Route: Mt. Shasta Infinity Loop (CA)

Submitted by Jason Hardrath… on Sat, 07/11/2020 - 08:00pm
California, US
65 mi
Vertical Gain
24,000 ft

"You become the story you tell yourself"
Chad Kellogg, too bad you can't see the inspiration that is going beyond your lifetime.

Chad is credited with thinking up the first "Infinity Loop" on Mt. Rainier and then passing before he got to see it through, since then many others (including myself) have tested their mettle on Rainier in this style, even spreading the concept to other volcanoes.

Infinity Loops are a fairly simple concept, the basics are as follows:

  • Ascend a route to the summit then descend a route on approximately the opposite side (such as up Avalanche Gulch from Bunny Flat/Sand Flat, down Hotlum/Bolam Ridge to Northgate Trailhead)
  • Run a half-circumnavigation at our below trailhead elevation, bushwhacking and connecting old logging/forest roads back to your starting point
  • Climb over the mountain again
  • Complete the other half-circumnavigation

You get to chose which routes. On Shasta there are many awesome options. Hotlum/Bolam and Avalanche Gulch are good places to start your research.

Unlike Rainer, Adams, or Hood, there is no circumnavigation trail around Mt. Shasta (as of 2020). Until such a day as one is completed, the simple rule is as follows:

  1. Stay predominately at or below trailhead elevation for your circumnavigation (highest Shasta Trailhead is Old Ski Bowl at 7850'), you may use your own mapping skills to connect old and existing roads/trails or to find manageable off-trail terrain.

In the event of a circumnavigation trail being completed, it will become the default travel (likely the fastest too) for this Infinity Loop. Hopefully, attention and interest drawn towards circumnavigation type efforts will lead to this development for the area.

Which leads to an important note: The GPX file included does not necessarily represent the best, safest, or fastest route for circumnavigation. There are old lava flows, volcanic boulder fields, insane waist-high manzanita 'forests', and deep creek canyons to navigate. Extensive mapping and scouting is recommended to find efficient and safe passage through these obstacles (or stupifying tenacity to grind through terrible lines).

Further Research:

In my opinion, Infinity Loops and Volcanoes are aesthetically meant for one another.  I was stoked to put this line up and hope others will give it a try. 

so, Who's Next?

~submitted by Jason Hardrath (IG

GPS Track