weather on the summit, 26 °F and winds only 0-7 mph, and I had it all to myself for the next 25 minutes. I skinned over to the usual "true" summit about 20 yards to the south and tapped a pole on top, but trying to skin up the last 5 ft of icy footsteps on that would have been truly sketchy and a life-threatening risk, as it's very exposed on 3 sides to a long fall. Both high points appeared to be within 1-2 ft of each other.


Panorama spanning over 200° from beside the usual 14179 ft true summit at left, with the top of Misery Hill at 13800 ft at center, Point 13384 and the notch atop West Face just to its right, the usual summit lunch rocks at right center, the snow-buried summit register hidden in the saddle at right, and the knob which appeared to be the highest point this day at far right. (click for triple-size version)

(The panoramas I shot from near the true summit aren't as good or interesting as those above taken from the north summit, there's just much less to see since nearby outcrops block most everything below.)

At 4:40pm, I was ready to ski down from the top. After clicking in and locking my toes, I once again tapped a ski tip atop the highest point, then gingerly pointed the skis through the narrow frozen steep trough I had skinned up, promptly falling on my backside and sliding several feet despite using my Whippet poles to brace and slow myself. Luckily a fall in this spot had no consequences other than self-embarrassment, but near-vertical drops of 100-200 ft line most of the other parts of Shasta's summit pinnacle.


My ski tip atop the summit knob, with the short steep trough just beyond it, and the north summit at the far end of the ridge.

The rest of the ski down the pinnacle was easy given the good snow conditions, far better than the usual knee-high fins of clear water ice and milky rime which typically adorn the ski surface on this section. Misery Hill wasn't bad either, it was easy to follow the smoother sections of recent snow and largely stay off the rough areas. A month earlier we had switched to skins at the base of the Hill to gain the 100+ ft needed to access the West Face from the base of Misery Hill, but this time I just traversed around and sidestepped for a while up the gentle ridge to gain some elevation, until I could traverse cleanly down into the 13250 ft gap atop the West Face.


Panorama spanning over 200° from the traverse to the notch atop West Face, with Point 13384 at left, the traverse track into the notch at left center, Shastina at center with the Whitney Glacier extending down to its right, my sidestepping ascent track at right center, and the 14040+ ft west summit, 14179 ft true summit, and 13800 ft Misery Hill all clustered at right. (click for triple-size version)


I dropped in through the notch at 5:20pm, and this time the ski conditions were just stellar, right from the top of the West Face! Softened nicely and very smooth, it was easy to avoid the tracks of the 3 previous skiers and enjoy fast untracked turns down the left side of the vast 35-40° face.




Looking back up at my ski tracks in the smooth corn of West Face.

Snow conditions were easily a 9 or 10 the whole way down, just wow! I felt comfortable opening up the throttle quite a lot, arcing down the face in large super-G turns at high speed. It looked like I made only about 1/4 as many turns down the entire face as any of the previous 3 sets of tracks. The best conditions I've had in 7 descents of the West Face, just amazing smooth fast ski conditions for 4000 vertical feet all the way down to Hidden Valley at 9250 ft.


Panorama spanning over 240° from a campsite on the floor of Hidden Valley, with the exit drainage to lower Cascade Gulch at left, Shastina at center, the West Face at right center, and Casaval Ridge at right. (click for triple-size version)



It's easy to lose sense of scale in this moderately zoomed image taken from the exit of Hidden Valley, which covers 4000 vertical feet from the notch atop West Face to the lowest ski tracks. My tracks at right have a radius often over 50 meters, with the other 3 skiers' tracks at left. (click for double-size version)


The descending traverse out from Hidden Valley back to lower Avalanche Gulch, and then the schuss out the boot stampede path to the trailhead, both went nicely in the late hour, as the mushy snow lower down had begun to firm up just enough in the early evening for a quick descent with minimal stickiness.


Panorama spanning 180° of the aptly-named Avalanche Gulch, with the upper West Face visible too. The red boulder at lower center is a piece of the Red Banks volcanic conglomerate, resting here near 7500 ft, several miles and well over 5000 vertical ft below its point of origin. (click for double-size version)


Back to the car just after 6pm to enjoy a beer from the cooler, capping off what was probably one of my top 10 best backcountry ski days ever, counting both the ascent and the descent (out of almost 950 total backcountry ski days now).


The top edge of the memorial bench was just becoming visible at Bunny Flat, over the next week it would melt out almost 2 more feet.

