As I drove north back to Washington from my two weeks in the Sierras, I wanted to hit Shasta on the way. Years prior I had climbed Shasta with my younger brother, but I’d never skied it. Seemed like a perfect way to break up the drive.
I slept in the Bunny Flat parking lot, amongst many other climbers. Given that it was a Saturday and good weather, I knew it was going to be crowded. I started at 6 AM, figuring the 7,200′ climb would take me ~5 hours at a reasonable pace. As I began, I saw hoards of people ahead of me, many of them nearing the climb to the Red Bands.
The skinning was simple, firm, and easy. I listened to podcasts and tuned out the morning hours as I climbed up. I switched to crampons at Lake Helen and booted the rest of the way to the summit. I ended up passing most of the other people, who seemed to be waiting for corn’o’clock. I wanted to just get up-and-down, as I had a lot of driving left to do.
I reached the summit in 4hrs45mins. I quickly tagged the top, transitioned, and began the ski down. The summit was firm, Misery Hill was a mix of firm snow and rocks. On my way up, I spotted interesting looking chutes that entered the wide Avalanche Gulch. I figured these would be an interesting alternative to the low-angle, wide Avy Gulch. I had no idea what they were called, but figured they’d be neat.
Turns out they are called the ‘Trinity Chutes’. I saw another group waiting at the top of them, presumably waiting for them to soften. I didn’t waste time, dropped in and they were firm but edgeable.
Some fun jump turns through led me to Avy Gulch, where it was indeed corn’o’clock. Ripper corn back down to the car put me at a round trip of around 5.5 hours. Great solo mission as I drove back to WA.
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