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08-22-2017-Avalanche Gulch

Climbing Ranger

General Conditions on Dec 31, 1969

The Avalanche Gulch route is still seeing frequent use, but conditions have past their prime for the 2017 climbing season.  Weather conditions can change daily. It is up to you to be prepared. Rockfall has been very active, and it is important to time your exposure to this objective hazard appropriately. Check the web cam on our homepage to view the south and west sides of the mountain. A summit pass, wilderness permit and human waste packout bag(s) are required to climb Mt Shasta. Even if you don't plan on going to the summit, a summit pass is required above 10,000 feet. You can get them for self issue at the Bunny Flat trailhead and Mt Shasta Ranger Station. ($25 - 3 days, $30-annual, only availabe at ranger station and The 5th Season during business hours.)

Patchy snow cover exists on Mt Shasta at the 10,00ft level and above. Climbing conditions are fair to poor, and all climbers should take caution this time of year. The redbanks formation is almost completely free of snow and rockfall has been very common. A bergshrund has formed near the thumb formation, and climbing one of several snow/scree gullies on the right side of redbanks is the preferred route this time of year. Further, an ice axe, crampons and helmet are strongly advised. A slip and fall without immediate self arrest will result in a long slide for life. Do not take this lightly. Check the weather before you go. Many camping options exist. Water is available at Horse Camp only. Bring extra fuel to melt snow elsewhere. 

Glissading can be possible on select days. Overall however, glissading is not advised when snow surfaces are smooth, firm and icy. It is very difficult to control your speed and one can reach out of control speeds very quickly. If you do choose to try and glissade, take off your crampons and use proper technique!!! DO NOT glissade with crampons on, no matter what. Control your speed and take it slow.

CAMPING AT LAKE HELEN: PLEASE keep a clean camp...PACK OUT ALL micro trash, food scraps, coffee grounds, leftover pasta, you name it...please pack it out...Rangers take this VERY SERIOUSLY and so should you!  Thousands of climbers camp here annually and it takes each of us to keep it clean. If you love what the mountains give you, then show them respect by packing out EVERYTHING and LEAVE NO TRACE.  Keep it looking pristine for those that will visit after you, and for the preservation of WILDERNESS!  Secure your tent and belongings well when you leave for the summit. Wind, ravens and the resident pine marten will spread your gear far and wide if it is left out. If your stuff is zipped up and stowed away well within your tent, you shouldn't have a problem. We have not had any issues with critters chewing through tents to get into stored food.  SANITATION: Please urinate on the far EAST side of Lake Helen, AWAY from all camps. Use your pack-out bag over in this area as well. DO NOT urinate in the general camping area!  Snow must be melted for water and we recommend treating it one of three ways: iodine, boil, or filter. Water is running at the spring at Horse Camp and the toilets are currently OPEN.  Pack-out bags are mandatory for removing all solid human waste on the mountain.  Pack-out bags are available at Bunny Flat.