Mount Shasta

Fundraising Goal: $3,300
Guide: SWS Mountain Guides
Route: Avalanche Gulch
Difficulty: beginner, snow
Rope Team: 4 climbers, 1 guide


Day 1: Arrive at Mount Shasta City at the SWS Mountain Guides office for a pack check and to divide group gear.

Day 2: Meet at the Mount Shasta office no later than 7 a.m., then carpool to the trailhead. Hike to base camp around 10,500 feet in Avalanche Gulch, Helen Lake. The afternoon will be spent acclimating and practicing mountaineering basics (ice axe and crampon use).

Day 3: Continue skill-building and alpine education before we retiring early in preparation for an alpine start (up by 2 a.m.) for our attempt of Mount Shasta’s summit.

Day 4: Put your new skills into practice as you summit Mount Shasta and return to high camp for a quick snack and rest before descending to your vehicles by 5 or 6 p.m.

PLEASE NOTE: This is a best-case scenario. This itinerary is subject to change at the guides’ discretion and is dependent on mountain conditions, group experience/expectations, and other factors we cannot anticipate. It is possible that you might summit on the third day rather than the fourth!

The Climb

Mount Shasta is the most dominant peak in northern California, standing 8,000 feet higher than the surrounding landscape. It is ranked 96th in the world for its prominence at over 2,977 meters. Climbers who ascend its craggy summit are greeted with views of Reno, the Trinity Alps, and a host of Cascade peaks, including neighboring Mount Lassen.

The most popular time to climb Mount Shasta is between May and July, when moderate temperatures reign and cloudy days are less common. Both the Hotlum-Bolam Ridge and the West Face routes become more difficult as the season progresses and the snow pack gives way to ice and talus, respectively. Mount Shasta’s stature can cause severe and sudden shifts in weather, so climbers should be prepared for anything.


Climbers should plan to arrange their own transportation to and from the mountain. Bay Area Wilderness Training will assist in organizing carpools to and from the airport. Additional information will be available in your Orientation Packet and at the pre-trip meeting.


There are several motels in Mount Shasta City. Camping is also available at Sand Flat (elevation 6,600 feet) and Bunny Flat (elevation 6,860 feet) on the south side of the mountain.

Nearest Airports

  • Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO)
  • Sacramento International Airport (SMF)
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
  • Oakland International Airport (OAK)

Additional Recommendations

Billy Goat’s Tavern in Mount Shasta City is a great place for a brew and a burger after the climb. Ask anyone in town to point you in the right direction.

Local Attractions

More Info

For more information about the mountain and your climb, we recommend:

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