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Mount Shasta 14,179
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mini location map2017-08-20
17 by photographer avatararizona_water
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Mount Shasta 14,179Northern, CA
Northern, CA
Hiking avatar Aug 20 2017
Hiking12.29 Miles 7,680 AEG
Hiking12.29 Miles   12 Hrs   31 Mns   1.26 mph
7,680 ft AEG   2 Hrs   44 Mns Break
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I was visiting family in southern Oregon over the weekend and my sister and I decided to make a bid for the summit of Shasta. The peak is a dominant landmark, visible from most mountains in southern Oregon, and I had been contemplating this climb for many years. Avalanches occur fairly often and bad weather changes threaten to shutdown any trip. Luckily, we had good weather and I was able to make this my first 14k peak ascent.

Neither of us had trained for this. And I hadn't done any real cardio in over three weeks. I knew this would be challenging. We arrived at the Clear Creek TH at 11:30pm on Saturday night, woke up at 4:15am, and we were on the trail by 6:15am (breakfast and packing took awhile). The ascent took 8 hours, and the descent took 4. The views open up and become epic less than a mile into the trail. After three miles, the official Clear Creek trail ends and an unofficial mountaineer route begins. This unmaintained route is fairly obvious in the months of August and September, depending on snow. Either way, there are two mandatory glacier crossings. The first requires crampons or microspikes, a helmet, and an ice axe. The second glacier crossing is just below the summit, and is fairly flat.

The majority of the hike was a very steep climb through scree and volcanic sand. Each step only gained half of the intended distance as the volcanic ash and scree dragged us downward. The most difficult portion of the hike is approaching misery hill, where the mountaineer "trail" disappears. We arrived here at 1:00pm. Being the last ones of the day to arrive here, we hunted around the towering wall of rock in front of us, looking for a route. We finally broke through and bouldered our way up to the last 20 minutes of hiking up to the summit. The mountaineer trail reappeared, and quickly carried us to 14,179'.

Just below the true summit, there's an amazing sulfur hot spring. Geologists say that this is evidence that the volcano is still active (last eruption was in the 18th century). The smell of the sulfur was overwhelming, but this was a really interesting feature to witness.

We descended quickly and chose to glisade down the larger glacier that we had climbed earlier.

Smoke from forest fires in the area dominated the views on the horizon - from every direction. But I can't complain, because we had great weather on the summit. The smoke mostly stayed below 8,000ft.

Water is available at Clear Creek springs.

It's a powerful experience to witness the sunrise and the sunset on the same mountain in the same day. I feel a huge sense of accomplishment to have completed this. And my first 14er too!

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Clear Creek Heavy flow Heavy flow
Amazing spring and canyon

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Mud Creek Glacier 51-75% full 51-75% full
headwaters of mud creek (home of the 80ft mud creek falls)

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Sulphur Springs Quart per minute Quart per minute
poison haha ;)
- there's nothing like finding Water in the Desert -
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