After the awesome day on Shasta, the plan for the slightly warmer but windier next day was to ski Shastina, the 12335 ft satellite cone attached to Shasta's west flank, which except for that attachment, would rank as the 3rd highest volcano in the entire Cascade Range, higher than Mount Adams. Before dinner I took a nice evening drive up I-5 heading north from Shasta City, to get a view of our ski tracks on the West Face and to check out Shastina.


A moderately zoomed version of the West Face and Shastina view shown above, from Abrams Lake Road. Note the beautiful skiable line at left, descending almost straight down the fall line from the summit of Shastina for over 5000 vertical feet. This would be the next day's ski descent! (click for double-size version)



More zoom from the same spot, roughly 300mm equivalent, nicely showing our ski tracks on West Face and the exit from Hidden Valley. (click for double-size version)



Maximum zoom from the same spot, 960mm equivalent, nicely showing our ski tracks along different lines at the very top of West Face. (click for double-size version)


Then I continued a few miles northeast along US 97 to the stunning northside viewpoint at its junction with A12, probably the prettiest direction to view both Shasta and Shastina, and a great place to watch the sunset light show in late spring and summer.


A lovely view of Shasta and Shastina from the northwest, where FR 42N15 leaves US 97, taken just before 8pm. This road leads to the little-used Andesite / Black Lava trailhead. (click for double-size version)



Another lovely view of Shasta and Shastina from the north, where A12 leaves US 97, taken just after 8pm. The amazing smooth North Face of Shastina always looks so tempting, but the only reasonable way to get to it actually turns out to be up and over the summit of Shastina from the other side, and since it really does face due north, it will only soften in late afternoon on a day with high freezing levels and light winds. (click for double-size version)



A moderately zoomed version of the previous photo, showing the excellent coverage on the north side of Shasta, including the lovely Bolam Gully (dropping from the notch near the summit) and Hotlum-Bolam Ridge (angling up along the sun-shadow line) routes. Although access is quite easy to these routes from North Gate trailhead (unlike the north side of Shastina), the same issue causes problems for skiing them in practice: up high, they will only soften in late afternoon on a day with high freezing levels and light winds. The lower sections of the routes more often have nice corn conditions. (click for double-size version)


After sunset, it was time for a quick dinner at the Pizza Factory in Weed and then back up to Bunny Flat for another very chilly night of car camping.


May 12: Shastina, WSW Face and "Black Butte Gulch" via SW Face / Lightning Gully


The same photo shown above, with the lovely skiable line at left, descending almost straight down the fall line from the summit of Shastina for over 5000 vertical feet. (click for double-size version)


There's an excellent skiable line on Shastina which is readily visible from I-5, descending almost straight down the fall line from the summit of Shastina for over 5000 vertical feet, but not commonly skied since you have to skin back up quite a ways to get out from it (there's no reports online of it ever having been skied). The upper part of the line is on the smooth WSW Face of Shastina above 10000 ft, before dropping into a sinuous lower gulch not having any name on the map or in common usage, which continues snaking between adjacent lava flows to far below treeline, down to about 6600 ft, the lower portions kept free of heavy timber by occasional massive avalanches sweeping down the gulch from far above. It's located just to the south of Diller Canyon on the west side of Shastina, and in theory it could also be accessed from below using the same system of hideously overgrown brushy logging roads used to access the canyon (with great difficulty and peril to your vehicle), but much better access is available from Bunny Flat instead. I've been looking at this line for many years now, and it was my intended destination for this day, if fitness allowed me to do a second straight 7000+ ft day (summiting Shastina from Bunny Flat involves 5400 ft of ascent, plus however much skinning would be needed to exit up from that gulch back to Hidden Valley). I wasn't sure what to call it, but after having skied it, I'm going to call it "Black Butte Gulch", since it aims pretty much straight towards that prominent landmark lava dome complex located beside I-5, and you're heading towards it on most of the ski route.


