While growing up in southern Oregon, Mt. Shasta (located in Northern California, near the Oregon border) loomed large and prominently in the distance south of my hometown. But curiously, the thought never entered my mind that people regularly climbed this towering presence until my sister, Karen, trained, then successfully reached it’s 14,179′ summit in July of 2014.
Ever since she shared the experience of her adventure, I’ve had a desire to climb this mountain that’s been a backdrop to my teenage years. So… during my annual summer trip to Oregon to visit family, friends, and enjoy some rafting on the Rouge River, I will also carve out some time to make my own summit attempt. I won’t be attempting this alone, though, since Karen, my brother Ron (who successfully summited in 2015), and my other brother, Alan, will be joining me on the adventure!
This is no easy feat, so to increase the odds for an enjoyable (and what I hope is an ultimately successful summit bid), I am doing what I can to prepare myself both physically and mentally for the challenge ahead. The physical part is pretty routine, essentially comprised of regular workouts at the gym, to include one of the most important exercises, the stair-climber machine. Additionally, I plan to incorporate several long hikes in and around Shenandoah National Park that feature strenuous climbs. This routine prepared me well for the Everest Base Camp trip in April 2018, so I am confident it will suffice for Mt. Shasta.
The other preparation comes in studying and planning so I have no surprises when it comes to the main event. The route I plan to climb is Avalanche Gulch, which does not require technical mountaineering skills and generally offers enough snowpack well into July to avoid having to navigate steep sections on loose scree or volcanic ash.
Since much of the climb is expected to be on snowpack, we will need to rent some essential gear from a local outfitter (crampons, ice axe, helmet), and pay close attention to the weather, snow, and avalanche conditions on the mountain to determine the optimum and safest day to make our attempt.
I look forward to sharing this adventure with my 8 followers!