My sister Nicole came out to visit last weekend and was interested in backcountry skiing and kayaking. She lives in Colorado and with their complicated avalanche conditions, she hasn’t ever gone backcountry skiing. I decided what better mountain to ski on your 1st backcountry trip than Shasta? So, we drove up there Friday afternoon and set up a little camp at Fowlers Camp near McCloud.
The waterfalls were raging:
We woke up early to start hiking at 4:30 AM. The best way to access Shasta that weekend was from the Bunny Flat Trailhead at about elevation 6,800′. The top of Shasta is almost 14,200′. Nicole killed it on the hike – apparently she’s pretty athletic. Who knew?
We cranked up the mountain and were at 12,800′ at 9:30 am…. seriously.
We took a little food break and then continued up, but the visibility and winds were pretty bad. Our plan was to hike via Avalanche Gulch, but ski West Face Gully. We started traversing over to West Face among a cloud and straight into the wind and I couldn’t see 4 feet in front of me! Change of plan – we took off our skins and skied back the way we came knowing that it would be safer. Here is a photo that shows some of the remarkable visibility:
Luckily, the snow turned to super nice corn right around 13,000 feet and it was fabulous skiing for the next 6,200 vertical.
Me and Nicole skiing:
Now that Nicole knows how to backcountry ski, I’ll have to teach her how to hold skis.
Here is a video of the fun times we had: