June 24-25, 1995
Due to poor weather and two feet of new snow, I postponed this trip a week. Unfortunately, that meant several climbers had to cancel. On the bright side, the weather and conditions were much better the following weekend. In fact, other than slushy snow on the lowest part of the climb, conditions were close to ideal.
We left Eugene at 7 am Saturday and arrived in Mt. Shasta City at well before noon. We feasted at the Bagel Cafe, where we were surrounded by the mellow and cosmic counterculture that comes from everywhere to worship Mt. Shasta. (I guess we picked up some of their accumulated good karma, because we had an extremely successful climb!) After a quick stop at the Ranger Station to pick up our permit, we drove up to Bunny Flats at 6,900 ft. By 2:15 pm we were loaded up and on the trail. It was sunny, but not hot — there was even a mild breeze. A little more than three hours later we stopped and set up our base at about 9,600 ft. With ample daylight before sunset, we melted snow, cooked dinners, packed our summit bags and re-tested our crampons so as to have as little hassle as possible on our ascent. We then got our four-hour sleep, got up at 1 am to a full sky of stars (including some falling ones).
By 2 am we were in motion — definitely the early birds of the mountain. We made fast but steady progress towards the Red Banks (at 13,000 ft.) and were all there before 7 am (except for one in the group who had turned back to base camp early on due to an upset stomach). At this point, everyone finished the final 1,162 ft. at his own pace and we all arrived at the summit between 8 and 9 am. It was uncharacteristically windless on top, and so we took full advantage of it to relax and enjoy the views.
The descent was fast and we all felt glad of our early start when we saw the masses of exhausted climbers making their ascents in the full sun with the snow softening to slush by the minute. With a quick stop to break camp, we were back at the cars by about 2:30 pm — leaving us plenty of time to revisit the Bagel Cafe and replenish some of the many calories we had expended. By sunset we were back in Eugene … amazing what you can pack into a part of a weekend! Joining me (Bill Montgomery) were Kohei Hatta and first time summiters Jack Barnett, Steve Goins, Ian Ives, Chris Miller, Pete Suttmeier and Harold Thompson (co-leader).