This photo doesn't do this mountain justice (I'm shooting into a bright sun) but Shasta is one nifty mountain set in very beautiful terrain. I climbed it with a guide from Shasta Mountain Guides by a fairly circuitous route that took us over parts of the Hotlum, Bolan, and even Chicago glaciers. I had signed on as part of a 4 day "glacier seminar" but the other participants backed out so it was just the guide, me, and the mountain. Perfect combination. The guide turned out to be a veteran of literally hundreds of climbs in the Cascades (he told me this was his 70th time on this summit) and, more importantly, an all-around great kinda guy.
The day we picked for the summit climb turned out to be gorgeous with no wind, a perfectly clear sky, and a full moon. We left camp just before 3am and headed up at a fairly quick, steady pace that put us near 13,000 feet at sunrise. If you've never witnessed a sunrise from high on the flank of a good-sized mountain, in my opinion you are missing out on one of the truly great experiences of life!
Another one of life's experiences comes when you realize that you should've taken a few antacids with breakfast. The shot below is me "experiencing" the combination of a large breakfast, exertion, altitude, and excess stomach acids...
We topped-out at 8:45am on the most beautiful summit day I think I'll ever experience! There was NO wind, the sky was still clear, and the bright sunshine made the temperature comfortably warm. It would be great to have such perfect conditions on a mountain again someday, but I know the law of averages in the mountains dictates that the cost of this day will probably be a future filled with storms, gale-force winds, and whiteout. Oh well...
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