“ABOVE the timberline on Mount Shasta, somewhere near 10,500 feet, my tent decided to take flight.”
Thus begins my story in today’s New York Times about a climb I did last month in northern California on the 14,162-foot stratovolcano of Mount Shasta. (See here for a nifty audio slideshow highlighting the climb.)
For experienced mountaineers, most routes up Shasta are only moderately difficult, with bowls, faces and snowfields flanking the peak, never tipping steeper than an expert ski run. Its high altitude poses dangers of exposure, oxygen deprivation and fatigue. But climbs on Shasta are straightforward, and its long snaking glaciers are easy to avoid.
When my friend, the photographer T. C. Worley, and I drove to Mount Shasta at the beginning of May, our plan was to snowshoe up to camp at 10,400 feet near Helen Lake the first night.
We’d don headlamps for a 4 o’clock start the next morning, trading snowshoes for crampons on our boots to kick the remaining 3,700 feet to the top, summiting just after sunrise.
But things don’t always go as planned, especially in mountaineering, where weather can play the ultimate trump card on any trip.
Indeed, this story turned into a saga on ice tornadoes, the jet stream, an avalanche and, well, not quite making it to the top of the mountain.
A cool trip, nonetheless. Plus, now I have quite a good excuse to soon go back!
Here’s the link to the full story in NYT: http://travel.nytimes.com