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Hotlum/Wintun Snowfield

This route is one of the most sought after ski/board descents on Mt. Shasta, as well as an excellent climbing endeavor.  Often referred to as the “Hotoon," it is a permanent snowfield between the Hotlum and Wintun glaciers.  No crevasses are encountered along the route's length, as long as one does not stray out onto the Hotlum Glacier. It is sometimes called a ridge, though don't expect much of a ridge.

From the Brewer Creek trailhead a climb into the alpine expanse of the Hotlum and Wintun glaciers is simply amazing.  The route begins on low angle slopes near tree line, then steepens as one gains the moraine leading to the lower reaches of the huge snowfield.  There are ample bivouac sites here between 9,800 and 10,000 feet on top of the moraine.  As one ascends, the slope angle gradually kicks up, but nothing of concern.  At around 12,800 feet the route begins to traverse climber’s left over a shallow ridge that separates the "Hotoon" from the Wintun, and below a steepening rock buttress.  Climb up and climber’s right of Ship Rock, an isolated column of basalt at about 13,200 feet.  From Ship Rock up is the steepest portion and the most highly consequential portion of the route. Slope angle at the top of the chute just below the true summit is over 40 degrees.  A variation of this route continues straight up, foregoing the traverse at 12,800 feet, finishing through the narrowing chute at the top of the snowfield.

Though there isn't much glacier hazard on the route you must be comfortable with glacier skills. This route can be very icy in the late season, and a fall would be extremely serious.  Early to mid-season the skier or snowboarder can find nirvana.  The descent from summit to tree line is spectacular.  Check the road status on our site as the winter snowpack can keep the trailhead out of reach by car until June or July. This adds distance to your approach.  Take two days to enjoy this route.


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