June 1998
Mount Shasta - Summit via Avalanche Gulch and Green Butte
Mike Sarmiento

Since I won't have time to write an entire story about this one, a short report will have to do.

We had a grand ol' time on Mt. Shasta this weekend. Sunny and warm. Fifteen regular people with over $15,000 worth of gear, with about 50% first timers. All parties climbed the Avalanche Gulch route, except for Team 3 which took Green Butte. Everyone made it down OK with only one minor injury (see below).

My list (composed with a lot of help from Ky-Van) of people that I know of who summitted on Sunday:

Team 1: Chaos
Jack Shay
Adam (last name?)

Team 2: Chaos
Ky-Van Lee
Ken Osborne
Andrew Lim

Team 3: Confused
Fulvio Bonnechi
Steve Rodrigues
Jose Medieros
Mike Sarmiento

Team 4: Confused
Matt Cain
Jim Chu

I know Jack Waters turned around at the top of Misery Hill (13.84K) due to loss of balance and an extreme headache. I never saw Will Galloway up top, but he did make it to the top of Red Banks (13K). Peter Chu did not make a summit attempt.

I don't know if Bryce Tanner made it since I lost track of his team after Red Banks, but Jack and Adam made it according to Ky-Van. Also, there were two female friends of Jack Waters who slept in the pullout with us on Friday, but I don't even know if they ever made it up AG or to the summit. Jack, do you know?

Tuan - did you ever make it up?

Fulvio's leg is OK after being hit by a tennis ball sized rock in AG. He was adjusting his crampon when a rock fell from the top of Red Banks, zooming down and hitting him on his left shin. Apparently, everyone on AG was fearfully quiet while Fulvio writhed in pain and yelled in anguish from the impact. A ranger came to his aid immediately after the incident. He said it was "Horrible to come down to base camp" after being hit. Jose, Steve and I helped him down the mountain from base camp by distributing some of his load amongst us.

My tongue got sunburned because I forgot to put sunscreen on it (really) and didn't realize that breathing with my mouth open would get a burn! Steve Rodrigues and I started up at 3:30 am (from about 9.8K elev), summitted at 12:30, and back at camp at 3:30pm. We were tired and slept for 30 minutes then got back to Bunny flats around 7pm, ready for the 5 hour drive back to the bay area. I'd say this was a long long tiring day and perhaps the slowest time to the summit amongst us all!

Matt Cain and Jose Mederios win the Turbo Awards (formerly The "Oxygen? - We don't need no steenkin oxygen!" Awards). They both made the summit in less than 5 hours, Matt starting at 10K (AG) and Jose from 9.8K (GB). Matt also wins the "I feel so comfortable above 14K that I think I'll hang out here for the next 5 hours" award. :-)

Steve Rodrigues wins (and it wasn't even close) the award for having the most dyed green hair on the mountain (if not in the entire Bay Area). :-)

Does anyone know what time Jim Chu got off the mountain? He got told by the rangers that it is "illegal" to parasail off Shasta. I tend not to believe the rangers since I was sitting on the summit and overheard Ranger Paul talk to the ranger who was with Jim. Ranger Paul said, "Yeah, you have a climber who wants to parasail down. Apparently, he has a friend who is joining [Tuan - who hadn't made it up yet] him. Try to talk them out of it." Saying something is illegal (or lying about it) is probably the best way to talk someone out of it. Funny, if it IS illegal, Ranger Paul probably would have said "Tell them it is illegal." Anyone know the truth?

Of course, my trip wouldn't be interesting unless I had a mini-epic. Instead of following Steve Rodrigues up the ridge for some mixed rock and snow climbing, I decided to "simply" traverse a 50 degree couloir until it met up with the ridge again. Steve had yelled to me that he didn't want to do the traverse, so he was climbing rocks instead - wise man. The 50 degrees increased to 70 and the snow turned to ice. I got gripped after I looked down and saw about 1600 ft of exposure beneath me.

I didn't want to continue on the traverse since it just got steeper and I was unroped. I only had one ice axe so I couldn't chop steps, and mono point crampons (semi-rigid) on very flexible T2 telemark boots - not the best for front pointing, especially when you are tired and not confident in your foot placements. I called out to Steve but of course he was too far up to hear me. My legs started to shake from fear and the fatigue of front pointing. Somehow, I managed to climb up 15 feet to rock. The ice had separated from the rock, giving me just enough room to jam my left hand while I cut small steps for my feet or kicked enough to make a step. After about 30 minutes of panic (but it seemed much longer) I was back "safe" and sound on the ridge. In hindsight, I proably wasn't in as much danger as I thought - but I sure as heck managed to give myself one big scare. Next time, I'll just choose to follow Steve for some mixed climbing.

Anyway, if any Shasta participants have any interesting trip report details to add, it would be great to hear about them. Or give us your report at a club meeting.

See you outdoors where we belong.

- Mike "Ahh... what a relaxing weekend" Sarmiento


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