Photos in Strava.
This was an epic day and probably one of my favorite routes so far.
Jason Hardrath had been talking about doing an ascent from town for quite some time and I knew that as soon as he established it, I was going to follow up.
Alli Miles, Matt Palilla, and Thomas Morgan ascended via the Sisson Trail on May 28th with their skis, which was brought to my attention because Alli claimed one of the segment crowns that I previously held (thanks for the notification Strava). I immediately showed Jason and he knew that this was the perfect route for a summit from town.
I started at 4:08 am and set off at an easy pace to conserve energy for the upper mountain. I had so much fun on the Sisson trail up to Horse Camp. I loved the views and the history of the trail, it's peaceful and remote.
I got to Horse Camp around 6:30 am. This area feels like an old friend to me. I quickly refilled my water at the tap (this is probably some of the best tasting water in the world) and started up Olberman's Causeway.
The conditions up Avalanche Gulch were excellent. The snow was solid, but unfortunately there was no boot pack. I smiled as I reached the top of Red Banks. Avalanche Gulch always puts me in high alert mode because I've experienced some pretty crazy rock fall there in the past. I knew that I could relax a little once I got through it. I've always felt like the section between Lake Helen and Red Banks is the crux of the mountain.
The sun was warm and there was a light, cold wind. I smiled as I made my way up Short Hill then Misery Hill. I picked up the pace as I crossed the snow field, but got delayed at the summit pinnacle by foot traffic.
I tagged the summit at 11:05 am. There were lots of people lounging around up there! I spent 3 minutes and 17 seconds up there before turning and heading back down (got some weird looks from the others on the summit).
I threw another pair of pants on in order to glissade, and the snow conditions were good enough for me to glissade all the way from Red Banks to just below Lake Helen, even stopping to grab somebody's lost crampons on the way down and then successfully returning them to the owner!
I refilled water at Horse Camp again, looked at my watch and realized that I might be able to make it down the rest of the way before the 10 hour mark!
With less than two miles to go, I took a wrong turn and had to backtrack a short ways. I hit the finish at 2:05 pm, 9 hours and 57 minutes after starting. I made it in just under the 10 hour mark! I know that this time may not be considered fast by Mount Shasta speed record standards, but I am beyond stoked with this effort and how I performed. I feel like this is setting me up for success on other big mountain efforts that I have planned.
As always, I'm blown away by the beauty of this mountain and the surrounding area. This route is worth doing even if you're not going for a record. Such an epic day!
I went light with the gear, using the Ultimate Direction Adventure Vest, a lightweight Petzl ice axe, NWAlpine Spider hoody, leggings and aluminum crampons that I used on my Altra Timp 2.0 trail shoes. I carried a light pair of Black Diamond pants for glissading and a wind layer as well.
Congratulations Ashly! Epic route, epic effort!