Headed up north with Mark Chon (aka-snowblasta). We were looking forward to some suncup dodging on the last of the summer snow.
Still tons of snow. I haven’t seen this much snow on Shasta this late in the season before. The view from below on I-5 looked promising.
We drove up to Brewer Creek. Camped at the large open meadow about 5-10 minutes before the trailhead. The views are better down there.
The next day we drove up to the TH and started hiking. 180 steps up the trail brings you to ‘the gully’. There is a trail heading up the left side. Our headlamps cast an eerie glow that was just bright enough to see the trail…at times.
This is what Shasta usually looks like in June or July – if it was a normal year. This past winter was extraordinary and we were sneaking in one last run before winter sets in next week. It actually doesn’t look that much different from my last trip back in the beginning of August.
We hiked up to treeline and kept hiking. The classic snow patch at the bottom (around 8800′), which usually disappears was still there, but no skinning yet – too steep and firm. We stuck to hikers right, by the rocks and were able to keep our crampons in the pack.
The top of the first snowfield looked like it ended and didn’t connect so we kept hiking up through the rocks. One thousand feet later, we got to the the base of the permanent snowfield where we could finally put the skis to the snow.
What a relief! I’m not a big fan of hiking. Skinning is much more fun, especially skinning in September!
The hiking had been slow going, carrying the skis and all, but once the skis hit the snow and we were skinning, the next thousand feet seemed to fly by. The snow was still pretty firm. Only a thin layer of corn covered the sun cups. We were approaching 11,000′ and I could see evidence of the new snow from last weeks storm at the bottom of some of the sun cups.
Route-finding our way through the maze of deep cups, we pondered how we were going to ski this stuff. By noon, we were beat. The snow was even firmer up here and there was a stiff, cold breeze. Rock fall wasn’t happening. The mountain stood still in the wind.
The lower angle of the September sun shone on the mountain, but didn’t move a thing.
It was time to ski!
The snow skied better than expected. It was fun turning down through the maze of suncups. Nice firm corn.
We had one portage and then it was down the lower snow field to where the hike out began.
We refilled our water bottles at the drinking fountain.
The sand that we were cursing all the way up was our friend on the way down. Trying not to step on all the flowers, we hiked down and down.
Found the gully easily and on down to the Jeep. We had three days for this trip, so we were looking forward to kicking back after skiing and soaking in the views while savoring a few cold ones.
We didn’t last long. After sundown and dinner we faded to our tents and slept for 11 hours.
It was a nice change from the usual two day trip where I have to make the long drive all the way home the same day after skiing.
More photos on Jibmaster’s Flickr page.
Editor’s Note: You may recognize the photos and the trip report style but not the name. Brent is better known on the web as Jibmaster. I’m psyched to have him share his adventures here on EarnYourTurns.