Mt. Shasta (?)

May 26-28, 1979

Shasta is a beautiful climb. Memorial Day weekend will usually find this mountain crowded with climbers from the Bay Area and a troop or two of Mazamas. From the summit you can see Lassen and the South Cascades. You begin to slow down a bit at 11,000', but the climbing is not technical and the glissade you get on the descent is well worth the effort. Now that you know a little about Mt. Shasta, which we decided not to climb because of the gas situation (mine or yours?), let me tell you about the climb we really did.

Mt. Everest is not really as high as it looks and neither is St. Helens. We lifted our bodies out of our sleeping bags at 3:00 a.m. in the midst of a minor snow storm. Moving rapidly we left camp at 4:40 and headed up the mountain. A blistering pace was set by the members of the Polish women’s climbing team. Just below the Dog’s Head, Bert Ewing got hypothermia, beri-beri and an upset stomach so he decided to wimp out and return to camp. We proceeded to crampon up the treacherous slopes of the Dog’s Head (front pointing was not necessary). Roping up we proceeded in teams of three to ascend the steepening slopes and finally . . . the weather got better. With views of Mt. Hood off to the east we quickened our pace. Up, up, up, up, up, (it’s a long way you know), and finally the clouds parted, the rays of the sun burst through, the birds sang, we heard divine voices and we arrived several hundred feet below the summit. Since the summit of St. Helens is a bit like kissing your sister and there was a bit of a whiteout and strong wind, we decided to forget the last few feet and call it a day. On the descent we avoided the many hidden crevasses (hidden if you suffered from tunnel vision). With the group safely back at the base of the Dog’s Head, the Polish women’s climbing team decided they didn’t need a leader any longer and they blasted off. Methodically coiling the ropes, I finally caught up to them, passed them with a blistering glissade and hiked back to camp. Back at camp we went through some little known Obsidian rites of climbing and left for Eugene.

Members of the group were Chris Wolters, Emilie Thompson, Nancy White, Susan (First Climb) Arreola, Jack “Nepal” Nitzel, Ray Mitchell, Tim Cook, Bert “The Wimp” Ewing, and Commodore Sam Miller, leader.


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