Mt. Shasta Checklist
Preparation and training
My suggestions for pre-trip training:
- Lots of aerobic exercise
- Some hiking/climbing using the boots you're going to wear
- Some hiking/climbing carrying your backpack
with 20-40 pounds of weight in it.
The Avalanche Gulch route on
Shasta is fairly non-technical but you should know the following
(I can teach as needed):
- How to move up/down a steep slope with crampons and ice-axe
- Self-arrest from 4 positions
- How to glissade on a steep slope
- rest-step and pressure breathing
Drive from Bay Area to Mt. Shasta (about 5 hours).
Stay in motel or camp.
10 AM: done with breakfast.
Get permits, waste kits from ranger station.
Drive to Bunny Lake trailhead.
noon: on the trail.
Hike to Helen Lake.
This is roughly 4 miles with 4,000' vertical gain.
It takes about 4-5 hours, mostly dirt/rock path, some snow.
Pitch tents, melt snow, eat dinner, sleep.
4 AM: breakfast. Start climbing as soon as possible.
The summit is 2-3 miles with 4,000' vertical gain,
most of which is in one long snow slope.
It's moderately steep, and there's a short (40')
section of steeper snow (45 degrees) at one point.
Summit (est. 9 AM).
Return to Helen Lake, est. 11 AM.
Melt snow if needed.
Return to car (est. 4 PM).
Drive back to Bay area.
What to bring
Each person is responsible for ALL items not marked as 'optional';
these items are needed for basic safety.
Starred items (*) may be shared.
You must be prepared for sub-freezing cold, high wind, rain,
and 80-degree heat.
- polypropylene upper-body undergarment
(avoid cotton, except maybe underpants).
Fleece or wool layer for upper body.
Down parka and wind-resistant shell with hood
Balaclava. A warm knit hat is OK but doesn't protect your face.
(optional) wide-brim hat for sun
warm gloves (e.g. ski gloves). Optional: thinner gloves for camp.
fleece layer for legs
wind/water-resistant nylon pants
Lightweight nylon shorts (in case it's hot)
wool hiking socks, 2 pairs
Recommended: gaiters. Without them, you'll get
snow in your boots especially on glissade.
- * 1 dinner (freeze dried, or whatever you want)
- 1 breakfast (I eat 3 packets of instant oatmeal)
- trail snacks (I like Goo packets and Clif bars)
- 2 lunches (I just bring an extra clif bar)
- * gas stove
- * matches
- Water bottles (at least 2 qts).
Note: we'll melt snow for water at Helen Lake.
- * pans (for cooking and melting water)
- * dishes and utensils as needed
- * Tent: 3-season. Plastic tent pegs are preferable.
- sleeping pad (thermarest or similar)
- sleeping bag (20 deg or better).
- * (optional) trowel or shovel for leveling tent site
and burying tent pegs.
- Climbing gear
- Fairly stiff hiking boots or mountaineering boots
ADJUST AND TEST YOUR CRAMPONS BEFORE LEAVING HOME.
- Ice ax with optional wrist strap.
- NOTE: you can rent the above at Marmot Mountains works
or Any Mountain.
- * allen wrench for crampon adjustment
- (optional) trekking poles: these are useful for
reducing wear and tear on joints, and also for maintaining balance
in deep/mushy snow.
- (optional) Plastic climbing helmet.
Sometimes there is rockfall in Avalanche Gulch.
If we climb early enough we should miss it.
- Sunglasses, preferably with side-flaps (lots of UV at 14K')
- * sunscreen and SPF lip balm
- headlamp w/fresh batteries
- Human waste disposal kits (from Ranger station)
- toothbrush, contact lens stuff, sleeping pills, any other personal items
- (optional) extra toilet paper
- (optional) GPS: I have one
- (optional) Map: I have one
- (optional) Duct tape, moleskin or other materials for blisters.
- (optional) First-aid kit: I have a marginal one
- Packing materials
backpack big enough for everything.
LOAD YOUR PACK IN ADVANCE TO MAKE SURE EVERYTHING FITS.
- (optional) zip-loc plastic bags for delicate/small stuff.
Bring an extra for isolating garbage.
- (optional) plastic garbage bag for clothes
(handy if pack gets wet).
- (optional) I use a lightweight pack on summit day,
and it doubles as a sleeping-back stuff sack.