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General Conditions on Dec 31, 1969
The West Face via Hidden Valley (HV) is currently in great shape for climbing. That said, a winter climb of Mt Shasta is a serious endevour. Extreme wind and cold temperatures, avalanche danger, rime ice and very firm and smooth snow surface condtions up the ante considerably. An avalanche beacon, shovel and probe (and a partner) with the knowledge of how to use said equipment is strongly advised. Further, an ice axe, crampons and helmet is also strongly advised. A slip and fall without immediate self arrest will result in a long slide for life. Do not take this lightly.
It can get VERY windy in Hidden Valley. Anchor your tent well. Smooth and firm conditions exist on the mountain and the West Face gets hammered by the wind. Icy conditions are not uncommon and strong ice axe and crampons skills are mandatory for safe travel. Watch out for falling rime ice.
Shastina is also accessed from Hidden Valley. Numerous options exist for climbing Shastina and the same hazards apply.
The West Face Route tops out near the bottom of Misery Hill, commonly referred to as the "Upper Mountain." During white out conditions it can be very difficult to find the descent route to the top of the West Face. This has caused numerous search and rescue incidents. It's very easy to wander off the WRONG side of the mountain. The Whitney Glacier and many other routes all converge near Misery Hill and the Summit Plateau. You may quickly find yourself in glaciered terrain which is not a good situation if you are not prepared. Pay attention, don't climb into a white out, know your route, and turn around before conditions worsen.
If you have more questions, give us a call or stop by the ranger station.