Jul 31 2011

It’s Volcano Season!

More than many years in recent memory, this year there is an incredible season of the volcano going on. With record snowfall during the Ten-11 season there is still snow worth hiking for as the dog days of summer settle in. Nowhere is that more true than on the slopes of the Cascade Volcanoes, from Mt. Lassen north to Mt. Baker.

North side of Mt. Lassen, July 2011

On a recent trip to visit a friend who is waging an admirable battle with cancer the promise of cool relief from summer heat couldn’t have beckoned with any stronger pull. The road to his house took us past Mt. Lassen and Mt. Shasta. Though it was mid-July, the north side of Lassen looked as fat as it normally does in May.

Mt. Shasta and Shastina from NW on the I-5. 11july11

The only side of Shasta that looked cooked was the west and north western flanks of Shasta, especially on Shastina. Around the rest of Shasta’s circular skirt the snow looked solid all the way to treeline, from the North round the East to the South. Even with that much snow, the likelihood that sun cups had morphed into forests of neve penitente rendered the idea of good skiing a fantasy. But a call to another friend on the mountain revealed that, “no, conditions are still great from the east to north east.”

Need more motivation? Consider the fact that Mt. Shasta, is more than a mere volcano covered with snow. It’s a spiritual vortex and spending time on its flanks always turns into more than a climb or a tour, even more than mere adventure.

Rerun of Mt. Shasta, the Masta’ from Couloir X-4, Jan.’98.

© 2011