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Routes in Mt. Shasta

Avalanche Gulch Mod. Snow
Casaval Ridge 4th 1 2 I 2 M 1b Mod. Snow
Green Butte Ridge
Hotlum Glacier Route AI1-2 Steep Snow
Hotlum-Bolam Ridge AI1-2
West Face Gully
Type: Snow, Alpine, 7000 ft, Grade III
FA: Captain E. D. Pearce, 1854
Page Views: 6,110 total, 59/month
Shared By: Zach S on Jun 17, 2009
Admins: Aron Quiter, Rick Shull, Lurker, Muscrat, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

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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.
Folks- I'm planning to try Mt.Shasta via Avalanche Gulch. This will be my first big hike. I have been active over years running 15 miles a week with mild weight training and stair climbers and other sports. So, I hope I'm physically ok. But, my biggest hurdle I think is my altitude/height problem. I'm generally not comfortable looking down steep cliffs or very tall buildings. But, I do reasonable slopes on smaller 2500-3000 ft hikes. Would this be a big problem?

What is the inclination or slope I could expect going up Avalanche Gulch? May 26, 2017
jon78  
Climbed Dec 28-29, 2016. Camped at Helen Lake. Cold camp, maybe 15 degrees and a little wind.

Good but very variable snow/ice conditions. Trail to Helen Lake was hard work in boots rather than skis/snowshoes. 10,000ft - 13,000ft was mix of hard crust, soft crust, all depths/firmness of wind slab, solid scoured snow. Fairly solid neve/rime/slab above 13,000ft.

Weather maybe 20 degrees on summit with moderate wind and no clouds. At 8am on a sunny winter day the sun hit the top cliffs and there was some fast ice/stonefall, especially the last 1500ft of AG. Scary when you are on your own. I can see why it's called Avalanche Gulch. I imagine lots of crap falling off those crumbly cliffs, rocks and boulders and ice. Some older snow avalanches evident, but a week+ old.

Magnificent mountain. So high above surrounding mountains. Had the whole upper section above AG to myself. A few footprints that were at least a few days old and could have been a couple weeks old. Plenty of people skiing lower down above the trailhead and up to the bowl above Helen Lake, maybe to 12,000ft.

You really have to watch the weather. I was lucky to get a good weather/conditions window for a winter ascent. Shasta sticks up into the atmosphere and the winds and temps are extreme. I was watching the mountain conditions for a few weeks before on shastaavalanche.org and talked to a Shasta ranger, Dan, in Shasta Town who gave me a lot of excellent info. Jan 9, 2017
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. Aug 14, 2016
jon bender
Minneapolis, Minnesota
 
jon bender   Minneapolis, Minnesota
 
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. May 25, 2016
Chris Blanchard
Anacortes, WA
Chris Blanchard   Anacortes, WA
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? May 7, 2013
Rick Shull
Arcata, CA & Dyer,NV
Rick Shull   Arcata, CA & Dyer,NV  
Thanks for the description, Matthias. May 23, 2012
Matthias Holladay
Shiprock, Navajolands
Matthias Holladay   Shiprock, Navajolands
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." May 17, 2012
J. Albers
Colorado
J. Albers   Colorado
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. May 7, 2012
Matthias Holladay
Shiprock, Navajolands
Matthias Holladay   Shiprock, Navajolands
FA: 1854, Captain E. D. Pearce. May 11, 2011
cool beans
Issaquah, WA
 
cool beans   Issaquah, WA
 
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. Aug 10, 2010
Colin Simon
Boulder, CO
 
Colin Simon   Boulder, CO
 
I know it's a straightforward route, but could you put up an actual description please? Jan 27, 2010
Ski up the ridge, down the gulch, it is wonderful. Oct 22, 2009