Near perfect conditions June 2-3 allowed us to summit Mt Shasta in northern California . At 14162 feet/4316 metres, it is a big mountain: the second highest mountain in the Cascade Range after Mt Rainier and the largest stratavolcano in the Cascades. But with that mass of rock, ice, and snow comes amazing beauty - I now know why the explorer and conservationist John Muir climbed this mountain a number of times. While Shasta has several glaciers, we took the popular Avalanche Gulch route which is glacier-free so only needed helmet, ice axe and crampons. I found it similar to Mt Adams/South Spur (though much steeper and for long sections so need to be very competent with crampon technique and self-arrest), but less technical (and a longer slog) than Mt Hood. While it was windy and cold for us, one of our group who tried to summit it a few years ago on the same weekend encountered 90 degrees Fahrenheit temperatures - so you can expect just about anything in terms of weather though this is reputedly the best time of year to climb.
Day 1: 12-hour drive to Mt Shasta City from Vancouver.
Day 2: $25 for climbing permit at Ranger Station in town and then 30 min drive to Bunny Flats TH (toilet, free parking, no snow on paved road). 4-hours from Bunny Flats TH to Helen Lake which is at 3196m/10,485 ft (5 km, 1085m elevation gain; snow all the way from the TH, did not need snowshoes or crampons for this section). No toilets after the trailhead and you must pack-out our poop and tp (free kits available at ranger station) - a bit of a privacy area dug into the snow at Helen Lake. Great views of Lassen Peak from base camp which was quite busy (no doubt even busier for Sat-Sun climbs).
Day 3: Due to chance of thundershowers in the afternoon (which did not materialize) and wanting firm snow we left camp at 1:30 AM, climbed 2400 ft at about 30-35 degrees to reach and cross the bergschrund to the left of Thumb Rock at 4:30 AM (12,800 ft point), then sunrise hit us as we climbed the aptly named Misery Hill. The bergschrund may not be crossable soon in which case there are reportedly options further left of Thumb Rock through chimney's in Red Rocks. Summited at 7:00 AM and then back at camp at 10:00 AM. From Thumb Rock to camp you can glissade, but it was still too icy so we hiked down most of the way until the snow softened up. 90 minutes from camp to TH thanks to glissading 2000ft.
That's some awesome sunrise you got. I also did a 4-day (solo) trip to Mt. Shasta a few weeks ago albeit with a much more intense schedule..
Day 1: Vancouver to Bunny Flat TH.
Day 2: Start at 6:15 am. 4 hours 40 minutes from car to the summit Mt. Shasta via A. Gulch. Snowshoe all the way to within 50 m to the top. Then traverse/descended Whitney Glacier and bagged Shastina, then down C. Gulch in 9.5 hours RT. Then drive to Redding, CA, had some dinner then drove another 1.5 hours into Lassen Park.
Day 3: Climbed Lassen Peak via the huge NE Face (40-degree snow climb), back down. Drove to Redding for lunch, then drove to Klamath Falls for dinner, then drove all the way to the south rim of Crater Lake.
Day 4: Snowshoe'd up The Watchman along the west rim of Crater Lake. Back down, more tourist thing at the lake, then drove northwards into the state of Washington. Hiked up Beacon Rock in Columbia River Gorge and then pushed all the way back home by midnight... 5 peaks in 4 days, not bad.
In July 2001, I tried to summit Mt Shasta in 24 hours from Vancouver, solo. I left N Van at noon and got to the parking lot at 3:30 a.m. I started hiking immediately. I tried to nap at the camp (10k '), but couldn't fall asleep, so after 30 min I continued. All was going well until about 12k' when the headache began, probably exacerbated by lack of sleep.
At 13,800 feet, at about noon, I reached the point where the terrain levels off for half a k before rising gently for the last 300' of vertical. On that flat snowy surface, I could not walk a straight line, kept falling down and my headache was so bad it felt like there was an axe blade buried in my skull. Those are all symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness. Though there were many people around, I was solo and did not want to cause a rescue if the symptoms worsened and I became debilitated. The decision to turn around was easy.
I glissaded 3,000 feet in minutes and with my headache gone, I bounded down the rest of the way to my car.