The Bolam Glacier route is an appropriate first glacier ascent for the aspiring alpinist. The relatively simple route allows the climber to concentrate on technique and the spectacular view rather than sweating complex navigation through crevasses and seracs. It offers great, natural lines that skirt around the glacier's two main bergschrunds.
Access this route from the Northgate trail head. A moderate half-day approach puts you along the glacier’s lower mass. Camp away from any potential rock fall collection areas.
Generally, there are two crevasses on this route; an upper and lower bergschrund. These are associated with the two main bodies of the glacier. The upper portion of the Bolam Glacier is steep enough to consider using a running belay for less confident climbers in the party. Its northwestern exposure keeps snow firm and rock fall low most of the morning.
Conditions vary dramatically with time of year and winter snowfall. Early season climbers may get to enjoy the bonus of a great ski/board descent. Take two days to enjoy this route.
Rangers have not been on the Bolam Glacier this year. Most glaciers on the mountain have a fresh coat of snow coverage from the wet October storms. That being said, winter like conditions will be found and any crevasses may be obscured. Consider any snow bridge to be weak and unstable. This glacier does not host much for an icefall and also does not have many crevasses. That said, don't let your guard down. As always, winter storms mean cold temps, high winds, and new snow. The Bolam Glacier is small and not often traveled. It offers peace and solitude and is another great route on Mt Shasta offering amazing views of Shastina and the Shasta Valley. Feel free to call the climbing rangers for specific questions. Many variations exist for this route.