FKT: Jack Kuenzle - Mt Shasta (CA) - 2022-04-01

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1h 28m 58s
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Shasta ascent record. Broke record by Tom Goth at 1:35:26. The whole time above the banks I was thinking “well I may die on the down climb so I have to set the record” ??

I wasn’t planning on doing this, but waiting on conditions elsewhere and had a window to race. I don’t think this record is nearly as aesthetic or logical as the ski round trip record, but it has serious history and is an awesome effort. I only say that cause cross country spikes suck for going downhill. You sprint up and then waddle down like an idiot lol. Since there is no spikes on the heel, you can’t plunge step and I had to walk backwards from the top of Misery Hill to Lake Helen. Very happy I had an ice axe and helmet. Absolutely mandatory for this imo. 

Rolled with a Petzl Gully sleeved in a flip belt, 500 mL of Maurten I didn’t eat, InReach, cross country spikes (two one inch spikes and four 3/4? 5/8? Inch spikes up front, one inch spikes snapped off low on the mountain), Patagonia Houdini windbreaker, and fixed skimo race poles. Voile lashed the axe to the poles at the bottom of the steep stuff. Totally over whippet. Heavy bad axe pole cross over. Take a light axe.

Virtually no boot pack. Followed a thin ribbon of snow from horse camp to Spring Hill. Snow pack is 27% of normal rn. This was probably the last opportunity to do this and this record is almost always run in July. Crossed about ten feet of rock and dirt on Spring Hill and then snow. Recent snow on Monday was more than Shasta avalanche reported (one inch) and had filled bootpack, but, fortunately, high winds and warm ish temps in last couple days meant snow was bullet proof. All good to banks. Never had walked through banks before, except when I downclimbed them during my ski attempt when my skis snapped. No boot pack which I was hoping to guide off of. Went to the ridge above glacier and randomly found the little chimney to round the banks. Banks were bare or clear ice covered but ok. Snow mainly after that to misery. Only time I postholed was in here, just a little on like 3 inches windbuff powder.

Misery was rock and clear ice with an intermittent switch back of hard snow. Soccer field or whatever above that was ok. Little bit of powder posthole on fair side but brief. Didn’t check watch at all on ascent and was just pushing as hard as I could. Ended up working out. Big thing was Ghelfi and Goth were acclimatized to ~4000 ft. With this and other projects in mind, I’ve been sleeping at 6400 since beginning Jan, 7400 since beginning feb, and mainly above 8500 since beginning March (rock creek, mammoth, Carson pass). 

Was very worried about downclimb, especially with compromised spikes. But it was fine. Just very slow. Can’t believe ghelfi did that without an axe lol. Got to Helen and was very relieved.  

Thank you to Ryan Ghelfi for advice on this effort, and to Alex Parker, Jason Koster, and Viyat B for giving me recent beta.