Route: Mt Shasta (CA)

California, US

Mt. Shasta (14,162') is this northern-most 14er in California. The standard route climbs from Bunny Flats at 6,880' to the Sierra Club cabin at Horse Camp (7,900'), and from there up Avalanche Gulch to the summit. The current and previous FKTs were timed from Horse Camp.

We also have a variation for ascending Mt Shasta from the town of Shasta, which is more truly the "base" of the mountain (where it starts to go UP).  This is logically done as a duathlon, riding a bike 11 miles from town to the TH, and then hiking up.  Jason Hardrath proposes the starting point as follows:  "...the intersection of the A10 Everitt Memorial Hwy with Rockfellow Dr. that has a sign designating the start of the A10 up to Mt. Shasta."

Robert Webb's 1985 record was reported in the L.A. Times on November 10, 1985. At the time, Webb was working as caretaker of the Sierra Club cabin at Horse Camp. The article indicates that, prior to Webb, the ascent record was 2h25m, set in 1925 by David Lawyer of Pasadena.

In 1998, Webb climbed from Horse Camp to the summit, and skied back down, 6 times in 23h22m, for a totaly vertical ascent of 37,572 feet. Apparently, he had 6 pairs of skis stashed at the summit. This may have been a record for the most vertical feet ever climbed on a mountain in 24 hours (since broken). A report is here.

"If you don't take risks, you don't get the adventures." -- Robert Webb

Here's a list of past fast times on Shasta reported at, which was kindly brought to our attention by Sean O'Rourke. Not all of these are considered FKTs, as there has been an ethic of "verification" for Shasta ascents and "certification" by the Sierra Club, as described in the article (which is really worth reading, as it outlines an incredible history of speed ascents going back well over a century!) All of these times are for Horse Camp to the summit.

John Muir, 4h10m, 1874 (really!)
Harry Babcock, 3h40m, August 1883
Norman Clyde, 3h17m, July 3, 1923
Norman Clyde, 2h43m, July 5, 1923
Barney McCoy, 2h17m, August 12, 1923 (not "approved" by the Sierra Club)
Barney McCoy, 2h30m, August 28, 1924 (not officially recognized)
David Lawyer, 2h24m, July 5, 1925 (in an official race, considered the "official" FKT until 1985!)
Barney McCoy, 2h36m, July 5, 1925 (second place in the race)
Robert Webb, 1h47m, June 22, 1985
Robert Webb, 1h39m, July 5, 1985

All of these records are by men, and we haven't been able to track down much information on FKTs by women.  According to the California Outdoors Hall of Fame, Laurie Bagley has or had the Shasta FKT at "133 minutes" (2h13m), set in or about 2005.  We hope to learn more about women's FKTs.


*** Belt Buckle Route! ***

Rickey Gates and partner Elizabeth Thorp have created a series of custom belt buckles commemorating some of the most iconic and hotly contested FKT routes! Shasta is classic! Each buckle is awarded to the FKT holder, and passed on when that FKT is superseded. Currently this buckle is held by Ryan Ghelfi. Gates & Thorp have not yet created a buckle specifically for women on this route.

GPS Track


I know this is not part of this thread yet, but I thought that it would be a good addition on Mt Shasta for fast movement on logical paths and means of travel. 

On June 12th, 2019, I climbed (with skis) up Avalanche Gulch. During my climb the snow conditions were looking exceptionally good and I had my heavy skis, so I decided it was the right time to make a fastest known Descent. I started my time from about 10ft off the true summit with my skis on my feet. I descended Avalanche Gulch via the left of heart variation all the way back to the Bunny Flat Trailhead. My time was 18:05. You can see the laps (unfortunately my watch was on auto split for the backcountry ski function, so I just had to add the laps comprising the downhill portion) in the Strava file here.

I actually think that this could be an FKT that catches on with a bit different crowd. It takes a lot of endurance just to summit the mountain, and it takes a surprising amount of endurance to ski it top to bottom hard without stopping. The skiing is not technically difficult other than a few turns off the summit and the very top of the left of heart face. I predict that a strong skier can hammer this thing out in about 12-13 minutes if they are motivated and the conditions are good. Which is kind of crazy to think about when looking at the mountain and considering it's 7,400ft of drop.