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Mt. Shasta
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Avalanche Gulch 
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Avalanche Gulch 

Mod. Snow

   
Type:  Snow, Alpine, 7000', Grade III
FA: 
Season: May/June
Page Views: 3,013
Submitted By: Zach S on Jun 17, 2009

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (40)
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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."


Photos of Avalanche Gulch Slideshow Add Photo
skiing down avalanche gulch (mt shasta, CA)
skiing down avalanche gulch (mt shasta, CA)
From the Helen Lake base camp you shoot straight up the center following the glisade line.  If you traverse right or left of the glisade line, you are off route.
BETA PHOTO: From the Helen Lake base camp you shoot straight u...
Headed up the Avalanche Gulch Route at day break.  Started around 4am.
Headed up the Avalanche Gulch Route at day break. ...
Again, if you follow the glisade line from the base camp, you cant miss which opening to take when you reach the Red Banks.
BETA PHOTO: Again, if you follow the glisade line from the bas...
Looking down towards Lake Helen from the Red Banks.  Unknown climbers descending...
Looking down towards Lake Helen from the Red Banks...
Nearing the summit of Mt. Shasta via the Avalanche Gulch.  May 2009
Nearing the summit of Mt. Shasta via the Avalanche...
YIP
YIP

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 egrove11
Sep 10, 2011

Are there glaciers on this route or is it strictly snow?
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?