Avalanche Gulch Image

Mount Shasta

From the standard Avalanche Gulch route on the southwest side to the difficult Whitney Glacier route on the northwest, Mount Shasta offers some of the best and most diverse mountaineering in northern California. Most adventures on the mountain begin at the Bunny Flats Trailhead. The road to Bunny Flats is open year round allowing easy access for ski mountaineering and exploration. The main route from Bunny Flats, the Avalanche Gulch route, is the most popular route on the mountain. This is mainly due to the lack of crevasses and technical terrain on the climb. It should be noted that an early start is critical on this route. As the day heats up, rock fall on this route dramatically increases. Even with an early start, helmets, as always, are necessary!

Because of Mount Shasta's size and prominence in the surrounding landscape, the mountain ends up shifting the local wind patterns and literally creating its own weather. Mt Shasta can often be seen with lenticular clouds hovering at or above it's summit. While from a distance they are beautiful, lenticulars are a great sign that there are high winds and possibly low visability at the summit. Also, with Mount Shasta's slopes and height, avalanches are prevalent on the mountain. During avalanche season, the Mount Shasta Avalanche Center provides detailed avalanche forecasts for the mountain every weekend. Always check the weather and avalanche forecasts before heading out for a climb!

Distance & Elevation

5.5 miles & 7,249ft from Bunny Flats via Avalanche Gulch.

Terrain

Avalanche Gulch Image

Located at the southern end of the Cascades, Mount Shasta rises to 14,179 ft. This makes it the second highest peak in the Cascades and the fifth highest in California. Mt. Shasta is also a glaciated peak with seven named glaciers on its flanks. Rising almost 10,000 ft above the surrounding landscape, it is the most voluminous stratovolcano in the Cascade Volcanic Arc with an estimated volume of 85 cubic miles.

Directions & Map:

Recommended Equipment

Having the right gear can make or break a trip, especially if something bad happens. Below is a general overview of the gear needed for climbing this mountain in winter. This is our standard mountaineering gear list that is often added to or subtracted from. Make sure to adjust this list based on which season it is, which route you are doing, your strategy for climbing the route, the strength and experience of your group, and what the weather will be like during the climb. An easy way to remember what to pack is to break it down into groups of gear you need to have for the climb. See below, and please contact us if you have any questions whatsoever!

Food & Water

For water, 2L-3L per person per day is recommended just for drinking. Snow can be a great source of water on the mountain as long as you're careful about it and have the means to melt enough of it. Collect only clean looking white snow. We all know not to use the yellow snow but also don't use the red/pink snow. It is a type of algae that will do a number on your stomach.

As for food, several small snacks throughout the day are recommended. Big meals are fun but bog you down. Save the big meals for camp. Small snacks allow for a continual flow of energy to your body. For your snacks, try to balance sugars, fats, proteins, and carbs so your body is continually fueled. This helps reduce crashes in energy during the day.

Additional Info

Resources & Links

Weather

Click Here for the NOAA weather forcast for this area.

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Video

Activities