Friday, December 16

Hotlum Wintun Ridge - Mt Shasta

| Mt. Shasta - 14,179ft |

In Spring of 2016... it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. I got to try splitboarding for the first time. 


| Mt. Shasta - 14,179ft |

But in all seriousness our group of friends had a blast! It was a great learning experience for myself tagging along with more experienced winter outdoor compadres. Ben had conceived this trip to Mt. Shasta several years back & after falling through once before was extra stoked to get up North.

| Hiking the road |

| New deer legs |

Driving for many hours into the night from Los Angeles directly to the town of Shasta resulted in need for sleep, but excitement. Within the hour (2am), two more friends arrived from San Francisco to make the endeavor five strong.

After coffee & some rental gear we took in our first sights of the massive volcanic summit. Decidedly huge! Ben choose the Hotlum-Wintun Ridge route for a couple good reasons, way less crowds than Avalanche Gulch & the massive snowboard decent he had planned from the summit. 

| Favorite shot of the trip |

After driving as far on the well maintained (no joke) dirt road as snow would let us, we began to pack. Setting off to find enough snow to begin skinning we marched up the road quietly. As I had mentioned this was my first time & I felt like it showed. The gents from San Francisco were exemplary, one being a heavy British Columbia skier & the other having summited Shasta the same route the previous year.

Without going into too many embarrassing details, as the day grew longer it became clear that this would turn into a learning experience trip versus a summit bid for myself. My dear friend Daryl opted to join me for some big slope riding in the ten thousand foot range.

The next morning our separate groups had separate goals & everyone's day was great. Daryl & I skinned to an upper ridge & I got a bit more comfortable being out on skis. Finally after all this time, we clipped into our snowboards & road the most beautiful wide open mountain slopes I've ever experienced.

We would come to learn that Ben & our friends made it much higher on the mountain. Eventually Ben would break for the summit & conquer Shasta after planning this trip all those years ago. Well deserved!

 | People going to the summit |

 | Ben's summit photo! |

There really was nothing like carving huge sweeping turns with not a soul in sight. I'd spent my whole life riding at SoCal mountain resorts & I had fallen hard for this experience. Riding right into camp at the bottom of the slope topped it all off.

I had seen it coming the day before, my beginner size load of crap in my pack was going to give me issues snowboarding out to the car, which is notoriously difficult on return from this route. Alas, with some laughs & again, some awesome friends, we all tossed back a beer at the van without too much navigation issues.

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