Top Ten Northern California Adventures

Climb Mount Shasta
By Michael Holden
Four views of Shasta

From a distance, you'll see Mount Shasta rising up out of nowhere, an anomaly in the landscape, its resplendent white slopes and wind-swept tip beckoning the eager adventurer. Its 14,162 feet are unrivaled by surrounding peaks, for Shasta is part of no range, but rather a lone-standing volcano, shooting straight up from the relatively flat land around its base. Beginning at the Sierra Club cabin at Horse Camp, you'll ascend over 6,000 feet in a mere 4.1 miles. Steep? You bet, but the southwest side offers a few relatively accessible routes. Come prepared with the proper equipment, the requisite climbing expertise, and a good pair of legs.

The ambitious and experienced climber will find plenty of challenges on the northern face. The climb can be done in a single day, but those who prefer or require a slower pace can make a base camp at Helen Lake (10,400 feet), which offers ample flat space for pitching a tent. Take a break in the saddle between Red Banks and Thumb Rock (12,800 feet) before attempting the final assault.

Trip Facts

Difficulty rating: Hardcore

When to go: June—September

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


Sign up to Away's Travel Insider

Preview newsletter »