Google Earth image from July 2010 (a very fat snow year in California), looking ENE from above Black Butte towards "Black Butte Gulch", Shastina, and Shasta. (click for double-size version)


Hybrid map combining a USFS topo map (= USGS topo - green vegetation color + more accurate forest road info/numbers) overlaid on a satellite image, centered partway down Black Butte Gulch:
http://caltopo.com/map.html#ll=41.39691,-122.24211&z=14&b=sat&o=f&n=0.5

The approach to Shastina via Hidden Valley involves traversing steep west-facing slopes near 9000 ft, which simply do not get sun or soften at all before mid-late morning. Another cold night with temps of 30 °F in the parking lot again left the snowpack frozen rock hard in the morning. An easy excuse to get a very late start, and while I delayed, I chatted with the 3 skiers I had crossed paths with near the summit the day before. Two of them needed a rest day, but one of them, Mike Bova, was eager to join me for Shastina, and I was glad to have some company instead of soloing again. It was 9:45am before we started skinning from the lot.


. . . in progress . . .





FORECAST FOR MOUNT SHASTA RECREATIONAL AREA
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MEDFORD, OR
246 AM PDT THU MAY 12 2016

...BECOMING WINDY AND MUCH COLDER FRIDAY NIGHT INTO SATURDAY WITH SOME SNOW ABOVE TREE LINE...

TODAY...SUNNY. HIGHS IN THE MID 60S TO LOWER 70S. SOUTH WINDS 10 TO 15 MPH.
TONIGHT...CLEAR. LOWS IN THE MID 40S TO LOWER 50S. SOUTH WINDS 10 TO 15 MPH.
FRIDAY...SUNNY IN THE MORNING THEN BECOMING PARTLY CLOUDY. HIGHS IN THE MID 60S TO LOWER 70S. SOUTH WINDS 10 TO 20 MPH.
FRIDAY NIGHT...PARTLY CLOUDY. SLIGHT CHANCE OF THUNDERSTORMS IN THE EVENING. LOWS IN THE LOWER TO MID 40S.
SATURDAY...COOLER. MOSTLY CLOUDY. CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN THE MORNING...THEN SHOWERS LIKELY AND SLIGHT CHANCE OF THUNDERSTORMS IN THE AFTERNOON AND EVENING. HIGHS IN THE LOWER 50S TO LOWER 60S. CHANCE OF PRECIPITATION 70 PERCENT.

EXTENDED...
SUNDAY...MOSTLY CLOUDY. SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS. LOWS IN THE 30S. HIGHS IN THE 50S.
MONDAY...PARTLY CLOUDY. SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN THE AFTERNOON AND EVENING. LOWS 35 TO 45. HIGHS 55 TO 65.
TUESDAY...PARTLY CLOUDY. SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS. LOWS 35 TO 45. HIGHS 55 TO 65.
WEDNESDAY...MOSTLY CLOUDY. SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS. LOWS 35 TO 45. HIGHS 55 TO 65.


TEMPERATURE (F) AND WIND (MPH) FORECAST

 ELEVATION    TODAY   TNGT    FRI    FRI NT   SAT

 6000 FEET     67      46      68      42      55
              S  6    S  8    S 12    S 12   SW  9

10000 FEET     42      40      40      31      31
             SW 16   SW 18    S 31    S 33   SW 22

14000 FEET     27      27      27      16      16
             SW 21   SW 26    S 33    S 43   SW 34

  SNOW LEVEL FORECAST

TODAY.......... 11600 FEET
TONIGHT........ 11700 FEET
FRIDAY......... 11100 FEET
FRIDAY NIGHT... 10500 FEET
SATURDAY....... 8600 FEET


Logged

Amar Andalkar
Member
Offline

Posts: 1201


WWW
Re: May 11-18, 2016, Shasta x2, Shastina x2, Lassen x2
« Reply #2 on: 05/27/16, 01:18 AM »

May 13: Lassen Peak, West Face Gully and NW side traverse via NE Face






May 14: Brokeoff Mountain, South Face via trail route







FORECAST FOR MOUNT SHASTA RECREATIONAL AREA
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MEDFORD, OR
205 AM PDT SAT MAY 14 2016

