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This route is Mt. Shasta’s best playground. The Hotlum offers seemingly endless opportunities in a compact package. This route is best accessed via the Brewer Creek trail head which can be limited in the early season by winter snow pack that may not melt until late June or early July. Most of the summer it is a delight to explore, offering a true wilderness experience with few if any other visitors.
The glacier is a paradise for the experienced alpinist offering numerous crevasses to navigate around, as well as the lower, middle, and upper ice falls bulging with frozen seracs. These areas offer the opportunity for some ice climbing mid to late season! Seasonal conditions will transform the Hotlum Glacier dramatically. The lower portion of the Glacier, above the bivouac sites at its toe, present easy glacier travel. The higher on the route you go, the more complex the route finding becomes. The true crux of the route comes with exiting the glacier. There are several variations including the scariest, mankiest 5.8 multi-pitch rock route one can imagine, the true Hotlum Headwall. Typical exits are either up to climber’s right toward the Step on the Hotlum/Bolam Ridge Route, or to the climbers left over a bergschrund into a steep chute leading toward the top the of the Hotlum/Wintun Route. Late season on the HG is one of the best kept secrets in the California climbing community. By fall the glacier’s seracs, smears, and runnels are bullet proof and best for experienced climbers. It’s worth at least two days for this route.