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Mt. Shasta
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Avalanche Gulch 
Casaval Ridge 
Green Butte Ridge 
Hotlum Glacier Route 
Hotlum-Bolam Ridge 
West Face Gully 

Avalanche Gulch 

   
Type:  Alpine, 7000', Grade III
Original: Mod. Snow [details]
FA: Captain E. D. Pearce, 1854
Season: May/June
Page Views: 4,539
Submitted By: Zach S on Jun 17, 2009

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (60)
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Great spring conditions

Description 

"From the hut follow Oberman's Causeway, a flat flagstone path, toward the peak. When it peters out, follow long, sinewy gullies to a flat area at 10,400 known as Lake Helen. Above lies the most strenuous section of the route-a 2,600 foot, 35 degree snowfield. At 12,000 stay right of a prominent island in the snow called the Heart. Above the Heart, don't ascend a steep slope leading up and left, but rather head toward the right edge of the striking red cliffs known as the Red Banks. From the top of the Banks walk up gentle but arduous scree slopes and ridges to the summit plateau at 14,000. Various portions of this last 1,500 feet bear names such as Heartbreak Ridge, Desperation Ridge, and Misery Hill. The rock pinnacle across and to the right of the plateau is the summit and is climbed via talus slopes and short scrambles on its west side."

Location 

South-southwest side of Mount Shasta.

Protection 

None to snow climbing gear to other, depending on season and circumstances.


Photos of Avalanche Gulch Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: avalanche gulch from the treeline.  not in sight -...
avalanche gulch from the treeline. not in sight -...
Rock Climbing Photo: YIP
YIP
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down towards Lake Helen from the Red Banks...
Looking down towards Lake Helen from the Red Banks...
Rock Climbing Photo: skiing down avalanche gulch (mt shasta, CA)
skiing down avalanche gulch (mt shasta, CA)
Rock Climbing Photo: From the Helen Lake base camp you shoot straight u...
BETA PHOTO: From the Helen Lake base camp you shoot straight u...
Rock Climbing Photo: Headed up the Avalanche Gulch Route at day break. ...
Headed up the Avalanche Gulch Route at day break. ...
Rock Climbing Photo: matt on misery hill
matt on misery hill
Rock Climbing Photo: Great conditions on Shasta
Great conditions on Shasta
Rock Climbing Photo: Nearing the summit of Mt. Shasta via the Avalanche...
Nearing the summit of Mt. Shasta via the Avalanche...
Rock Climbing Photo: Again, if you follow the glisade line from the bas...
BETA PHOTO: Again, if you follow the glisade line from the bas...

Comments on Avalanche Gulch Add Comment
Show which comments
By Forestvonsinkafinger
From: Iowa
Oct 22, 2009

Ski up the ridge, down the gulch, it is wonderful.
By Colin Simon
From: Boulder, CO
Jan 27, 2010

I know it's a straightforward route, but could you put up an actual description please?
By cool beans
From: Tucson, AZ
Aug 10, 2010

My friend and I climbed this route 8-7-10, started @700, peaked at 1130. The gulch was heavily suncupped, once past that it was bare to the peak, save a couple flat snowfields. I used trekking poles and crampons. Luge sized glissade on the way down! No issues with rock fall either.
By Matthias Holladay
From: Durango, Colorado
May 11, 2011

FA: 1854, Captain E. D. Pearce.
By J. Albers
From: Colorado
May 7, 2012

I agree with Colin, either the author of this page needs to add a description or one of the mods should transfer ownership to someone who has done this route so that I useful description can be added. This is the most common route on the mountain to climb, and it is a shame that there are no details. I would volunteer, but I have only done the west face route.
By Matthias Holladay
From: Durango, Colorado
May 17, 2012

OK, I'll do it and a big thanks to Steve Roper!

"From the hut follow Oberman's Causeway, a flat flagstone path, toward the peak. When it peters out, follow long, sinewy gullies to a flat area at 10,400 known as Lake Helen. Above lies the most strenuous section of the route-a 2,600 foot, 35 degree snowfield. At 12,000 stay right of a prominent island in the snow called the Heart. Above the Heart, don't ascend a steep slope leading up and left, but rather head toward the right edge of the striking red cliffs known as the Red Banks. From the top of the Banks walk up gentle but arduous scree slopes and ridges to the summit plateau at 14,000. Various portions of this last 1,500 feet bear names such as Heartbreak Ridge, Desperation Ridge, and Misery Hill. The rock pinnacle across and to the right of the plateau is the summit and is climbed via talus slopes and short scrambles on its west side."
By Rick Shull
Administrator
From: Arcata, CA & Dyer,NV
May 23, 2012

Thanks for the description, Matthias.
By Chris Blanchard
May 7, 2013

My buddy and I want to ski the route in a week or two. But it's hard to find conditions for skiers. The snow in most pictures looks wind blown and icy - is that the case most of the time and you have to have the right conditions for skiing? Or is it deceiving in the pictures and the gulch will be skiable somewhere at least?
By jon bender
From: Minneapolis, Minnesota
May 25, 2016

Climbed 5/18/16. Started @ bunny flat trailhead for easy parking and never got lost. ~3000 ft of glissading on the way down was awesome. Especially through the lower gulch.
By Rachel Freeman
Aug 14, 2016

Hey, anyone have experience climbing this towards the end of August? Also, looking to connect with others who want to climb it. I have a decent amount of hiking, backpacking, climbing and some mountaineering experience. As it would be my first time on this mountain I am thinking to do Avalanche Gulch.

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