Mt. Shasta with Jeremy Jones and Friends

Last week I got a phone call from Chad at Jones Snowboards saying that Jeremy was putting together a crew to climb and splitboard Mt. Shasta and he wanted to know if Tyler and I would like to join. My immediate reply was, “Ummm… YES! When are we going!”

Plans were hastily made and on Wednesday Chad, Josh, Russell, Byron, Tyler and I packed up my truck with splitboards and gear and hit the road for Mt. Shasta. The drive down for us was a long 9 hours or so. Josh blessed us with some amazing renditions of Madonna’s Material Girl and other 80’s hits. Needless to say we were happy when Shasta came into view.

We arrived around 5 pm and met up with Lucas Debari, Kael Martin and Matt Baker for dinner. Lucas and Kael headed down Tuesday arriving in Shasta early Wednesday where a few locals educated them on aliens, crystals and what lies ahead in 2012. Apparently Mt. Shasta is hollow and is a vortex or wormhole thing to another universe and crystals that can be found on Mt. Shasta hide the secret to what will happen in 2012. I’m skeptical…

After dinner we headed up to Bunny Flat to set up camp. Jeremy, Ralph, Seth, Alison, and Jason arrived around mid-night well after I had gone to bed. We woke up at 2:00 am and started climbing around 3:00 am I’m not sure how the California crowd were able to climb so fast on 2 hours of sleep.

Getting going at 3:00 am is an odd feeling. We went a really long way before the sun came up. By 6:00 am we were at Lake Helen. The morning was surprisingly warm with a light breeze that felt tropical. Clouds covered the top of Mt. Shasta, so we were a little concerned with visibility.

The fast part of our crew look like ants in the distance as they approach Lake Helen.

We regrouped, ate and re-hydrated for the push to the summit. I was feeling much better than I thought I would with the early start and lack of sleep.

Showing Jeremy and Ralph the latest version of our splitboard bindings.

After the short break we put our splitboards back on and continued the long slog up Avalanche Gulch. Russell and Jeremy lead the way.

The sun started to peak over ridge and light up the Trinity Chutes. Our path to the top went right and up to the Thumb which is in the upper right of the photo below.

At this point we got up above 12,000 ft and I started to feel the elevation. I gladly took up my position at the back of the group and continued to staircase to the top. We were actually able to skin with crampons on our splitboards within about 500ft from the Thumb. At that point it got too steep and we continued the rest of the way in the well trod boot pack. When I made it up to the Thumb the rest of the group was already on their way up Misery Hill.

After a quick bit of food and water Tyler and I headed out after the rest of the group. Looking back at the Thumb. Lucas was getting ready to drop in as he had a blister that prevented him from going any further.

The view down Avalanche Gulch from about 13,000 ft.

Tyler heading for the false summit.

Almost to the top.

The rest of the group just about to summit.

The last bit of the climb was the worst. The summit seemed so close, yet every step took way more energy than expected. Finally we made it to the summit. Ralph waving as we climbed the last steps.

The summit log.

Jeremy, Kael, and Ralph on the summit of Mt. Shasta.

Finally after the long morning of climbing we got to ride down.

Jason and Jeremy discussing their route down.

Most of the group dropped a Southwest facing aspect. Tyler and I decided to ride the Trinity Chutes as the others were doing a line that required another climb and our legs were tired of climbing.

Jason leading most of the group down their route.

We met up with Ralph, Kael, and Alison for our ride down the Trinity Chutes. The clouds came in again as we got to the top of the Trinity Chutes, so we had to wait for them to clear.

Finally the clouds cleared and Kael dropped first with a nice heelside slasher.

Ralph dropped next.

I dropped in just left of Ralph on a fun rock dodging line.

The snow was about six inches of fast slush. I was hoping for a nice corn run, but the warm temps didn’t allow for it. My legs really started to feel it once we made it back down to Horse Camp. The rest of the ride was sun cupped and dirty. We walked back into Bunny Flat and waited for the rest of the group to get back to the cars. After everyone was down we talked about the day and drank some beers

Our boards resting on the tailgate of my truck.

For dinner we hit up The Goat for some burgers. Afterwards, Jason took us to a nice riverside campsite with a view of Shasta.

Lucas showing Tyler his Rome Splitboard.

The sun setting on Mt. Shasta.

Friday morning we sat around and talked about gear for a while and then hit the road. The drive home was another long slog. We decided to see how many Radiohead albums it takes to drive home. With a little traffic through Portland, it takes 9 Radiohead albums and one Amy Poehler Sarah Palin rap song to drive from Mt. Shasta to Seattle. This trip was really amazing. I feel really lucky to have been invited to climb and ride Shasta with a great group of people.