TODAY...PARTLY CLOUDY WITH A SLIGHT CHANCE OF THUNDERSTORMS THIS MORNING...THEN CLOUDY WITH RAIN SHOWERS AND SLIGHT CHANCE OF THUNDERSTORMS THIS AFTERNOON. HIGHS IN THE MID 40S TO LOWER 50S. SOUTH WINDS 10 TO 15 MPH. CHANCE OF PRECIPITATION 80 PERCENT.
TONIGHT...MOSTLY CLOUDY. RAIN SHOWERS AND SLIGHT CHANCE OF THUNDERSTORMS IN THE EVENING...THEN SLIGHT CHANCE OF RAIN SHOWERS AFTER MIDNIGHT. LOWS IN THE MID 30S. NORTHWEST WINDS 5 TO 10 MPH. CHANCE OF PRECIPITATION 80 PERCENT.
SUNDAY...MOSTLY CLOUDY WITH A 20 PERCENT CHANCE OF RAIN SHOWERS. HIGHS IN THE MID 40S TO MID 50S. NORTHWEST WINDS 5 TO 10 MPH.
SUNDAY NIGHT...PARTLY CLOUDY. LOWS IN THE MID 30S TO LOWER 40S.
MONDAY...PARTLY CLOUDY THEN BECOMING SUNNY IN THE AFTERNOON THEN BECOMING CLEAR. HIGHS IN THE MID 50S TO LOWER 60S.

EXTENDED...
TUESDAY...MOSTLY CLEAR. LOWS IN THE 40S. HIGHS IN THE 60S.
WEDNESDAY...PARTLY CLOUDY. SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS. LOWS 45 TO 55. HIGHS IN THE 60S.
THURSDAY...PARTLY CLOUDY. SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS. LOWS 35 TO 45. HIGHS IN THE 50S.
FRIDAY...MOSTLY CLOUDY. CHANCE OF RAIN AND SNOW SHOWERS. LOWS 35 TO 45. HIGHS 45 TO 55.


TEMPERATURE (F) AND WIND (MPH) FORECAST

 ELEVATION    TODAY   TNGT    SUN    SUN NT   MON

 6000 FEET     48      35      51      36      58
              S  8   NW  5   NW  5   NW 10    N  9

10000 FEET     29      26      29      29      36
             SW 19    W 11   NW 14    N 23    N 25

14000 FEET     14      13      19      19      27
             SW 28    W 20   NW 28    N 37    N 37

  SNOW LEVEL FORECAST

TODAY.......... 8300 FEET
TONIGHT........ 7800 FEET
SUNDAY......... 7500 FEET
SUNDAY NIGHT... 8100 FEET
MONDAY......... 8400 FEET



Logged

Amar Andalkar
Member
Offline

Posts: 1201


WWW
Re: May 11-18, 2016, Shasta x2, Shastina x2, Lassen x2
« Reply #3 on: 05/27/16, 01:19 AM »

May 15: Mount Shasta, Lower Cascade Gulch (from 9200 ft to 6500 ft






FORECAST FOR MOUNT SHASTA RECREATIONAL AREA
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MEDFORD, OR
352 AM PDT SUN MAY 15 2016

TODAY...MOSTLY CLOUDY WITH A SLIGHT CHANCE OF RAIN SHOWERS. HIGHS IN THE LOWER 50S TO LOWER 60S. NORTHWEST WINDS 5 TO 10 MPH.
TONIGHT...PARTLY CLOUDY. LOWS IN THE MID 30S TO LOWER 40S. NORTHWEST WINDS 10 TO 15 MPH.
MONDAY...PARTLY CLOUDY IN THE MORNING THEN CLEARING. HIGHS IN THE MID 50S TO MID 60S. NORTH WINDS 10 TO 15 MPH.
MONDAY NIGHT...MOSTLY CLEAR. LOWS IN THE LOWER TO MID 40S.
TUESDAY...MOSTLY CLEAR. HIGHS IN THE MID 60S TO LOWER 70S.

EXTENDED...
WEDNESDAY...PARTLY CLOUDY. SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN THE AFTERNOON AND EVENING. LOWS IN THE 40S. HIGHS 65 TO 75.
THURSDAY...PARTLY CLOUDY. SCATTERED SHOWERS. SCATTERED SNOW SHOWERS IN THE AFTERNOON AND EVENING. LOWS 35 TO 45. HIGHS IN THE 50S.
FRIDAY...CLOUDY. SCATTERED RAIN AND SNOW SHOWERS. LOWS 25 TO 35. HIGHS 45 TO 55.
SATURDAY...MOSTLY CLOUDY. SCATTERED RAIN AND SNOW SHOWERS...THEN SLIGHT CHANCE OF RAIN AND SNOW SHOWERS IN THE AFTERNOON AND EVENING. LOWS IN THE 30S. HIGHS 45 TO 55.


TEMPERATURE (F) AND WIND (MPH) FORECAST

 ELEVATION    TODAY   TNGT    MON    MON NT   TUE

 6000 FEET     53      38      58      42      68
             NW  5   NW  8    N  8    N 10   NE  8

10000 FEET     29      29      33      33      40
             NW 12    N 13    N 18    N 20   NE 22

14000 FEET     17      17      22      22      27
             NW 26    N 25    N 29    N 41   NE 35

  SNOW LEVEL FORECAST

TODAY.......... 7500 FEET
TONIGHT........ 8300 FEET
MONDAY......... 8300 FEET
MONDAY NIGHT... 9800 FEET
TUESDAY........ 10600 FEET



May 16: Lassen Peak, NE Face







FORECAST FOR MOUNT SHASTA RECREATIONAL AREA
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MEDFORD, OR
258 AM PDT MON MAY 16 2016

TODAY...PARTLY CLOUDY. HIGHS IN THE MID 50S TO LOWER 60S. NORTH WINDS 10 TO 15 MPH.
TONIGHT...MOSTLY CLEAR. LOWS AROUND 40. NORTH WINDS 10 TO 15 MPH.
TUESDAY...WARMER...SUNNY. HIGHS IN THE MID 60S TO LOWER 70S. NORTH WINDS 10 TO 15 MPH.
TUESDAY NIGHT...MOSTLY CLEAR. LOWS IN THE MID 40S TO LOWER 50S.
WEDNESDAY...SUNNY IN THE MORNING THEN BECOMING PARTLY CLOUDY. HIGHS IN THE MID 60S TO LOWER 70S.

EXTENDED...
THURSDAY...MOSTLY CLOUDY. CHANCE OF SHOWERS. CHANCE OF SNOW SHOWERS IN THE AFTERNOON AND EVENING. LOWS IN THE 30S. HIGHS 45 TO 55.
FRIDAY...MOSTLY CLOUDY. CHANCE OF RAIN AND SNOW SHOWERS. SLIGHT CHANCE OF THUNDERSTORMS IN THE AFTERNOON AND EVENING. LOWS 25 TO 35. HIGHS IN THE 40S.
SATURDAY...MOSTLY CLOUDY. CHANCE OF RAIN AND SNOW SHOWERS. LOWS 25 TO 35. HIGHS 45 TO 55.
SUNDAY...PARTLY CLOUDY. SLIGHT CHANCE OF SNOW SHOWERS. SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS. LOWS 25 TO 35. HIGHS IN THE 50S.


TEMPERATURE (F) AND WIND (MPH) FORECAST

 ELEVATION    TODAY   TNGT    TUE    TUE NT   WED

 6000 FEET     56      39      67      46      69
              N  9    N  9    N  9    N  7    N  4

10000 FEET     33      33      40      40      41
              N 21    N 19   NE 20   NE 10   NW 10

14000 FEET     23      23      28      25      29
              N 36    N 36   NE 31   NE 24   NW 17

  SNOW LEVEL FORECAST

TODAY........... 8100 FEET
TONIGHT......... 9500 FEET
TUESDAY......... 10900 FEET
TUESDAY NIGHT... 11100 FEET
WEDNESDAY....... 11000 FEET


Logged

Amar Andalkar
Member
Offline

Posts: 1201


WWW
Re: May 11-18, 2016, Shasta x2, Shastina x2, Lassen x2
« Reply #4 on: 05/27/16, 01:20 AM »

May 17: Shastina, WSW Face via Cascade Gulch







May 18: Mount Shasta, West Face via Avalanche Gulch







FORECAST FOR MOUNT SHASTA RECREATIONAL AREA
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MEDFORD, OR
305 AM PDT WED MAY 18 2016

TODAY...SUNNY. HIGHS IN THE LOWER TO MID 70S. NORTH WINDS AROUND 5 MPH SHIFTING TO THE WEST THIS AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT...PARTLY CLOUDY. A 20 PERCENT CHANCE OF SHOWERS AFTER MIDNIGHT. LOWS IN THE MID 30S TO LOWER 40S. NORTHWEST WINDS 10 TO 15 MPH.
THURSDAY...COOLER. PARTLY CLOUDY. A 20 PERCENT CHANCE OF RAIN SHOWERS IN THE AFTERNOON. HIGHS IN THE MID 40S TO MID 50S. NORTHWEST WINDS 10 TO 15 MPH.
THURSDAY NIGHT...MOSTLY CLOUDY. CHANCE OF RAIN AND SNOW SHOWERS IN THE EVENING...THEN RAIN AND SNOW SHOWERS LIKELY AFTER MIDNIGHT. LOWS AROUND 30. CHANCE OF PRECIPITATION 60 PERCENT.
FRIDAY...CHANCE OF SNOW SHOWERS IN THE MORNING...THEN SHOWERS... SNOW SHOWERS LIKELY AND SLIGHT CHANCE OF THUNDERSTORMS IN THE AFTERNOON AND EVENING. HIGHS IN THE LOWER 40S TO LOWER 50S. CHANCE OF PRECIPITATION 60 PERCENT.

EXTENDED...
SATURDAY...SHOWERS LIKELY. SNOW SHOWERS LIKELY. CHANCE OF SHOWERS AND SLIGHT CHANCE OF THUNDERSTORMS IN THE AFTERNOON AND EVENING. LOWS 25 TO 35. HIGHS IN THE 40S.
SUNDAY...MOSTLY CLOUDY. CHANCE OF RAIN AND SNOW SHOWERS. LOWS IN THE 30S. HIGHS 45 TO 55.
MONDAY...MOSTLY CLOUDY. CHANCE OF RAIN AND SNOW SHOWERS. SLIGHT CHANCE OF THUNDERSTORMS IN THE AFTERNOON AND EVENING. LOWS 35 TO 45. HIGHS 45 TO 55.
TUESDAY...MOSTLY CLOUDY. CHANCE OF SHOWERS. SLIGHT CHANCE OF THUNDERSTORMS IN THE AFTERNOON AND EVENING. LOWS 35 TO 45. HIGHS IN THE 50S.


TEMPERATURE (F) AND WIND (MPH) FORECAST

 ELEVATION    TODAY   TNGT    THU    THU NT   FRI

 6000 FEET     72      38      50      30      45
             NW  7   NW 10   NW 12   NW 15   NW  0

10000 FEET     46      32      32      17      22
             NW 15    W 22    W 16    W 13    N 15

14000 FEET     30      19      19      4       7
             NW 22    W 35    W 30    W 20    N  8

  SNOW LEVEL FORECAST

TODAY............ 11500 FEET
TONIGHT.......... 10500 FEET
THURSDAY......... 8000 FEET
THURSDAY NIGHT... 6000 FEET
FRIDAY........... 5000 FEET


Logged

tabski
Member
Offline

Posts: 246


Re: May 11-18, 2016, Shasta x2, Shastina x2, Lassen x2
« Reply #5 on: 05/27/16, 06:35 AM »

That's a mighty fine harvest.
Logged
shred
Member
Offline

Posts: 336


WWW
Re: May 11-18, 2016, Shasta x2, Shastina x2, Lassen x2
« Reply #6 on: 05/27/16, 10:36 AM »

Gluttonous, in fact. Nice, Gnarmar!
Logged
SkiinLou
5Member
Offline

Posts: 38


Re: May 11-18, 2016, Shasta x2, Shastina x2, Lassen x2
« Reply #7 on: 05/27/16, 02:40 PM »

Sent it, and killed it with the report and photos as usual.
Logged

"Okay, you see what he did there? He pizza'd when he should have french fried. Pizza when you should have french fried, you're gonna have a bad time".
- Wise dude in Aspen.
JimD
Member
Offline

Posts: 235


WWW
Re: May 11-18, 2016, Shasta x2, Shastina x2, Lassen x2
« Reply #8 on: 05/30/16, 09:47 AM »

Yowza! Goodonya Amar - you're an animal. I've gotta get back down there.
Logged
Telewoman
5Member
Offline

Posts: 31


WWW
Re: May 11-18, 2016, Shasta x2, Shastina x2, Lassen x2
« Reply #9 on: 05/30/16, 01:23 PM »

Awesome trip report and pictures.  We still have an excellent snowpack above 9,000 ft. It's starting to get pretty sun cupped down lower. Nice see you! Cool
Logged
cascademystic
5Member
Offline

Posts: 83


Re: May 11-18, 2016, Shasta x2, Shastina x2, Lassen x2
« Reply #10 on: 05/31/16, 07:30 AM »

well done. those west face gs turns! such a special line.
Logged
mikerolfs
Member
Offline

Posts: 796


WWW
Re: May 11-18, 2016, Shasta x2, Shastina x2, Lassen x2
« Reply #11 on: 05/31/16, 09:10 AM »

I missed your reports, Amar. Glad to see this one. What a trip! Amazing!
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.