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Mount Shasta experienced a moist, southerly blast this past weekend. The upper mountain received a bit of snow and rime ice that plastered the rocks on all routes. Climbers began their climbs in shorts and T-shirts at the trailheads, but it was a completely different story up higher on the mountain. This is an important topic to remember: while conditions can be quite pleasant down low, the top of a 14,000-foot peak is much different, and it's important to be prepared. Most climbers this past weekend did not summit due to extreme wind and whiteout conditions. A lenticular cloud hung over the mountain for a couple of days and the wind was relentless. Climbers had trouble standing in some areas up high. Most turned around near 11,600 feet, while a few made it to 12,000ish feet. We are moving into a warm spell now and the recent snow and ice should melt pretty quick and the Clear Creek route will be back to it's "normal" self.
Please remember these few things for this route:
-The road to the trailhead is in terrible shape. We apologize. It's set to be repaired this season, we just don't know exactly when. A high clearance 4wd vehicle is recommended.
-Summit passes, wilderness permits and WAG bags for human waste can all be attained at the trailhead for self-issue. You do not need reservations or anything of the sort.
-The spring that the trail leads to is good for drinking. While it's not tested, we have not heard of or personally become sick. PLEASE, do your best to step on rocks and durable surfaces. Don't stomp on the precious plants with your big 'ol boots. The plants and us humans thank you.
-Most climbers camp near the spring area, near treeline. DO NOT camp near the spring. There are PLENTY of really great tent sites all along the vertical moraine features with superb trees for protection from the wind. Urinate away from camp. Use your WAG bags, it's required.
-The most common issues on this route are climbers not prepared for upper elevation environments: wind, cold, snow, ice. While crampons and an ice axe are not necessary currently, proper clothing and footwear is essential. We recommend good boots, small gaiters to keep little rocks out (the Clear Creek route is composed of a lot of small gravel and sand-like material) and trekking poles. The other most common issue is climbers becoming lost in poor visibility conditions on the upper mountain. Carry navigation tools, know how to use them, and don't climb into a whiteout in the first place! Happy climbing!
-Carry your summit pass on you at all times, rangers WILL check.
-Keep a clean camp, it takes a village!