Mt Shasta

June 16-17, 1984

The trip started innocently enough—everyone cruised by Easy Street (actually located just outside Yreka) on the way to Mt Shasta. However, before reaching camp for the night, all members “carbed-up” at Mike and Tony’s Restaurant in Mt Shasta City. With a name like that, you know there’s plenty of pasta to be had.

After much high-level negotiation, we decided to get up at 3 a.m. and hit the trail. After the usual early morning grumbling (“What are we doing up at 3 a.m.?”), the group struck out from Bunny Flats up the main avalanche gully. Our original plan to climb from Panther Meadow (about 800 feet higher) was aborted due to road closure. This elevation difference is important since Bunny Flat is at approximately 6800 feet and we were climbing to a little over 14,000 feet.

The weather was ideal and so was the companionship. Everyone helped each other during the whole climb. The route up to Lake Helen (10,500 feet) was straight forward (but up!) and we made it in good time. Then all put on crampons for the relatively steep section leading to the top of the Red Banks. As we started from Lake Helen, the sun came out from behind the ridge and the sunblock went on. While we all wished for a chair lift, we made good progress up to the top of the Red Banks (12,000 feet) and took a rest.

Then, on to Misery Ridge. It’s hard to believe, but there is still 2000 feet of climbing after Red Banks. All negotiated Misery very well and it was on to Heartbreak Hill. The group was in good shape up Heartbreak, but everybody was “hitting the wall” due to the thin air.

The leader had carefully described the climb beforehand, but he had mysteriously left out the detail on the last hundred feet. So, when we reached the top of Heartbreak there was a chorus of groans—the last hundred feet looked imposing because the pinnacle was covered with rime ice. But, “Never fear!” said the intrepid leader, there is an easy route up the north side. With only a little more friendly groaning, all made the summit.

Cloud build-up made a fast retreat important and provided even more reason to glissade the whole route. The leader had promised the longest glissades ever experienced and all were well satisfied. Hoots, hollers, and smiling faces characterized the ride down. For some reason, we were to get back to the cars in one-fourth the time it took to climb the mountain (of course, since everyone was soaking wet from the glissading, there was an added incentive to hustle). Back at the cars, we all agreed that it had been a fine day (but there weren’t any volunteers to repeat the climb in a week). We all agreed that one 7400 foot climb a summer is enough. Thanks to a wonderful group of climbers: Rick Ahrens, Tim Cook, Janet Baker Jacobsen, John Jacobsen, Ed Lichtenstein, and leaders Mike Nichol & Shirlynn Spacapan.


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