Welcome the Mt. Shasta avalanche and climbing information website.
February 18, 2020
During winter months, the Mount Shasta Avalanche Center is in full swing. We are focussed on issuing avalanche forecasts seven days a week. These daily avalanche and mountain weather forecasts are the best resource for recent conditions on the mountain. Of course, don't hesitate to give us a call for your specific questions. 530-926-9614 is the number for the climbing ranger office. We're in the field a lot, but we'll call you back within a day or so. We also host several other events and presentations scheduled throughout the winter. Check out the details on our various education/events links above.
Currently, we have 63 inches (1160 cm) of snow on the ground at treeline. The snowpack is mostly firm with a mix of breakable crusts, pockets of soft snow, icy patches, and raised sastrugi scabs on upper elevation terrain. In Avalanche Gulch above Helen Lake, rocks are strewn all over the snowpack. The Heart and the SW face of Sargents Ridge are entirely exposed. Solar radiation and warmer temperatures may loosen the hold the snowpack has on these rocks. Wear a HELMET and watch for falling rocks. Climbers interested in ascending the mountain need to be prepared as the current firm conditions present hazards like long sliding falls that could terminate in rocky patches. Solid ice axe and crampon skills are essential.
Want to climb Shasta in the winter?
The Bottom Line: Be prepared! While a winter climb of Mt. Shasta is possible, understand that it significantly raises the stakes. Extreme weather, short days, avalanches, falling ice, and potential post-holing increase the difficulty and danger on all routes. If you travel in the backcountry during the winter, you need to have the proper equipment and training to stay safe. An avalanche beacon, shovel, and probe and the ability to identify avalanche terrain and snow stability are absolutely necessary. Warm winter clothing, a robust tent, proper navigation tools (electronics fail quickly in cold weather) is essential. An ice axe and crampons are also required mountaineering equipment. DO NOT attempt to climb Mt Shasta without proper preparation and research. Despite being 15 minutes off the interstate, Mt Shasta is a real mountain with real consequences.